What can I say? I love Snookie's Malt Shop. Oh sure, there are plenty of great ice cream shops around Des Moines, but there's just something about the atmosphere at Snookie's that makes it special. And they do whip up one heck of a great soft-serve ice cream.
There's another kind of soft serve which is really great... it's your people skills. I'm in the middle of teaching a two-day class for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Business Analysis. It is an overview class, so we're covering a lot of material. When I was developing the curriculum, I asked all of my business analyst friends what their top priorities would be for such a class. The answer was almost consistently "soft skills." In project management, we do a lot with plans and schedules and budgets and scope documents; however, knowing how to do all of those will not mean anything if you can't communicate and influence people. Understanding how to manage office politics, how to be creative at the drop of a hat, how to handle conflict better, and how to sell your ideas effectively.
I know some project managers who are masters of the technicalities of our trade, but who are dismal failures at the practice of project management. Why? They've never put an emphasis on the "soft serve" of the job. As you are working to become a better project manager, please don't neglect the critical skills you really need to know. And if you happen to be in Beaverdale during the spring and summer months, have some REAL soft serve.