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Project management

project management

Project management

This is from years of experience and I hope it reaches you at a time when you can spend a moment with it.  There are many books, courses, and certifications tied to the topic of project management.  

Here are some high-level pieces of information that will help you successfully manage projects.

A project should align with a vision or purpose.  The end result of a project results in the realization of a vision or purpose.  

A project is a series of individual tasks, that completed correctly, result in the successful realization of a stated vision or purpose.

Project Management then is simply the “naming,” organization, and execution of tasks needed to realize the vision of a project.  This includes:

  • Knowing the overall vision – clearly stated.
  • Naming every task needed to successfully realize the intended vision.
  • Knowing “who” will do each task.
  • Assigning, by name, who will do each task and who will be held responsible for each task.
  • Knowing “when” each task needs to be done.  Timing.  Due Dates – what is the exact date this task is due?  The project?
    • Work backwards from the due dates – assign how many days, hours, weeks it will take to get tasks done working backwards from the overall project due date. 
  • Organizing the “order” of tasks to maximize the speed of the project.  Tasks that rely on other tasks getting done (contingent tasks) can be a real slow down if not planned right.
  • Creating a detailed project plan, that names all tasks, who does them, who is responsible for them, who should be consulted on them, and who to keep informed about their progress/completion.
  • Regularly monitoring the status of tasks and finding what, if anything, is slowing down the successful completion of the tasks – isolating the thing, and then fixing it so as to get the task moving again toward completion.
    • The focus of this activity should never be on “what is wrong.”  There is rarely a solution there.  The focus should be on – what is the task?  What does it take for it to be successfully done – quickly?  What exactly is getting in the way of this?
    • Solutions oriented, not problems oriented.
  • Not making assumptions, but using communication as your guide.  Ask, don’t assume.  Avoid “gut” feelings.  Embrace open talks.
  • Name the Consultant – the person whom has the most experience in an area and use the crap out of them.  
  • Don’t ever wait – be proactive in your communication and questions and follow up.  No one gets in trouble for overcommunicating.  Often, companies get fired for a lack of communication.
  • Get permission, don’t ask for forgiveness.  
  • Be willing to learn new things and change your mind.  Set in stone ideas are often the reason why projects get stuck.  “Well, I thought we had to do it this way…”  that is a sure quote you’ll hear tied to an assumption that is getting in the way of success.
  • Stay on target – the vision is the goal.  Use this as your guide. Ask yourself, is what I’m doing right now going to make this vision a reality?  Yes or No?
  • Keep the client informed – on Thursdays (so they have good news going into the weekend and are ready to answer questions from their co-workers on Monday) – SEND WEEKLY UPDATES
    • Name what got done
    • What is ahead
    • Anything we need from them
    • Anything we owe them
  • Keep your project team informed – pick a central person to “run” the project – make sure they always get copied on all correspondence and inform them of what is happening.
  • Make sure all parties understand the vision – and stay excited about it – when tasks get hard, focusing on the vision is the way to get through it.

The model we use and recommend is the RACI model.  Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed.

Responsible – person who does the task.

Accountable – person who is responsible for making sure task gets done.

Consulted – person who should be consulted on each task.

Informed – person who should be informed about tasks – kept in the loop.

 Use this as you manage projects.  Have fun.