20 Jul 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.