The past 30 days
Project managers need to project confidence even when everything is failing and going down in flames.
No, this isn’t delusion, it’s realising that there always exists a solution to the problem.
I am a wizard!
Success in project management means being people oriented without so much emphasis on the technical wizardry of project control.
Always do something you know how to do
If you are an inexperienced project manager, but you have expertise in another subject, go with what you know how to do, i.e. use your subject matter expertise to figure out next steps, prioritising, and estimating.
A type of fish?
In project management, nail the basics, and you will never flounder for what to do next.
Good to great
Good project managers enjoy meeting with other people (their team) and interacting with them.
Great project managers know when the other people need their “focus-on-work” time.
Teams, usually if made up of immature members, can quickly turn the day-to-day work of an inexperienced project manager into a chaotic mess if not handled properly.
Et tu Brutus
The hardest skill I ever learned as a project manager was delegation of tasks to people I felt were less competent than me at a particular task.
If you’ve never felt that stab of pain as you delegate something to someone of lesser skill or creativity or thoughtfulness, then I can only conclude you are a natural born project manager.
Not right now
Problems in your project never wait for you to not be busy.
It’s a Tuesday, right? I never could get the hang of Tuesdays.
I’ve yet to meet an effective project manager that didn’t enjoy the company of, and interacting with, other people.
If you can describe your project manager succinctly as “not a people person” then you are in for a world of hurt.
Your time belongs to your team
If you need focused time for portions of your work, plan to do it before other members of your team arrive, or after they have left.
Don’t plan on getting that time throughout a normal workday.
Your team won’t let you.
And rightly so.
I have yet to meet a project manager who was effective that didn’t work to quickly establish rapport and a strong working relationship with their team.
Beware the project manager who doesn’t want to spend “quality time” i.e. non-meeting time, with each member of their team.
If you want to find a great project manager, look for the traits of a politician in the hire.
The traits that make a good Patriot rarely make good project manager.
Taken seriously or taking the piss?
Never hang out a “do not disturb” on your door, no matter how funny it might be.
People take that shit way too seriously.
Escalate it to a higher authority
Situations in projects escalate so quickly you cannot ever be in “do not disturb” mode.
Ignorance is piss
I’ve yet to see an unrecoverable crisis that didn’t start out as a trivial problem that was being ignored by the project manager.
Cutting the wrong things
If everything matters, nothing does.
If everything is priority, nothing is.
If everything must be done, nothing will be.
It’s always worth bearing in mind that if you cannot rank tasks by a particular and specific criteria, and believe that the criteria applies equally to all tasks of a project, then you cannot objectively decide which tasks to cut when the time comes.
…it has a weird orientation…
The crucial aspect of being people oriented is that you make time for other people, your schedule be damned.
I’ve yet to meet a project manager that believed they were entitled to any amount of uninterrupted time.
One door opens…
As a project manager your door should never be closed (unless you are dealing with something deeply personal).
Closed doors shut down team communication.
Closed doors are great for your engineering staff.
Not so much for people who have to coordinate engineering staff.
Men with many hats
You wear many hats, sometimes you have to take off the one labeled “Project Manager.”