I think it’s healthy to be reminded of who you are from time to time and practice humility. I came across a few project management stories while job searching, and I found them to be humorous and truthful that I’d like to share. This is certainly a sliver of my experience while working as a project manager, so here they are along with my comments:
Effective project communication is an important skill for all project managers (PJMs) to have. Without effective communication, some of the challenges a project team can face include:
- Running the risk of someone on the team working with outdated information.
- Stakeholders not kept in the loop that asset delivery will be delayed.
- Resources are constrained because a member is on vacation.
And the list can go on. These are rookie mistakes and easy to mitigate if the PJM can practice effective project communication. On the long run, this will pave a smoother path to project completion. When your stakeholders know what your milestones are and when to expect deliverables, you may reap unexpected benefits.
Waterfall, Scrum, Kanban – these buzzwords have been swimming in my head since I joined the Program Management team in my company back in January. As part of my own self-learning as well as promotion of project management in the company, I’m writing out some of the common questions I had and their answers as how I’ve come to understand them. I don’t have a formal background in project management (PJM), so this is a summary of what I’ve been learning on the spot as well as doing some readings online. I use project names that make no sense to most of my readers, but I’m sure you get the gist. 😉
What is a project management process?
By definition, a process is a series of steps taken to achieve an end. In the context of PJM, a process is the step-by-step actions that need to happen to move a project from ideation, planning, execution, testing, and finally to completion. Sometimes these steps are sequential. Sometimes they are iterative. Here are three processes you should know:
Very good read on Medium by Rands about project managers and the need for them when your company is growing a tad too big. Don’t be afraid to slim down on your responsibilities to what you really need to be doing (for instance, managing code, not people). A good project manager will be able to provide clarity amongst all the moving pieces because that is what they are there to do. They have the big picture view of where everything is and what’s going on so you can focus on what you are best at.
A good project manager is one who elegantly and deftly handles information. They know what structured meetings need to exist to gather information; they artfully understand how to gather additional essential information in the hallways; and they instinctively manage to move that gathered information to the right people and the right teams at the right time.
Anyone working in the tech world has heard of stand-ups. Stand-ups are a part of the monitoring/controlling phase of project management, where the team meets together everyday for a quick 15-30 minute meeting. The meeting’s sole purpose is to deliver a verbal report of what each team member has been working on, what they are doing today and, if there are roadblocks, to declare it.
For my start-ups, I have trouble keeping my team on topic – what did you get done yesterday? What are you planning to do today? Answer me! Nope. Sometimes a few people would go off on a tangent to explain WHY they only got 1 item done. Or, they would go into too much detail to explain what they need to do next.
This is one (of many) area I need to work on. To enforce my authority on these stand-ups, and control where the discussion is going. Any tips on how to keep a team on topic?