I started my career as a project manager 40 years ago. In the beginning I swung a hammer, now I click with a mouse. The essentials elements of project management haven’t changed a bit, except time-frames are shorter. That and your success or failure is visible to everyone on the planet.
Yesterday my client and team basked in the glory of a successful launch. I knew it was going to be successful when we started, not because I’m smart or work hard. I knew because I’m a project manager.
If you’ve ever attended a project launch party, you’ve experienced the initial euphoria that comes from being clueless. It’s easy to pick out the PM. They are the one who is not whooping and hollering. They already know what lies ahead.
It’s near the end of a project when everyone on the team begins to sense what the PM knew all along. That’s why all the work gets done near the end. It’s when everybody gets their head in the game.
Project Management Essentials
As the congratulatory emails went back and forth, I thought about the principles I learned after 4 decades as a PM. Food for thought as you get ready for your next project.
Define the Project – Do this upfront, because somebody is going to mess with this down the road. You’ll want to return to the original expectation. It eliminates scope-creep and informs you that it’s time to submit a change order for more time and more money.
Throw a Launch Party – Think of it as a starter pistol for the project. There are so many details to deal with at the start that many teams simply wander off the starting line and never get to full speed.
Allocate Resources – It’s a fancy term used to answer the question, “Who is going to do the work?”
Progress Meeting – Hold them even if you don’t have any progress, especially if you don’t have any progress. Since all the effort on a task comes near the end of it’s duration, build in short little deadlines to keep the project moving forward.
Schedule the Celebration – Jacksonville Singer/Songwriter Jennifer Chase got her first CD out the door, not because she wrote the songs, or formed a band, or went into the studio. Her success was guaranteed when she scheduled the CD release party. All the essential tasks simply aligned once the party got on her calendar.
On a personal note…
After a quarter-century of Making Technology Work. I’m planning a launch party for something new and different. Call me if you want to learn more…