Thursday, May 25, 2017
The Project Management Course
At the beginning there is a description of a "successful project manager" that is based, they say, on interviews they have conducted over the years; the authors are business consultants who work in the engineering industry. It's just what you would expect from any list of successful Americans: project managers keep physically fit, dress well, tell the truth, treat everyone with respect, don't waste time with trivial matters, and get to the office an hour early to have time for long-term tasks that may get crowded out by crises once the rest of the staff shows up, etc. They "eat, sleep and breathe the project."
There is also an amusing lesson that contrasts the ideal type, the Strong Project Manager, with the mere Project Administrator:
As I worked my way through all these lessons illustrated with photographs of models in spotless, utterly dirt-free, obviously-never-been-on-a-construction-site hard hats trying to look like people building skyscrapers, I amused myself by collecting kernels of Project Management Wisdom. I find that these add up to a sort of pointillist picture of American business life and its values. So here, presented in no particular order, are some of the pearls you need to absorb to become a Strong Project Manager; all of these are direct quotations from the lessons.
Keep control of your own time or others will.
When someone asks for your time, make ‘No’ your first thought.
Balance is the key.
The best way to solve problems is to avoid them.
Don’t be afraid to decline attending meetings that are likely to waste your time.
Never say “No”; say “Yes, if...”.
Keep your files in order.
Recognize when you have to compromise.
Deliver faster than you promised.
Deliver more than you promised.
Eliminate excess perfection.
Keep the lines of communication open.
It’s impossible to see any further ahead than you look.
Give credit. Take blame.
Do not draw a line unless you know what it means.
Schedule meetings at odd times (e.g., 10:53 a.m.); this encourages punctuality. Start meetings at the scheduled time, even if all participants are not there.
Make sure only your agenda takes place.
Brief emails are always better.
There is nothing that destroys the quality of a project more than trying to meet an unrealistic schedule.
Pick one solution and go with it.
A professional (not emotional) response is the best way.
It is a well-established fact that people perform better and make fewer errors if they are able to work in a comfortable atmosphere with other team members. Even though a small amount of stress is good stimulation for most people, constant levels of highly charged stress usually cause the performance to decrease and more errors to occur.
Do not waste time in pleasantries.
Do not surprise your boss.