Eventually, as a manager, you will be expected to manage projects in addition to people. If you’re anything like me, I felt like I was left to figure this out on my own, mostly repeating what I had observed and picking up things from others along the way.
This is a collection of things I wish I had known when starting out and that help keep this a part-time job.
- Estimates: Effort vs. Duration = Who means what by “estimate” and how to translate effectively.
- Delivery: Cost vs. Commitment = When dealing with time, clarify the difference between the “cost” vs. a commitment
- Constraints: Scope vs. Time = Which is more important: a fixed date or a fixed scope? It’s hard to do both, so choose one.
- Right Size Fidelity = Not all phases of a project require the same fidelity; beware false accuracy.
- Plans vs. Planning = The plan will always change, planning can keep us on track.
- The Goal = OKRs, KPI, whatever, start with the goal to avoid losing the forest for the trees.
- Single Source of Truth = Choose one, socialize it, avoid death by a thousand cuts.
- Regular project reviews = Boring, but ad hoc meetings can cause anxiety (albeit may be necessary).
- (diet) Critical Path Analysis = Find, monitor, and unblock your bottleneck to accelerate delivery.
- Pre-plan celebrations = Easy to forget to celebrate the wins, make it part of the plan.
In the end, we want to help our customers and project management is a means to an end. Hopefully these tips and tools will help you be more effective, while keeping it a part time job.