As the old saying goes: When the going gets tough, the tough turn to their project manager.
That’s the saying right?
Well I choose to believe it is.
That’s because when times get rough, the first person you want to have in your corner is an organized super-mind with the power to efficiently guide you through the darkest of times with the stoic fortitude of a bald eagle. I am that bald eagle.
Or at least I really want to be.
Honestly, that kind of amazingness comes with only one thing: a LOT of experience. However, I think that I’m well on my way to achieving that level of project management prowess.
I am going to share with you a few of the ways in which I’ve jumped into the world of Project Management here at Launchpad and a few things I intend to do in the future.
Know your projects
This seems like a no brainer. But really, getting a good idea for the project is paramount. What is the product? Who is working on it? What are the client’s names? What is their temperament? These types of questions will help you jump into the project with ease and grace.
Know your tools
You’re only as strong as the tools you use. If your team has been using a tool for a long time, figure out why they use it and if they have issues with it. Figure out your team’s pain points and listen to what their needs are.
How can you improve and make their lives easier? Test out different tools, use guinea pigs, and talk to others who have used the tool. Really vet a product before you make your team switch (if you end up moving tools).
If your team has good tools and a supportive project manager, they’ll be more efficient, organized, and happy.
Know your people
Not everyone on your team will fit the same mold. Your solutions WILL NOT work for everyone. Make sure you’re working to get everyone to a more efficient and stable velocity, not just the squeaky wheels.
Know your parameters
Budget – c’mon. This is a biggie. If part of your job is knowing budget, you CANNOT forget about this one. Know who is in danger of going over budget and communicate early!
Timeline – if there isn’t a timeline, projects can get derailed easily. The never-ending project will be a big drain and time suck on your team. Even if your project is on an hourly basis, knowing what the next big feature on the horizon is, having sunrise and sundown meetings on features, and staying on the same page about version features will make everyone’s lives easier.
Hours – stable, reliable velocity is better than rapid or accelerated work. The latter will burn your team out. Understand the capability of your team and work to adjust the number of hours based on that person.
Know your client
Communication is the most important thing here. Let them know what you’re up to if you haven’t talked in a week. Send prep emails for meetings (what to expect, preliminary questions, etc.) and recap emails with detailed notes and deliverables for both your team and theirs. Being open, honest, and realistic will work wonders for client happiness.
Here are a few items that I will be working toward in the near future
Jump on the bandwagon
Learn some code. You don’t need to actually write code, or become a developer. But knowing terms, understanding the principles behind the code, and being able to contribute to decisions will kick your game to the next level.
Make an entrance
Prep your team before the first meeting. That way the ball has been rolling on a project before the client even begins thinking about the air pump to inflate it.