So You’re The New Project Manager
Having been a PM and progressing through the management chain, and now in a professional services career I’ve made numerous placements and hired many Project Managers, Program Managers, Directors and other “C” level processionals.
What follows is a brief personal overview of what a new manager needs the first day, the first week and the first month on a new assignment. And certainly this is not a handbook on Project Management101. It’s not even close. It’s some observations.
Initially some points:
– Determine project use
– Determine scope of the project and risk status
– Determine how project fits the company scope
– Establish base-point: Items completed and user sign-off
– Determine status of existing specifications: On target or not?
– Design in layers….. Implement in layers
Another needed step is to review status reporting. Managers new on the job can easily give daily status. This assists involvement with the user community.
I am a believer each step depicted by a green arrow / yellow arrow/ red arrow to show on-target / potential problem / major problems. The nice thing about arrows is the new manager can use up or down arrows to indicate progress, showing improvement or lack-of-improvement. Graphics are a requirement.
I also suggest spending hours and days with the user group. Find the real decision maker in the group and become good friends.
Enforce user sign-offs. Establish criteria for project scope and how to handle modifications to scope. Scope crawl is a slippery slope since as the new person running a project, you will get false direction. Be careful.
Turn to PMBOK. Get the PDU’s necessary to complete your PMP. Not only is that a strong sell point for your credentials, PMBOK has industry wide approval on management of projects. Use SDLC, even if you have to search the term, but have a specific tool to run a project and follow it.
When building project timing, you best use a 2x factor to conduct User Testing. If you mess-up testing and produce a turkey, you’re toast.
In 500 words or less, I tried to put together notes on Project Management. 1,000’s of books / articles / etc have been written on the topic. If there is even minor gain of a small nugget of information, the article has been worth it.
– Determine project status
– Determine critical users
– Establish bench-marks
– Review completeness of specifications
– Stick to an approved plan
– Post the plan in a room set aside for “project status.” That way, everyone can see project status
– Know the user community
– Know your team
– Build enough time for user testing
– Implement in pieces and layers
– Keep effective and timely status to everyone
– Continually seek user approval
– Celebrate small victories with the team
– Utilize a “team effort” that leads to “team success”
– Never lose site of how does this project affects the company
This scenario can be used for technology, finance, anything where a manager is brought into a project at a point where the project has been started and needs to be completed.
This again is a slippery slope to conduct business, but you better be ready.
For additional information and expansion of each or all of these points, please call (248) 630 – 5555 or visit www.careers-in-transition.com for further assistance.