how to attain project management nirvana

If you’ve ever had the frustrating experience of finding a project you’re overseeing hasn’t turned out quite the way you’d hoped – or if you’re new to managing projects and wondering where to begin – I have five steps to successful project management nirvana for you … including establishing clear roles, conducting pre-mortems, and more. You can read it over at the Fast Track blog by Intuit QuickBase today.

{ 7 comments… read them below }

  1. Zahra*

    The frequent check-ins and debriefing are something I really like about my current workspace. We work in an Agile environment (short deadlines, delivery by small increments, peer review before delivery, daily short meeting about what everybody’s doing, what’s blocking them, what’s done and to be done, etc.).

    Some projects do not lend themselves to daily meetings (ours is about 15 minutes long), but I think some projects can be divided in bite-size pieces and benefit from some elements of the Agile methodology.

  2. CollegeAdmin*

    My boss thinks she does all of these, but she is (sadly, for me) mistaken. I could rewrite this list as “How to Ensure Your Project Turns into a Clusterfluff.” In fact, here we go!

    1. Have a vague idea of what your goal is, and change it at least three times during the course of the project.
    2. Say that certain people should be involved, but don’t get specific as to how. Assign yourself tasks, but then at the last minute, hand them off to your overworked/underpaid assistant.
    3. When asked, “What happens if X doesn’t work or if Y doesn’t get done?” just say in a firm tone, “No, it will. That just has to happen.”
    4. Once the project starts, work on it half-hardheartedly for a week and then sweep it into the corner. Occasionally trot it back out after the tenth reminder from your assistant, but cancel 90% of your meetings with her to discuss it.
    5. If the work finishes by some divine intervention, say, “This is great!” and use its success as a reason to create three larger projects to complete simultaneously using steps 1-4.

    …I may be a little frustrated right now. Sorry for the vent!

    1. WM*

      Hahaha! Number 3 is my favorite! If you haven’t already – search you tube for a video titled “stuff project managers say” (but replace stuff with the not-appropriate-for-comments word). You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, it’s a good time. Now get back to that project plan! haha ;)

  3. The IT Manager*

    I am a project manager so like CollegeAdmin, I can post a list what not to do gleaned from my own and others’ experience.

    Biggest things I have seen lately is planning to the deadline ie Working backwards from the deadline. The schedule has no basis in the reality of estimated amount of man hours it’ll take and the number people assigned. Instead we start with the deadline and place completely unrealistic estimates on how fast each step can get done. Leads to much disappoint and frustration.

  4. T*

    Does anyone have suggestions for when the team members are volunteers? I had a project in which it was impossible to get the group together after the initial interest meeting. I had little response to e-mails for one-on-one updates. Some of the people came through, but I had to streamline the project and do more of the work myself than I had originally planned.

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