Sunday, March 20, 2011, AM | Leave Comment
Your department manager wants to start a project in, let’s say, Information Technology. Of all the people around you, the head of the department asked you to take responsibility as project manager.
You are a technical person. You have lots and lots of technical experience which is good because it will help you define the details of the project.
However, no matter how much technical experience you have, starting to work as a project manager can be a daunting and intimidating task.
At the same time, it can be a very satisfying experience as well once you finish the project on time, within budget and to the customer’s satisfaction.
The responsibility might be intimidating and quite overwhelming for someone new at the job. It’s okay. You gotta start somewhere, sometime. You must first learn the basics of managing projects.
There are books and articles on this subject that you should read and benefit from. A list of some of the books is given at the end of this post. You should have at least a general idea of how to go about the project.
However, by following the basic but essential steps given below, you should be able to manage any type of project.
Set Goals for the Project
The first step you can take is to sit down with your team members and set goals for the project. State very clearly what the team has to achieve. The team must offer you support and vice versa. In your initial meetings, invite and brief your customer why the solution the project will deliver is critical to their business.
Plan Your Project
Plan a course of action to achieve your goals. Work with your entire team to identify all of the major tasks that need to be completed. Estimate how long each task will take and create your project schedule. Assign necessary resources to each task so everyone concerned knows what has to be done and what date it has to be completed. Run the plan past your customer to get their feedback.
Monitor, Measure and Control
When you begin working on the project, start measuring its progress against your plan. Monitor it weekly to make sure you are always on track. Resist changes to your plan in the middle of the project because they often kill the best laid plans. Inform the stakeholders of your progress.
You need to keep your team and customer properly informed every week if you want their full support and motivation. Also, give minutes of your weekly meetings to your seniors. Everyone who has some stake in the project must be informed on a regular basis.
You have limited time and resources to deliver your project. You need to work smart. Manage your time carefully. Use a To Do Lists to prioritize your work. Only work on prioritized tasks. If something arises that is non-critical, then keep a record of it and move on.
In a Nutshell
If you laid out the above steps clearly to yourself, team members and the customer, then you would be able to start and finish the project satisfactorily.
Books on Project Management you might want to read
- Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Project Management
- The One-Page Project Manager
- A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge
- A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling
- The Lazy Project Manager
This column is © copyright to www.Method123.com and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.
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