Project Management Tips

03Dec08

I have been the project manager of a real-life project in my master program for the last 4-5 months. It’s been a quite experience for me as I had the opportunity to work with great people from all around the world waterwell-teamduring this project. My team mates are from China, Greece and Pakistan, all studying in the Advanced Internetworking master programme. In this post, I would like to share my project management tips. Most of them can be pretty straightforward but I have experienced all of them so I believe they can be useful for the others:

  • Never allow the Stakeholders of the project to be surprised ! One should always have the stakeholders in the “information loop”. For this purpose, we focused a lot on our website and especially blogs. Every team member has been blogging excessively about their progresses in their different activities. It is also good for reporting and grading purposes. Always inform everybody about the progress of the project.
  • To know if the project is on track, it is good to ask the question “”How will you and I know when I have done the job to your satisfaction?” to the Project Principals from time to time.
  • Get regular feedback from everyone included in the project. If nobody is telling that there is a problem, there is DEFINITELY a problem ! Nobody is perfect so it’s wise to be open to conversations and getting feedback from everybody.
  • Tête-à-têtes (one-to-one) conversation is really important. During the project, I have been trying to have personal relations and conversation with all the team members. Building relations is a MUST in a project environment.
  • Don’t end up winning some battles at the cost of losing the war ! Don’t overconcentrate on small tasks, always try to see the big picture. For example, you may be working on a button of the GUI, there can be a discussion about it for hours, which will slow down the whole process, so keep stick to the goals and don’t lose direction for smaller tasks.
  • Always be prepared ! In our team, we are having open conversation and discussion about almost anything. I always encourage people to speak up their minds, but that also is tricky as a team has at least 6 people and 6 people having 6 different opinions leads to nowhere. In order to solve this problem, I always research a lot before bringing up the topic to discussion. For example, if we are going to prepare a presentation, I first research what the other project teams are doing and which are the best examples. Then I note the similarities of the best examples and work on them. If I have time, I also try to come up with innovative ideas. At the end, I prepare 2 or 3 best options to follow and then we discuss on top of them. Without preparation discussion is worthless.
  • These were the first things that came popped up in my mind. I will add as I came up with more tips.
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