If there is one thing I hate at work, it is being caught by surprise on one of my projects. As a Project Manager, I should not be surprised by anything that comes up in my Status Meetings. To avoid getting side-swiped by any news, I do my best to keep an eye on all aspects of my projects, at least on a high level.
Status meetings have a tendency to get a bad reputation. Many can feel that spending anywhere from a half-hour to
‘Project plans’ as utilized in a business function, are used as a communications tool and a form of checklist of tasks. Keeping that in mind, the best place to start with creating your plan is to start with the high level deliverables of your project, and then break each of those deliverables down into the tasks that it will take to get them completed. I tend to treat this part of my project plan as my ‘brain dump’. I put in the high-level deliverables, then ask ‘then what?’
Many of the things that go wrong in projects will be wholly and completely out of your control, but can have a massive affect on your project. You will need to find a way to support your team while they work through whatever issues they may be dealing with.
As a Project Manager, it is going to be necessary to pave the way through obstacles that come up as the project progresses. Some say that this is the main responsibility of a Project Manager, and I tend to agree. It is up to the Project Manager to ensure that obstacles are dealt with and mitigated before they affect the project team and the project itself. Generally, there are three different kinds of obstacles that projects face: Technical, Political, and Emotional.
Think about a person that you would follow regardless of where they were going. What makes them a leader worth following? In terms of the business world, a leader doesn’t necessarily make decisions, and a leader doesn’t necessarily have the highest ranking title. A true leader is someone that has earned the trust and respect of their team; and as a result, that team will follow that person in whatever direction they take.
Project Management is a very difficult line of work to describe in terms that every person can understand. The quickest answer I can usually come up with is “I get all of the work done on projects without doing any of the actual work”, which is the best description I have of what I do.