Mistakes happen in every project. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to your face, which is rude. However, accepting mistakes as a part of life does not mean we all get a free pass to make the same ones over and over again. That would be dumb – and we’re not dumb. While it’s helpful to catalog our personal mistakes and lessons they taught you, there’s tremendous value in capturing those of our teammates, as well. That way, we don’t all have to slip on the same banana peel before someone gets up and throws it in the trash (not my best analogy, but you get the point). Here are some tips – and a free template – for capturing lessons learned as a team.
When running a project, you likely have numerous people depending on, interested in, and worried about its success. A status report is a fantastic way to keep these stakeholders informed (and frankly, to keep certain people from attempting to micromanage you and your project team). It will help your project run smoothly – especially if it’s a project no one has ever run before, in which case your stakeholders can be understandably nervous.
We’ve all been there (or guilty of doing it ourselves): Leadership comes in one day and says, “Gather ‘round folks! It’s time to implement [Great New Best Practice Improvement Thing]!” The announcement is followed by a flurry of excitement and activity over the next several months: Leadership goes on a This is What We’re Doing and Why it’s Important tour and tons of meetings and/or trainings are scheduled in preparation for the Great New Best Practice Improvement Thing (GNBPIT). Then, a few months later, you notice the GNBPIT has quietly faded away, never to be heard from again. (It doesn’t write. It doesn’t call.)
With the advent of Human Resource systems, résumés submitted to companies no longer fill the email inbox of someone in HR. Instead, résumés get dumped into an HR system. The easiest way for a Hiring Manager to search for and screen out resumes for Project Managers is to search by keyword. Many times, that keyword is “PMP”. If you do not have these letters on your resume, it’s likely your resume will never be found. Will having the PMP designation get you the job? No. But it will increase your chances of getting an interview; and in a sea of Project Management candidates, it helps you stand out. Further, research shows Project Managers with their PMP earn, on average, 17% more annually than their colleagues who do not have their PMP. There is really no excuse not to get it.
You don’t need a large budget or a lot of time to make your project stick in the minds of those in your organization. With a little ingenuity, you can get people engaged in the mission of your project and have a lot of fun, too. Here are three things we did right in one of my first enterprise projects that captured stakeholder attention and brought excitement to what we were doing:
If you are a Project Manager working in an IT environment, you may have heard the acronym ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library, a set of books similar in nature to PMI’s PMBOK Guide) or ITSM (IT Service Management, the concept of IT as a service provider to the business). If you haven’t heard of ITIL, you will. Why? Simply put: in terms of industry adoption, ITIL is one of the fastest growing frameworks in IT today.
If you are looking to step into a role as a Project Manager (if it’s on your career roadmap), here are some ways to break into this rewarding profession.
Project Management software can be extremely helpful in managing projects and programs across an organization. Unfortunately, most Project Managers create problems for themselves by falling into common traps when using these automated tools. Here, we will cover a few of the most common scheduling problems along with some of my best advice on how to avoid these bad habits, ensuring that your Gantt chart will never turn into a Can’t chart.
If you are waiting until the end of your project to hold a Lessons Learned or Post-Mortem Meeting, it’s far too late in the game to do any good. The damage is already done, so why bother at all? I have been there, done that, and brought my organization very little value as a result. And I’m not the only one who has blindly accepted this myth. I bet you have done it, too. Maybe you still do.