You have always worked in operations. You have always been effective. You have always had total control. But suddenly, you are parachuted into a brand new role and given a brand new shiny project with a looming deadline. You feel slightly uneasy, as the clock has started ticking on your project and you’re not sure where to begin.
You don’t know what exactly you have to do, you don’t know how possible it is to do it and you don’t know who the key players are. So you begin to ask a few questions. However, you are left none the wiser as everyone seems to want something different and no one has any previous experience of this type of project, so they are not sure what is involved.
Puzzled you call your friend, who has delivered many successful projects and you tell him your predicament. He gives you three pieces of advice. Don’t promise the sun, moon and stars. Beware of men in raincoats looking for ‘just one more thing’. Finally, watch out for the canary in the coalmine! Utterly confused, you ask ‘is this project management – men in white coats, flying to the moon?’ So your friend begins to explain:
- Don’t promise the sun, moon and stars
You need to manage expectations. To do this you need to identify and prioritise all your stakeholders now, communicate and engage with them often and ask what success looks like for them.
- Beware of men in raincoats looking for ‘just one more thing’
You need to avoid scope creep. You need to ensure that the work of the project is clearly defined as well as the work that is not included. You need to keep your project from creeping into chaos by managing any requests for ‘just one more thing’ to the original agreed work with an impact assessment.
- Watch out for the canary in the coalmine
You need to have triggers to alert you of any impending show stoppers that could potentially harm or derail your project.
Now you are totally confused. You may have been a great operations manager, but Project Management is a new world, with a new language and a different approach. And so, you sit down to write an email to email@example.com ‘Please help me to become a great Project Manager’. Suddenly you are feeling better.
Author: Norma Lynch, Training Manager, Aspira https://www.linkedin.com/in/norma-lynch-b3922413/