Lessons Learned from an Old Guy

By Mike on April 1, 2014 in PMP

After being in the business for over 25 years here are some of the insights I have learned nad would like to share with you.

20 Lessons Learned

  1. The most important thing to remember is to have fun.  Enjoy the adventure.
  2. Get to know who is involved (stakeholders, sponsors and your team) and treat them like people.  Everyone likes to enjoy what they do and a smile or a laugh can go a long way.
  3. Having said that – Know your management.  Some like a good joke; others only like a joke if they tell it.  Beware of the different personalities involved.
  4. Celebrate the successes of your teams and individuals on your team.  Celebrations come in different shapes and sizes and there is no excuse not to celebrate.
  5. Scope – Clearly understand what the project is – how will you know if you nailed it out of the park?
  6. The Iron triangle – Scope, Resources (Cost), Schedule – there is no way to avoid it. Accept it and manage to it.
  7. The Project Schedule is critical – build it, manage it, and make sure everyone knows it, understands it in all its glory.
  8. Truly understand the financial side.   What is EBITDA, ROI, CPI?   Can you read and understand financial statements?  If you have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
  9. Change management process – has to be in place and something that will work for all the stakeholders involved.  KISS principle – it doesn’t have to be complex to be effective.  This includes your client.  More is not always better – too much gold will sink your boat and a captain will go down with his/her ship.
  10. Don’t be a hero – you can’t do it by yourself.   Work with and develop the resources you have.  Leadership is a process.  Build and trust the team members you have – the reward will be substantial.
  11. Don’t be afraid to make a decision –procrastination will kill you!  Even if you make a mistake, learn from it and move on.
  12. Admit mistakes when necessary – honesty and integrity will make you stronger and more valuable and your team will support you through anything.
  13. Close a project – call it done officially.  Team members must now move on to other teams and projects and feel ok about it.
  14. Project Managers do NOT just monitor work.  If you’re a ‘monitor’ chances are you will never truly know what’s going on – until it’s too late.
  15. Meetings – a necessary evil, treat them as such.  Clear, concise communications that have a purpose.  Have only the people required and never longer than an hour.
  16. People are different.  We all have reasons for doing things the way we do them. Most of us want to do a good job.  If one of your team members is not doing a good job the problem is they probably don’t know how or exactly what is expected – fix the real issue.
  17. If you’re the smartest person on your team then you failed at putting together an effective team.
  18. On politics – 99 % of the time a political decisions is just that – a political decision.  Do not try to find logic in a political decision.  Accept it, and sell it.
  19. Shut up and listen.
  20. Finally – Take time for yourself – it is amazing how quickly time will go by.  Family members, children, friends are more important than a career.  Most people entering the work force today will have 10 careers.  Your family, children, and friends will hopefully be with you until the end.


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