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A few simple truths about project management

Published by Val Sopi on December 21st, 2016

A few simple truths about project management

Photo by Bethany Legg

Managing projects is hard, because, in essence, projects do not manage themselves.

This sounds like a given. But, time and again, novice project managers falsely believe that if you a have a great team in place, the pieces to the puzzle will magically fall into place.

That is never the case. Each team-member works differently at a different pace. No matter how great they are individually, bringing them together as a team is your job as a project manager.

A good well-rounded project manager feels their team’s pulse and acts accordingly when delegating and prioritizing deliverables.

Novice project managers falsely believe that if you a have a great team in place, the pieces to the puzzle will magically fall into place.

Nothing is mathematical when it comes to project management

In managing projects, everything is changing and evolving all the time. A great project manager understands this well. Deliverables are continuously progressing. Team-members are bound to stray away, from time to time, especially in fast-paced work environments.

At times, processes may feel illogical which can be daunting. We’re used to working with “1+1 equalling 2”, but sometimes things may not add up as they seem. Panic can set it and dismantle the strongest of us.

Keeping the communication channel open is the only way to success

To go through all this and still win the day, a project manager must be constantly in touch with all parties involved: clients, teamsten, and superiors. This approach keeps the ball rolling and helps everyone clearly envision the finish line.

Usually projects fail because not everyone is sharing the same vision. They all may have great visions, nonetheless, if they do not align, failure will most certainly ensue.

Open communication helps refine the rough edges

When everyone involved knows about the upcoming limitations (resources, time, etc.) they will all readjust their working style accordingly. This is what being “in sync” means. When everyone dances to the same tune, the entire setup is coordinated towards success.

Open communication brings about epiphanies

At times, something may feel pressing, when in fact it may not be such a big deal if that *thing* is not even delivered. The only way to do this is to be in touch with everyone. Staying in touch can be done through mandatory morning meetings where everyone talks about where they are headed. Also, throughout the day you can hold another quick stand-up meeting where any hiccups are brought up and quickly dealt with.

Meetings are not dead

Vavingo is only one part of your project management success. Yes, it does keep everything organized but it will only help you if you first help yourself. Software (Email, Messages, Project managers) can never replace the face-to-face (or voice-to-ear) meetings where everyone quickly talks about the latest and brings about any issues they are facing. Even if there are no issues or the progress is slow, simply speaking with your team will relieve any tension and even bond team-members with one-another as they’re in this together.

Acting on what you feel is right

Each industry has its one caveats when it comes to project management. Sometimes there are a set of rules and processes that must be followed to deliver the project on time and within scope. But, sometimes a certain widget may not delivered on time which can reck havoc on the entire project. This is where you come to play, as a creative and flexible project manager. You must quickly act and decide which is the way forward, by choosing the fastest way to success without cutting any corners.

In the creative world, there are never really any written processes that show you the way. Each project is different. Even at times when things are based on previous templates, there are still times when you must act based on your hunch and creativity.

Dance like a butterfly, finish like an eagle

As a project manager, you must lead with an open heart, entertain your team and clients, compliment when there’s an obvious win, and finish in style. You must call the shots when need be and pull the plug when things don’t work. Even realign people within projects and departments so the project is done and delivered on time and within scope.

Being a solid project manager takes guts. You must always lead and take full responsibility for everyone’s actions.

The fun in all this? Completing the project within scope before its due date so your team gets paid on time. Now that’s a superstar project manager!



Learn more about Vavingo

About the Author

Val Sopi is the founder and chief everything at Vavingo. You can find him coding, designing, writing, and even answering customer-care questions without ever complaining one bit.

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