Advice to new project managers

I was having lunch with my scrum-master colleagues today, and one them – Eric Plue – asked, “If you had to list four of the top things that you’d advise a new PM to do, what would they be”. It was a lively sort of discussion, and here are mine –

1. Risk management
2. Manage expectations
3. Apply lean thinking
4. Inspect and Adapt

What are yours? Remember, no thinking about it for hours, just the top four on your mind!

5 thoughts on “Advice to new project managers

  1. My top four:

    1. Get the right people on your team and support them, don’t boss them.
    2. Set the client’s expectations about how much will realistically be done in the first few iterations and the first release as a whole.
    3. Make sure the client will be an active participant; plan your first release to involve customer reps who are supportive/interested; don’t schedule stories into the release if the end users are hostile or going to be inaccessible.
    4. Track risks and highlight them weekly to both sides (TW & client); make sure the client understands a risk as it affects them & not as it affects you — this might mean you have to present / talk about it differently with different people.

  2. my top 4:
    collaborative planning (with the team and the stakeholders)
    consulting (expectation setting, risk mgmt, understanding your role)
    managing (internal and external)
    understand the value of iterative delivery

  3. Mine:

    1) Manage stakeholder expectations (obviate constant “Are we there yet?” queries). Be able to answer fundamental stakeholder questions in an accurate, reasonable manner.
    2) Understand that the work is being done by human beings (not “resources”) and that they require care, feeding, attention, trust, inspiration and understanding.
    3) Learn and extend your tools to the point where you can extract value from them instead of fighting with them (Buy an Excel book !)
    4) Favor continuous, incremental improvement over big-bang changes (a variation of inspect and adapt)

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