Here’s to Shorter Meetings, Fewer Meetings

shorter meetings
Here’s to shorter meetings

Every company that I’ve ever worked for, whether as an employee or a consultant, has had way too many meetings in my opinion.  I’ve attended meetings designed to prepare for another meeting.  I’ve also seen people lead meetings who use up every minute of time allotted.  If a half-hour meeting finishes in twenty minutes, they figure out some way of extending the meeting to its allotted time.

Meetings do serve a purpose. We can’t just eliminate them altogether.  We just enable meeting abuse by allowing people to take them too far.

I’ve always believed in calling meetings only when necessary. But even then, there is the problem with necessary meetings going too long.
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Decision Making by the Project Manager

decision making
Decision making

I’ve written in the past about what makes a good project manager.  One thing I’ve never addressed is a project manager’s decision making abilities – and limitations.

Managers in general need to be decisive.  It shows the ability get things done when others don’t know how to move forward.

But a project manager needs to know when to be decisive and when to defer.

For instance, I manage projects in a consulting environment.  When issues arise requiring a decision, it’s important to realize that although I manage the project, and am responsible for the project’s success, at the end of the day the client owns the project. Even when managing an internal project, the business customer owns the project.
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Completed Tasks Do Not Equal Accomplishments

accomplishments
Great accomplishments

I used to be a very scientific and data-centric project manager.  I lived by the Microsoft Project plan.  I thought a project was all about tasks.

The project plans I managed in those days were full of activities, tasks and subtasks. Estimates were verified and tracked to actuals. I could calculate cost variances, earned value and performance baselines with the best of them.

When it came time to report status I had it all together.  At the beginning of each week, I’d print a filtered list of tasks for each team member. At the end of each week, I met with team leads to get updates on all of the tasks that were completed for the week.
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The 2 Biggest Project Management Decisions

Project management decisions
Project management decisions

Throughout my career, I’ve managed a lot of people and probably mismanaged a few.  I’ve learned from most of my mistakes.

I’ve also been managed and mismanaged by many bosses along the way. Any success that I’ve had, I can attribute to the fact that I’ve been managed more than I’ve been mismanaged.  I am sure that I’ve learned at least as much from being mismanaged as I have from being well-managed.

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101 Tips for Success in Project Management