Top 8 plays for project management
You already know about planning, scoping, and budgeting. Here are eight off-the-beaten-path activities that help keep your team focused, your stakeholders informed, and your risks manageable.
Most project managers treat the kick-off as a time to broadcast information. But you can do better! Run this play to make the meeting interactive and walk out knowing more than when you walked in. You'll fill your agenda with activities that build consensus on objectives, milestones, and decision-making.
This play prompts you to explore the problem space, acknowledge assumptions and risks, and brainstorm possible solutions so you understand the problem before you dive into solving it. Plus, you'll create a living document to share with project team members and stakeholders.
Every project involves a ton of decisions. If they all need to be escalated to the project manager, work will eventually grind to a halt. This play sets your project team up to make every-day decisions autonomously by understanding what to optimize for at all costs, and where you can flex.
A twist on the classic project post-mortem! You'll brainstorm all the ways the project could fail and make a plan for addressing the biggest risks while there's still time. Run this play with your team in the middle phase of your project.
Goals, Signals, Measures
Is everyone on the project team aligned on the objective? How about success measures? (Are you sure about that?...) Take 90 minutes at the beginning of your project to agree on your primary goal, identify signs you're on the right track, and define how you'll measure success.
Stakeholder Communications Plan
With the buzz of activity going on, it's easy to forget to communicate with your project's stakeholders. This play guides you through creating and documenting a communication plan: who needs to be informed about what, how often, and through which communication channels.
If you're like us, many of your projects are cross-functional efforts that involve not just multiple teams, but multiple departments. By mapping out dependencies proactively, you can prevent bottlenecks (and sleepless nights spent worrying).
After the deliverable has been delivered and you've celebrated with your team (do not skip the celebration, btw!) take an hour to reflect on how things went and identify ways to improve next time. Remember to establish your retro as a safe space for candid discussion.
Project Team Health Monitor
Use the Health Monitor to self-assess against eight attributes common amongst high-performing teams, then track your progress over time.
Gather your project team for an honest discussion about how you're working together.
Because there's always more to learn about project management.
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