Thursday, December 27, 2007

Avoiding Project Management Pitfalls

Only about one-third of the way through the book, Scrappy Project Management, and already I can say that I recommend this book if you have to:
  • lead a team
  • work on a team, or
  • rely on people across your organization for your projects to reach the finish line successfully.
Although I take issue with the author's assertion that if you really, really, really need your job, you should never lead a project because by virtue of taking this position, you're constantly sticking your neck out and you run the risk of being fired. In fact, one of her Scrappy Tips includes this sobering advice nugget:

"Be prepared to be respected but not necessarily liked, and keep your resume up to date!"
- Kimberly Wiefling, Scrappy Project Management

In any case, this book is a great reminder of the pitfalls of project management and how to keep things from veering off track.

One of her most valuable suggestions is to create an org chart for the project team, illustrating how people relate to each other and noting (briefly) what their responsibilities are in the context of the project.

Wiefling notes that the org chart for the project is likely to have absolutely nothing to do with your organization's actual formal org chart. This is the chart that serves as a roadmap to getting things done.

(You know how it is; there are some slots in an org chart where you can't possibly figure out what that person does, even if you've sat in countless meetings with them.)

The tips are fairly practical, and although the author is a consultant, her insights are completely applicable when managing projects in-house.

Never thought reading a book on project management could be entertaining, but this one is.

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