Project Management is Learned, Not Given

Nobody is just automatically born a great project manager, nor does becoming one happen overnight. Instead, like anything else of value in work or in life, being a great project manager is a skill – or, to be precise, a series of skills – that you have to master over time before those skills become habitual. But many people never quite acquire these skills, because after all change takes time and very few of us have time to spare these days. I understand all this, which is why I’ve done the work for you by assembling the six basic strategies and five simple steps you’ll need to, as the subtitle of this book suggests, “complete projects on time.”

The knowledge is out there; it’s simply a matter of distilling it all down and putting it to use. The challenge isn’t just how, but when? Case in point: there are many books about project management, but who has time to read 400-page books when there is barely any time to finish the things you need to do right now, today?

And even when the project manager is knowledgeable about how to manage projects, usually the team of developers, testers, managers and clients have no knowledge in project management methodologies and that creates miscommunication between the different project stakeholders, leading to frustration and project failure.

Let me give you an example: Tracking the time that team members spend on tasks is very important. It enables the project managers and the team to see how the project is progressing, if there are any delays that need to be addressed, or any changes that need to be made in order to keep the project on track.

The project manager knows that, but the team, who might be a group of excellent programmers who have no knowledge in project management and are not aware of the importance of time tracking, might feel like “big brother” is watching them when team members are asked to report the time they work on assignments.

As a result of not knowing the true reason behind this request, they often object and even refuse to report their time. While it’s human nature to see requests like this as “interference,” this type of basic miscommunication between the project manager and the team leads to arguments, frustration and project delays. In short, project mismanagement.

This is why it is so important for everyone on the team, including developers, testers, managers, and even clients themselves, to be familiar with all the stages that are involved in the project development cycle. And who’s responsible for making them familiar with those stages? That’s right, you; the project manager.

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