Managing your first Project

Project Management Coaching Video

Did you get assigned a Project? Is this the first time you are going to execute the project as a Project Manager? Then I am sure you are excited, thrilled and nervous at the same time. Don’t worry you are not alone, most of us went through this phase before becoming a seasoned Project Manager. Whether this is your first project or first large project or you are assigned to run an Agile Project as a SCRUM Master or a traditional Waterfall project using the good old tools such as Microsoft Project, Excel and Sharepoint. I got you covered. This is your mini course so you can get up and running immediately.

There are few things you need to pay attention very early on irrespective of whether you are going to run your project as Waterfall or Agile.

  1. Scope
  2. Budget
  3. Stakeholders
  4. Team

You need to understand the Scope of the project. You can ask the project sponsor or whoever is paying for the project to share their high lever executive summary and then based on that you can meet with additional stakeholders and develop a detailed scope document. It is important to have an excellent understanding of the Project Scope such as what’s your timeline to complete the project, what are the project deliverables at the end of the project and what’s the success criteria.

Next is Budget. How much money you have to complete the project and deliver the project scope. You then have to determine how and when that money will be spent during the course of the project. This is easy because before assigning you as the PM, the sponsor or whoever put together the business case for this project will have a rough outline of how and where the money will be spent according to them. So you can for time being rely on that information and once you have the team members and start planning phase you will expand on the project spending forecast. It all depends on few questions, are their external vendors you have to pay for and any license or subscription fees you need to pay for or any raw materials you need to buy etc. Once you complete the planning stage and get in to the execution stage then you are tracking if you are staying close the forecasted monthly spent amount or not. Anytime you go +/- 15% – 25% you know the project is in financial trouble and you may need to raise a change request to request additional funding or release unspent amount.

Stakeholders, they are key to your project success. So identify them very early in the process and keep them informed and satisfied. There would be Internal vs External stakeholders or Direct vs Indirect stakeholders. If anyone is not happy and not kept informed about the project then there is a high chance your project can get derailed. So keep a close eye on all the stakeholders. More on how to manage your stakeholders is covered in my Project Management Master Class.

Team is your key project team members plus any cross functional team that you may need help for completing certain part of the project. If you are using waterfall methodology then you would need to know if the team members are 100% allocated for this project or part-time, so that you when doing planning and estimation of effort you can determine the effort required to complete the task by the team member based on the allocated time. If you are running Agile project methodology then insist that your team members are 100% allocated for your project otherwise we are breaking the rule of agile at the beginning itself. But in real-world experience sometime you wouldn’t get all team resources allocated 100% for the project even in Agile methodology, but keep that in mind when doing the estimation during Sprint Planning. If you are new to agile then Sprint is a timebox , you can have 1 week or 2 week or 3 week or 4 week sprint, you and the team commit during sprint planning that these are the x number of items that you would do in the next 2 weeks so that becomes your timeboxed (2 week) sprint. Recommendation is that you run 3 week sprint and once the team gets matured then move to a 2 week sprint if required. 1 week is too short and 4 week is too long.

There are plenty more to cover for a project execution especially if this is your first project execution. So I have put together a Project Management master class for students who need a virtual mentor on their side during and through out their first project execution. Check out the Master Class and join, it’s the best amount you will spend on your training and I guarantee that.

PM Master Class

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