Chris is a freelance technical project manager living in Brooklyn, NY. I manage projects remotely for clients around the world. I write about technical project management in the freelance economy and the future of work.
Thoughts on Technical Project Management in the Freelance Economy and the Future of Work
The best project managers keep a project running smoothly. We also stay out of the way. That means doing some things and not doing others. Here are the do's and don'ts of the best project managers.
Do set the path to a successful outcome. Do keep the path clear and stay out of the way. Don't block the path.
Do set the path to a successful outcome by developing, updating and communicating the path. Do keep the path clear by removing roadblocks. Do give your team what they need to make progress down the path, toward the successful outcome.
Do ask questions when they benefit the project. Do ask the hard questions when necessary.
Don't block the path. Don't get in the way. Don't impede progress. Don't establish process related roadblocks on the path. Don't stop people smarter than you from doing what they need to do. Don't be afraid to admit when you don't know something.
Don't ask unnecessary questions for your own personal benefit. Don't shy away from asking the hard questions when necessary.
Do set your team up for success. Do give credit to team members where and when credit is due. Don't take undue credit when the team succeeds.
Do take responsibility when things don't go well. Don't blame the team when a project goes off-track.
Do celebrate small wins along the way. Do use the small wins to build momentum toward the bigger goal. Do try and have some fun as you proceed down the path toward a successful outcome 🙂
A project manager who follows these do's and don'ts will keep a project running smoothly. A project manager who doesn't follow them will only cause problems and get in the way.
Contact me to work with a project manager who follows these do's and don'ts. I'll keep your project running smoothly.
Asana Is The Right Choice to Keep Your IT Tasks Organized
Asana is my choice for managing IT projects. I’ve managed big IT projects for large government agencies and financial institutions. I wish Asana had been available to use on those projects. I was stuck using MS Project. That’s a nightmare I don’t wish to experience again 🙂
I’ve used Asana to manage projects since then. I also use it to manage my daily priorities. Asana has helped me complete thousands of daily tasks.
Here are the 3 reasons I’d choose Asana to manage IT projects.
This four tier structure can support projects of any size. Companies organize projects in different ways. Individuals use different approaches to get work done. Asana’s flexibility adapts to the various organizational approaches used to complete tasks and projects.
Asana can become complicated in the hands of an inexperienced project manager. The flexible structure will do what you want it to do. This is an asset for an experienced project manager. An experienced project manager knows how to structure efficient project workflows. We know how to balance simplicity with complexity.
This same asset can become a liability for an inexperienced project manager. It will do what the project manger tells it to do. It won't dictate how a project is set up.Asana will allow an experienced project manager to set up an effective project structure. Asana will also allow an inexperienced project manager to set up an ineffective project structure.
Asana supports collaboration at each level of its structure. A project owner can add collaborators to workspaces, projects, tasks and subtasks. The project owner can set permissions at each level of the structure as well.
Asana organizes communication at each level of its structure as well. This makes it easy to view the communication you need to see at any one time, i.e. the history of a task.
This organization prevents you from getting distracted by communication unrelated to the workspace, project, task or subtask at hand. The approach also helps keep your email Inbox clean.
(Tip: Make sure to set up your notifications to limit the number of emails you receive.)
Drawback/Shortcoming -The free version doesn't provide a full range of flexible permission options. You have to upgrade to a paid version for access to the most flexible permission options. The concept of adding a collaborator as a "Guest" can be a bit confusing too.
Asana is list-based. The lists are organized in a user-friendly way. I describe the user experience as list-based. Asana leads with a list-based structure and adds appropriate UX enhancements throughout the tool.
It’s a systematic and logical approach to UX. I’d say it leads with the left side of the brain and allows the right side of the brain to soften the edges. I believe this UX approach synchronizes well with how IT people and organizations think.
This is a key point. A task management tool is only helpful if it's adopted and used. Choosing a tool that fits well with a team’s way of thinking goes along way in increasing adoption and use. This helps your project succeed. Isn’t that the whole point of using a task management tool in the first place?
I wouldn't say Asana's UX is the most "beautiful" project management tool out there. It's practical and pretty enough though.
The list-based approach may not be the right tool for a team heavy on creative people. People more comfortable with a visual interface might prefer a different tool.
Selection of the right tool to get IT tasks done depends on many factors. Flexibility, collaboration and user experience are the three reasons I use Asana to manage IT tasks. Give it a try if these reasons are important to you as well.
P.S. - Want to give Asana a try? Drop me a line if you need help structuring your Asana workflow. I'll help you maximize Asana's effectiveness, while avoiding the tool's potential shortcomings.
Photo by Jesse Oricco via Unsplash
I curate a weekly list of project manager job openings at top tech and startup companies in New York. Use it to make finding your next project management job at a top New York tech or startup company easier and faster. Subscribe for free here.
I update the list each week. It includes jobs from the best New York tech and startup job sources like -
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My hope is it will make finding your next project manager job at a company you enjoy faster and easier!
Why do I do this?
I believe the future of work is about collaboration, not ruthless competition. I curate this list to help the project management community in New York thrive!
P.S. - Would you like me to add a new source or your company’s posting to the list? Please send it to me for consideration by contacting me here.
Photo credit, recent NYC Startup Map from Digital NYC