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.
Comparing Project to Product Manager Roles is Like Comparing Apples to Apples
I've managed projects and products. I don't see a big difference between the two roles, if you view a product as a project. Then again, I believe project management should keep things simple.
I believe these two roles and their definitions get too complicated. Viewing a product as a project keeps things simple. Project management should aim to keep things simple. That's why I favor a simple definitions and simple approaches.
Let's start with some simple definitions.
A project is a set of defined tasks executed to achieve a desired outcome.
Project management is defining those tasks, leading their execution and delivering the desired outcome.
Yes, sh*t hits the fan!
Yes, in practice, sh*t hits the fan along the way.
I find setting a simple starting point sets a clear intention for a project. A a clear intention grounds the project. Keeping the project grounded helps focus it.
Keeping a project focused helps -
-Limit the amount of sh*t that hits the fan
-Bring the project back on track once the sh*t hits the fan
Viewing everything from a project perspective keeps things simple. If you view everything from a project perspective then -
-A product is a type of project
-A program is a collection projects or
-A program is a collection of products, since a product is a project
So along these lines -
A project manager is a project manager. A project manager may manage a project, program or product.
A product manager is project manager. A product manager manages a product as their project.
That's my simple view of things.
Photo credit Raquel Martinez via Unsplash