Lifehacks Project Manager

    The experience of the project manager is also manifested in the little things that allow him to work effectively. This is especially important at the beginning of the project, when you need to quickly start all the processes. An experienced RP comes to the project with a suitcase of his own tools and techniques, allowing you to start without much discussion on how to better organize the work.

    At trainings, people sometimes ask about chips, techniques and technologies. When you do something for a long time, then such things become taken for granted, and it is difficult to immediately answer the question. Nevertheless, I will try to highlight some seemingly insignificant moments that help save time and effort. Little life hacking.

    What is in the suitcase?

    When a project starts, it is critical to quickly start the work of the project participants. To do this, it is better to determine in advance the procedures, tools and rules by which the project team will work.

    Quickly is the key word, because discord and vacillation become a self-sustaining process, and a heap of unproductive, poorly organized activity grows like a snowball.

    Therefore, Life hacking 1: coming to the project, you need to have blanks of project procedures, documents, proven tools that you only need to deploy, show and convince everyone that this is not the only option, but a proven option.

    What exactly:

    • Project team structure and assignment of responsibilities.
    • A set of design procedures. If on one of the projects you have described them well, then only adaptation and improvement goes on.
    • The way the organization of the project library. The article JIRA and Confluence in project management is written about one of the options.
    • Organization of task management. In the same article you will find a description of the variant that we used.
    • Typical high-level project plan and implementation methodology
    • Type Risk Set

    Having it all in finished form, you can start right off the bat.

    Who buys the livers?

    Layfkhak 1 says that the project begins long before collecting a project team. If you manage to prepare the infrastructure in advance, then it becomes easier to organize the work.

    In order to further optimize the launch process, it is good to prepare a page for new members of the project team. This will allow not to waste time on solving everyday issues.

    What could be in this description:

    • Where and how to get a pass to the entrance, if the work goes on the territory of the customer
    • What are the rules of the schedule (working days, weekends)
    • How to connect remotely if possible
    • How to connect a printer
    • Where is the dining room, how best to get to the office
    • What are the reporting rules, if the work goes on timesheets, how to report on expenses
    • Who buys livers

    For all this information to be available, you need to immediately determine the project information center. It is convenient to do this with the help of the portal on the wiki, where you can post and information for new participants, and a contact card, and all sorts of links, project procedures and announcements.

    Rules for documents

    One of the regulations that make life much easier later is the rules of naming and standards for writing documents.

    If you specify a rule for encoding a file name, then it will be easy to find and identify them later without opening it. For example:

    <project code>. <Task code>. <Document name>. <Version>
    It is useful to mark key project tasks with codes. In the Oracle implementation methodology, for example, all project tasks are pre-coded: “TA.030 - Technical Architecture”, “TE.025 - Test Scenarios”, etc. After a while, everyone in the project starts talking with these codes, because it is unequivocal and economical.

    The rules for issuing documents are set by templates. You can create a title page template as a separate file and then create new documents based on it. This automatically uses the styles that are defined in the file.

    Once I went even further and wrote a cheat sheet in which I described the principles for writing the text of project documents: rules for using styles, font headings, abbreviations, etc. However, the effectiveness of this was not very high, unfortunately. Nobody reads the instructions here.

    Meetings and Minutes

    The scourge of big projects is endless meetings. A meeting lasting more than an hour becomes ineffective because the participants are tired, lose the focus of attention and begin to walk in a circle.

    In order to reduce them, it is necessary, at a minimum, a) to prepare for them, b) to set a goal for ourselves - to keep within 30-40 minutes, c) moderate the process. A lot of books have been written about this; anyone who wants to become a professional in this field will read.

    What I want to draw attention to is the drawing up of protocols. It happens that after the meeting three days agree on the protocol. A lot of time and effort is spent on this, and the information during this time is rotting.

    Ideally, the minutes should be ready by the end of the meeting. You can do it right away in a letter that the host sends out when everyone else leaves the meeting room. We prepared a protocol on the project portal page, which was created as a template at the beginning of each meeting and filled in as needed (see JIRA and Confluence in project management ). Afterwards, any participant could add or correct wording, but the protocol was considered relevant at any time. The history of all changes was saved, it was possible to see who made what changes. Thus, we didn’t have any additional time for coordination.

    Weekly reports

    Even if no one requires it, it is better to introduce the practice of weekly formal reports from the very beginning of the project.

    The report should be 1-2 pages. The content of the report is structured and uniform from week to week. At least it contains:

    • The overall assessment of the project, for example, a traffic light. And comments about this - where we are, the main achievements and problems
    • Completed tasks for the previous week
    • Plan for next week
    • Risks, problems, suggestions

    Even if you send a report to a limited group of people, remember that the report can reach anyone, from any member of the project team to the company's shareholders. Therefore, carefully select the words and information that you do not show. Before sending out it is necessary to coordinate it with someone who will defend this project status with you.
    The weekly report creates a rhythm that disciplines the RP and creates confidence among its managers and the customer that everything is under control and they understand what is happening in the project. The traffic light is green - all is well!

    Lack of time

    The most scarce resource is time. It is impossible to do everything. Therefore, the most useful thing a project manager can do is to stop, do nothing for a while and think about priorities, letting the brain float free for 10 minutes. Relaxing the body and short meditation helps to see what is important and what is not; what you should do first and what you can give to others.

    In this case, there are things that can not be postponed. For example, if you promised to send a progress report on a project on Friday evening, you need to do it. Because otherwise it will take attention at the moment when it is completely unacceptable. An unfinished business devours energy. It is better not to postpone the routine, which should be done on a schedule. Otherwise, then it catches up like an avalanche. It is better to strain, do, and sleep well.


    In addition to procedures and regulations, there is always a relationship. Relations in the project team, relations with the customer. It plays a role and sincere respect for everyone; understanding that all people, not just the project participants. If the RP does not have this inside, then no teambuilding will help.

    If you have established a constructive working relationship, then you will forgive a lot of mistakes. And if they are not there, they may not understand your achievements. Such is human nature.

    It is clear that some things we do on realizing, therefore, you will not tell everything. It is always useful to observe the work of the master, whether he manages the project, mending shoes or writing a book. You can learn from anyone, if you see the essence.

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