How to Find the Right Project Management Formula

SESSION RECAP: Project Management. How can you find the project management formula that makes sure your big objectives are met, without losing sight of secondary goals, too?


What elements do I need to create a project management strategy that works, and that accomplishes both the large tasks and the small?

Why It’s Important

“If you get too distracted with the daily stuff, you’ll never accomplish the big-picture stuff.” This professional manages a team of developers and has watched the company evolve from a small team to a larger one. Along the way, he’s helped the company evolve a new project management plan that covers both big and small items — but the challenge is prioritizing them in a way that best benefits the company.

Another challenge: Unrealistic expectations for projects are being aired, and as this professional’s project management ability gets more successful, those expectations increase.

Clarifying Questions

  • What about your system are you dissatisfied with?
  • Are there specific elements that aren’t working?
  • Are you meeting your goals with this system?
  • How do the occasional failures of this system affect the company, and morale?
  • Who sets the goals, and what latitude is allowed?
  • How is the staff’s time divided between long-term and short-term projects?

Suggestions / Solutions

  • Put systems in place for internal communication regarding these projects and goals.
  • Consider using Yammer to help improve project management processes.
  • Use the opportunity of staff meetings to communicate updates to the rest of the team, letting them share in the responsibility of project management.
  • Manage up as well as down, and report weekly updates to superiors.
  • Sharing the results creates a feeling of collaboration, as opposed to competition.

Action Plan

Walking away with a full docket of advice, this professional has committed to focusing on interdepartmental coordination, based on a system of shared responsibility and increased communication. Other takeaways:

  • Getting people excited about product launch
  • Have employees turn in a weekly report on what they’ve accomplished, then share those results with entire team, as well as superiors
  • Holding one-on-ones in a conference room to foster the sense of teamwork.


How do I develop a realistic, track-able timeline for the operational side of my business?

Why It’s Important

This leader is in the process of developing both a physical and electronic (cloud-based) means of tracking projects that’s easily viewable by all team members. The challenge is getting this finished in the face of daily distractions — fires to put out, other issues taking priority, and so on.

“I’d love to have something visual … that I can break into sections” as a means of “seeing” projects represented visually. This leader is clear on what should be accomplished,

The value is high; lack of this tool is impeding the company’s ability to expand.

Clarifying Questions

  • Have you tried other tools in the past, or are you creating this from scratch?
  • How many projects do you have to manage each year?
  • What is the importance of the visualization factor to you?
  • Who’s doing the bulk of the work in putting this together — you, or team members?
  • Is this a marketing issue, in that the document you’re trying to create is meant for form rather than function?

Suggestions / Solutions

  • Consider outsourcing this task, possibly to an external marketing team.
  • Re-think your timetable and your personal time spent in developing this.

Action Plan:

This leader knows that to lead his team to better action, he has to inspire them — their limitations are actually his responsibility as a leader. With that in mind, his need to consider this project in a hand’s-on fashion is critical. In addition, his main takeaway is a focus on video as a means to put his project management goals into a visual medium.
Session date: Aug 15, 2012
Originally published: Aug 20, 2012

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