Project Management 101

Scott Berkun, author of Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management (Theory in Practice) shares some great project management tips that are relevant to all professionals who have to get things done.  I especially love his thinking on priorities and saying “No” more often:

One side effect of having priorities is how often you have to say no. It’s one of the smallest words in the English language, yet many people have trouble saying it. The problem is that if you can’t say no, you can’t have priorities. The universe is a large place, but your priority 1 list should be very small. Therefore, most of what people in the world (or on your team) might think are great ideas will end up not matching the goals of the project. It doesn’t mean their ideas are bad; it just means their ideas won’t contribute to this particular project. So, a fundamental law of the PM universe is this: if you can’t say no, you can’t manage a project.

He also shares several ways to say No and suggests it is important to understand when and where each flavor of no is appropriate:

  • No, this doesn’t fit our priorities. 
  • No, only if we have time. 
  • No, only if you make <insert impossible thing here> happen. 
  • No. Next release. 
  • No. Never. Ever. Really.
I’m often amazed at how rarely lawyers work with their clients to set the key priorities for each matter they’re handling.  Having the priority-setting conversation at the beginning of each matter will make the management of that matter go much more smoothly — especially when the time comes for either the lawyer or the client to tell the other, “No.”
One Response to Project Management 101
  1. listings management
    May 9, 2012 | 10:40 pm

    Great project management tips.

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