Being a Project Manager

It seems any one can become a self proclaimed internet project manager. It really isn’t so, but if you choose to try your lucky anyway here’s a bunch of tips and insights, which may help you along.

Step one) Know thy domain

Being a project manager requires some domain knowledge. Not always deep insights, but a basic understanding of the elements you encounter – what’s a web browser, what’s DNS, how does HTML look like (raw, unrendered) and so on. To be a capable project manager you must be able to “speak the language”.

If you don’t you don’t know if your project is under control (and all bases are covered) and you wont hear the alarms until your project is code red because you quite possible don’t understand the implications of the participants are reporting on problems and progress.

Step Two) Mind the people

Forget about “all men are created equal”. Everyone is different, and to manage your project, you need to mind the people. Figure out how people work most efficient and try to adapt the tasks and events within and around your project to support that.

Some need much attention and feedback – others like to dig themselves in a dark cave and work there. Some need (or crave) information on what others do and some just ant to focus on their tasks in the project.

Don’t force your ideas on how to work on people but use some time in the beginning to figure out how the project group work together best.

Step Three) Know what you want, need and wish for

Most people can make a few mock-ups of a future website, but hardly any seem to think it through – and beyond the user interface. Does the website use data from external sources, how do we manage content on the site, how many users do we expect (especially during rush hours) and so on.

When you have a complete image of what the project should do – prioritize. What’s the basic core, what’s optional and what’s nice but not necessary? Choosing what technical design is the best fit and where to focus the efforts requires input, and the project manager should mind the resources are used the right places.

Step Four) Master Meetings

Some project managers believe that work on the project happens on meetings. Remember this: It doesn’t. Meetings is a nice way to coordinate and make decisions – any meeting should have clearly stated goals (decision actions) and only require that those people providing actual input to the decision are present.

If you chose to have daily “status meetings” to share information within the project between all participants – make it a standing meeting.

Step Five) Manage information

Use email, wikis or other available sources to share information with the project – make it available, but don’t force to people during meetings. Information should be available – when people actually needed – not stuffed in their heads during meetings.

Much more…

There are loads of other advice on project management available everywhere on the net, but managing the five areas above should get you started in the right decision straight way.