The Project Plan Blog

How to Think Strategically as a Project Manager

Project managers spend a lot of time in the weeds. They are down in the dirt, getting their hands messy and pushing the project forward. Sometimes, however, opportunities present themselves that should cause a project manager to back away from the details and start looking at the bigger picture. The following article shows why it can be challenging to do that, as well as provides suggestions on how you can think strategically as a project manager.  If you are doing your job right as a project manager, you’ll be asked to take on more and more responsibility as time progresses. Eventually...

4 Ways You Can Turn Drive Time into Thrive Time

Do you have a long commute each day? If you typically dread the hours spent looking at the sea of red lights ahead of you, below are four ways to convert boring drive time into something a whole lot more productive. Traffic stinks. If you live near any decently-sized city and have to commute into work each day, that’s the tune you’re going to hear on the radio nearly every morning. Unfortunately, dealing with traffic is the price you pay if you want to be able to afford what it costs to take care of yourself, your family, and your future. If you stop and think about the amount of tim...

Advice to Somebody Who Wants to Become a Project Manager

We all have choices to make. These choices range from what we are going to wear in the morning or have for breakfast to what career we’re going to build. The following article provides some advice if you are looking to make the switch into the project management profession. What you have for breakfast is up to you! A mid-life crisis can happen to the best of us, and although no finite age is attached to one, it typically occurs between the ages of 40 and 50, if it is going to occur. What is a mid-life crisis? It’s when a person, usually successful, takes a look in the mirror and asks th...

Did You Know You Are Sitting in Project Management Exit Row?

Most projects run smoothly and come close to their deadline, budget, and meet the original scope. But, there are times when the ride can get a bit bumpy. The following article will provide some lessons from sitting in the exit row of an airplane to help your most troubled projects land smoothly. I like plenty of leg room on an airplane flight. My flights are usually short jaunts, nothing more than an hour or two in duration, so it’s hard to justify spending the hundreds of extra dollars the airlines want for first class. Instead, I go for the next best thing…an exit row. On one particul...

How Many Project Management Crutches Do You Have?

Are there things you lean on as a project manager to help get you through the day? Sure, we all need our cup of coffee or morning routine, but are there crutches that could prove harmful to your career? The following considers four areas that project managers tend to lean on too heavily to give them credibility, and what you can do to restore your balance! The following is an utterly unscientific generalization, but it’s my conclusion after years of observing project managers. I call it the Law of the Laptop Bag. Ready? Here it is: The size of a project manager’s laptop bag is directly i...

10 Ways to Tick Off Your Project Team

Do you tick off your team? Of course not, you may say. What you may not know is that you upset team members without even knowing it. Take a gander at the list below, and see if you’re guilty of provoking your team with any of these 10 infractions. People in relationships know how to push each other's buttons, don’t they? My friend, for example, seems to always know just the wrong thing to say to his wife in front of a group of people. I’m not sure why he does it. Maybe he’s trying to be funny, make a point, or something in between. All I know is that it doesn’t work, it isn’t fu...

Listening Skills: Why You Have Two Ears and One Mouth

Do you know what one of the greatest gifts is that you can give your team members? To listen to them closely. The challenge is that listening takes time and doesn’t come naturally to many of us. I have an elderly friend who LOVES to talk. I mean, he REALLY LOVES to talk. He’ll go on and on about things that he did when he was young, his travels and exploits, and a host of other topics. It’s all very interesting and engaging…for at least the first dozen or so times. He does one thing that does drive me crazy, however. He’ll express interest in what you are thinking by asking you...

Going South on a Northbound Escalator

We have choices to make every day as project managers. Some choices are easy and some are more complicated. What can help us make those decisions? Look at the outcome of any choice you make and then follow the natural course of events. The following story definitely fits into the category of being awkward. By the way, I’ll deny this story if anyone comes to me and asks me what happened. I’ll simply look at them and tell them I don’t know what they’re talking about… About a month ago I was walking from the parking lot of the airport to the main terminal. As usual, the first park...

Time Out

Vince Lombardi is credited with the quote “we didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time.” What a great quote! It highlights such a positive attitude and indicates that eventually, given enough time, Lombardi’s beloved Packers could have won every game. Think about how successful each of our projects would be if we didn’t have the nemesis of Time dogging us at every corner. The triple constraint of Time, Scope, and Cost would disappear. Gone would be the unforgiving triangle of these elements. When one side of the triangle moves, the other two have to move with it as well. Want...

4 Emails You Should Never Send

Email is ubiquitous in our work and personal lives. What ever did we do before it? It’s been a long time, but I do have some vague memories of what life used to be like before email. For one, I recollect making a lot more phone calls. In those days, we would step out for lunch, come back in about 45 minutes and as we passed the receptionist’s desk would look for our name on that black, slotted spinning thing that was the home for those little slips of paper titled, “While You Were Out.” The receptionist who took our calls would record the name, company, time, and the phone number of th...
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