But wait, I’m not a Project Manager
Your boss just put you in charge of leading a project – Congratulations! However, you have a couple of concerns. The first, you aren’t a project manager, and second, you already have a full time job. Don’t panic, here are 3 must-dos to make sure the project is a success.
#1- What is this project all about?
Meet with your boss to understand exactly what the project is all about. Make sure you leave with a mutual understanding of what the scope of the project is – that is, the work that needs to be done to deliver the product of the project, and what success looks like. You’ll need to understand what the project’s priority is and how this additional responsibility will affect your current role, workload, and priorities. Find out who’s on your project team, what are the timelines, what additional resources are available, and what’s the project budget. In addition to discussing your priorities and workload, establish what’s expected of you from your boss, and what you expect and need from your boss. You may need to relinquish some of your day-to-day responsibilities to devote time to the project. By having a productive meeting with your boss and getting the answers to your questions and concerns, you will have a solid understanding of what to do next.
#2 – Develop the project plan
You need to develop a project plan. Convene your team members to develop the plan. Please take a moment and reread that last sentence. It will be very tempting to go ahead and develop the project plan on your own. Resist. Resist for a couple of reasons. One, include the team because they will be completing the work and are the subject matter experts. Two, it’s a great team-building exercise and ensures buy-in and understanding of the plan. So, with your team, determine all major deliverables of the project, break them down further into the tasks associated with achieving the deliverable, the timeline for the tasks, and responsibilities. Depending on the size and complexity of the project, the use of MS Excel or Google Sheets might do the trick. Transfer the deliverables, tasks, timelines, and responsibilities into the spreadsheet as this will allow you to monitor and control the project throughout the project execution.
#3 – Schedule project management success
Determine your own personal, project management schedule. Right from the start schedule when, and how long you will devote to managing the project. Remember, this is not your primary responsibility but it is your responsibility. So, set your schedule. A good rule of thumb is to set aside an hour first thing in the morning to review your plan and develop your task or checklists. To do this you’ll want to see what actions you will need to take that day to ensure the delivery of the project – are there communications to team members you need, updates to other stakeholders? Are there changes you need to evaluate and approve, or deny, do you need additional resources? This is your time to check in and see how the project’s scope, budget, and timelines are coming along, and what you have to do to ensure the success of the project.
You’re not a project manager but you’re running a project. If you’re looking for a successful outcome, make sure you know the lay of the land and you and your boss are on the same page, you have a solid plan, and you schedule the appropriate time to manage the project. Good luck with your project.