The 30-minute Project Manager
It is a fact that many people in the workforce manage projects, but not as project managers. In fact, all of us manage projects at some level. Some of us work from home, others at work…some good, some really, truly terrible. What do you do when you have to manage a project, but don’t have the time or energy to do it? Keep reading, workforce warriors, to learn how you can keep everything moving smoothly with only 30 minutes per day. You will be a great project manager if you put aside a few hours at the start of your project. These recommendations will require some time investment upfront, but not much weekly time suckage.
Early Project Management
No matter how you look at the situation, any project that is new will require a time investment. You’ll be able to put aside a few hours each week to organize your project details and align your team and clients.
Discuss the project goals with your clients and team members. What are the expected results? What are the obstacles? How will you all work together to complete the project within the budget and scope? An in-depth conversation can help you establish expectations about your project goals, team and individual responsibilities as well as deadlines, milestones and requirements. The Guide to Project Management will help you gather the information you need. Make sure to distill the stakeholder questions into a meeting agenda. Once you have the information you need, agree on a schedule and get the ball rolling.
Weekly Project Management Tasks
Once you have your project house in order you will be able to facilitate a smooth process and keep track of important information such as communications, deliverables and timelines. If you have only 30 minutes per week, you will need to be vigilant about the following:
Keep up to date with project progress
Time Required: 10 minutes per day
You should be able check in on your team’s progress throughout the week if you have a plan for the project’s execution and your team has understood their responsibilities. Understanding and knowing the people behind the tasks is what’s most important when managing projects. Communicate with care, understand the team’s challenges, and don’t take anything for granted. You can offer your assistance when you can and encourage discussion about problems when you cannot. You want to make sure that the deliverable is on time and at the quality you expect. You also need to be “in the loop” about any details that may be relevant to those deliverables, even though it may be at a high-level.
It is easy to keep in touch with your team by organizing the team to give quick status updates. This could be done in a 10-minute standup meeting or online (so setting up a Slack channel can facilitate quick, meaningful conversations and collaboration), as well as a mid-week meeting where details are discussed among the team. Do what makes you feel comfortable and what will make your team feel supported. Your time is not an excuse for your team to feel supported. Sometimes, you may need to take extra time to ensure that everyone is happy about the work and your role in the project.
Many check-in meetings leave you with multiple tasks or issues that need to get done. If you can address them in your meeting then great! If they are larger than you expected, you will need to take extra time to sort them. To ensure things get resolved, you might need to reprioritize your to-do lists. It doesn’t matter.