Milestones in Mirror are Closer Than They Appear
At the end of the calendar year, a common conversational topic is "how fast time passes." No one has an appreciation for how fast time passes more than a project manager with a tight schedule. Milestones that seemed far away when the project started seem to be accelerating towards you. Because we tend to immediately forget past accomplishments and their significance, milestones that have been completed seem like ancient history.
You can take a breath to acknowledge achievements!
Always take the opportunity to remind yourself and the team of accomplishments, challenges overcome and milestones completed. Take some time to celebrate and acknowledge achievement of the milestone. This helps to build confidence and serves to relieve the seemingly constant pressure of the next project milestone.
Schedule pre-milestone reviews!
You will find it valuable to schedule pre-milestone reviews ahead of the milestone to ensure there are no surprises or hidden issues that may prevent achievement of the milestone. These reviews are typically scheduled two to four weeks in front of the milestone completion date The situation may dictate a formal team review or you may informally meet individually with team members. By putting this on the schedule it minimizes the "nagging" perception when you follow up…just like a good"nagging" project manager should.
2008 to 2009 is a big milestone!
Some say the holiday season is depressing. Could it be depressing for some because it is a time of assessment? The change over of the calendar, from one year to another, even though it is just another day, causes people to assess themselves. This assessment is good for them and for those companies that sell fitness equipment.
So…just in case you haven't explicitly asked yourself, "How well did you do as a project manager or team member this year?" Evaluate how well you did: 1. From your own internal feelings; 2. From metrics and 3. By asking your key stakeholders. Analyze the variance among these three indicators. If you don't have metrics to assess your performance, have them for next year.
Commit to get better!
o Were you a better project manager in 2008 than you were in 2007?
o Was your organization better at project management in 2008 than 2007?
o What goal or capability do you have in 2008 that you didn't have in 2007?
I challenge you to set goals to achieve in 2009 related to the questions above. Answer the questions ahead of time! Remember in project management, requirements that are not written down are not really requirements and certainly not managed properly. The same applies for goals! If you do not take the time to visualize your goal and write it down, you are limiting (more likely eliminating) your ability to achieve it.
All the best to you and yours this Holiday Season!
Dr. James T. Brown PMP PE CSP
Copyright 2008 SEBA Solutions Inc.