Four helpful tips for the lone project manager

Mark your milestones

You don’t know how much driving is left without seeing the distance markers on the road, do you? Neglecting the fact that current technologies allows you to do just that on your phones, driving through the project management path needs milestones to understand how much you have done and how much you have left.

Many project managers would whip out their Gantt charts and progress reports. Maybe you are a MS Project guru and want to schedule everything. For most projects, unless the client really demands it, the time spent on making time schedules is a form of micro management. Some might argue that this is project management blasphemy. Given that historically time management was all about making a Gantt chart schedule, I can understand why many people would follow this school of thought. Making time schedules is important, in really complex projects, involving lot of people. But when there is only one person involved, is it really necessary to check whether yourself as a resource is constrained and to level the work so that you are not required to work overtime? To me that is once again, micro management and well… stupid. Given the scope of the project a single person can do, it is not necessary to show how Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) items amounting to less than 10 relate to one another. What is more important, for you and the client, is the milestones.

Milestones are helpful marking the progress of the project, as long as they are not mundane, such as having only two milestones “Project has started” and “Project has ended”. They need to be descriptive, mark an achievement so that both you and the client can be happy about achieving it, and most importantly they need to be spread out evenly through out the project.

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