Lessons Learned in Project Management

Johanna Rothman, Rothman Consulting Group, Inc.

You've managed projects, but they're never easy. They don't fit into the nice definitions found in project management books. Your schedules are generally off. There are always unkind surprises. Although you're not failing, you feel you could be more successful. There is a solution. Based on her many years of consulting with large and small software teams, Johanna Rothman coaches leaders to take a more pragmatic approach. Employ mini-projects and iterations to explore alternative technologies. Use incremental steps to finish features one at a time when you don't know how far along you are. Make sure stakeholders agree on what "done" really means. Learn how to escape the dreaded trap of "multi-tasking," a management style that drains energy from everyone whenever there is a task switch. One final secret every project manager must discover: There is no "one right way" to manage a project. Everything depends on context—the company and its products, the technology employed, the people on your team, and you. If you can learn to keep everything in balance, you will have a successful project. Let something get out of whack, and you can kiss all your hard work goodbye.

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