Planning Never Gets Old for Project Managers

I manage projects, for my own clients and select agencies.  Project management just comes with the job when you’re an in-house marketer, which is what I was before starting my own gig. Aside from taking an e-learning course once, attending a PMI meeting as a guest, hanging out with Phoenix Digital PMs, and listening to a PMP training CD just for fun, I don’t have DEEP “textbook” training. Fortunately, when it comes to project management for microbusinesses or even some large agency clients,  hands-on experience trumps systematic understanding of theoretical underpinnings and their application. IMHO. After all, we are usually working with others who also do not have Project Management certifications.

planning project management
Thowing knowledge at a project and using trial and error is sometimes the way to go.

At one point in the CD, the instructor Phil Akinwale says something like “throwing everything you’ve got in terms of skills and knowledge at a project.” And that leads me to the #30DaysofQ2 challenge for today: Additional Planning. (If you are a PMP, you might want to sit down here. We are not big enough to even consider contingency planning.)

What do I mean by “additional planning?” You might think there’s only one plan–we make it, we implement it. Sometimes our projects are so fast-paced or varied or our environments lack refined processes and tools so we must “wing it” instead of rely on one plan. (Not an ideal situation, but an honest one.) And even when we may have a “plan” that often deviates from the holy grail defined by PMI, sometimes it doesn’t stick. Meaning the stakeholders and resources aren’t necessarily taking responsibility and following through. So we have to throw what we’ve got at it. In my case, that means reconstructing the plan. Re-formatting it. Adding specificity where there wasn’t enough. Making it simpler or presenting a simpler view based on users. That’s why I say planning doesn’t get old.

Planning is a good investment and Q2 activity upfront, yes. But when it doesn’t turn out that way or we’re not getting the responsiveness we need, we have to re-insert planning into the process. And embrace the trial-and-error that sometimes is.

Are you a solo project manager or working with a small team? How is project management and planning different for you vs. a corporate role?