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20 Best Practices for Project Managers
By Michael Greer

  1. Hire the best, most experienced people you can.
  2. Encourage team members to speak up and make themselves heard when they see something’s going wrong.
  3. Do any menial work that’s needed to keep your team moving.
  4. Know your project life cycle cold.
  5. Continually sell the value of your project’s systematic, iterative life cycle to sponsors and stakeholders.
  6. Don’t let your sponsors get out of making the tough decisions.
  7. Always create some sort of blueprint, design, flowchart, system specifications, outline, or other detailed “on paper” description of your finished product before you build the real thing.
  8. Make sure your sponsors provide or, at the very least, approve all the experts on the team.
  9. Protect your project team members.
  10. Fight for enough time to do things right.
  11. Know when to give in.
  12. Understand that the brain is a physical mechanism that needs to be rested to work properly.
  13. Stay humble about your PM. And accept this in your heart: PM is overhead.
  14. Step into the fear.
  15. Be on the lookout for team members who are in pain and help them find ways to eliminate it.
  16. Think of yourself as a switchboard.
  17. Fight for what’s right.
  18. Insist that the sponsor (customer) sign off and approve deliverables as they are evolving.
  19. Develop a sense of humor and a “willful suspension of disbelief.”
  20. Plan, plan, and re-plan.

Michael Greer is a Project Management author and trainer whose mission is to help new project managers become more effective. Through his books, workshops, and public speaking appearances, he seeks to demystify the field of project management (PM) and make it accessible to newcomers. His website can be found at http://michaelgreer.com. You can follow Michael via twitter.

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