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Lessons Learned for Project Managers – Part VII (#7 in the series 128 Lessons Learned for Project Managers)
By Jerry Madden

  1. We have developed a set of people whose self interest is more paramount than the work or at least it appears so to older managers. It appears to the older managers that the newer ones are more interested in form than in substance. The question is are old managers right or just old.
  2. One problem new managers face is that everyone wants to solve their problems. Old managers were told by senior management — “solve your damn problems; that is what we hired you to do.”
  3. Remember, it is often easier to do foolish paperwork than to fight the need for it. Fight only if it is a global issue which will save much future work.
  4. Know your management — some like a good joke; others only like a joke if they tell it.
  5. Integrity means your subordinates trust you.
  6. You cannot watch everything. What you can watch is the people. They have to know you will not accept a poor job.
  7. Next year is always the year with adequate funding and schedule — next year arrives on the 50th year of your career.
  8. The first sign of trouble comes from the schedule or the cost curve. Engineers are the last to know they are in trouble. Engineers are born optimists.
  9. External reviews are scheduled at the worst possible time: therefore, keep an up-to-date set of technical data so that you can rapidly respond. Having to update business data should be cause for dismissal.
  10. Hide nothing from the reviewers. Their reputation and yours is on the line. Expose all the warts and pimples. Don’t offer excuses — just state facts.

Reprinted with permission from NASA. This article first appeared in NASA’s ASK Magazine, the NASA source for Project Management and Engineering Excellence.

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