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Lessons Learned for Project Managers – Part XIII (#13 in the series 128 Lessons Learned for Project Managers)
By Jerry Madden

  1. There is only one solution to a weak project manager in industry — get rid of him fast. The main job of a project manager in industry is to keep the customer happy. Make sure the one working with you knows that “on schedule, on cost, and a good product” — not flattery — is all that makes you happy.
  2. Talk is not cheap. The best way to understand a personnel or technical problem is to talk to the right people. Lack of talk at the right levels is deadly.
  3. Projects require teamwork to succeed. Remember most teams have a coach and not a boss, but the coach still has to call some of the plays.
  4. In the rush to get things done, it is always important to remember who you work for. Blindsiding the boss will not be to your benefit in the long run. Over-engineering is common. Engineers like puzzles and mazes — try to make them keep their designs simple.
  5. Never make a decision from a cartoon. Look at the actual hardware or what real information is available, such as layouts. Too much time is wasted by people trying to cure a cartoon whose function is to explain the principle.

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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