Project managers crave successful software projects. They dream of crossing the finish line with a win. Project managers want to help their company and advance their career. Let's look at three powerful questions to help you identify lessons learned.
Unfortunately, some project managers fall into a rut and fail to make progress. These individuals do the same things from one project to another project and expect a different result. They take the wrong actions, pursue the wrong things and operate under wrong assumptions.
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." —Albert Einstein
Some of these mistakes are understandable. Project managers deliver their projects hastily due to excessive pressure from management. Other project managers have no one to coach them and help them identify ways to improve.
Regardless of whether you are new to project management or you have been managing projects for a decade or longer, use these three simple questions to improve project results. These questions may be used in one or more of the following points in your projects:
Involve your project team and key stakeholders when asking these questions.
When evaluating projects, we often look at the negative aspects. Be sure to focus on the positive things and ask this question first. Even if your project was a failure, you and your team were likely doing certain things well.
After capturing the positive elements, the project manager may proceed with what did not go well. The project manager should be careful when facilitating this discussion. Focus on the process rather than the people.
The project manager may say, "Let's turn our attention to what did not go well in the project. Specifically, let's identify process issues."
Once you've discussed questions #1 and #2, you will find the question #3 easier to answer. This question is where the rubber meets the road. The answers to this question can improve results for your future projects.
On the positive side, identify things you've done before that you wish to continue. On the negative side, identify things you wish to avoid or reduce. What proactive things can you do earlier in the project that will reduce your overall effort and yet improve your results?
Want more project wins? Stop the insanity. Change your mind. Change your behavior. However difficult, review and evaluate your projects systematically. Implement the lessons learned in your subsequent efforts and watch your success rate improve.
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