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I'm relatively new to the industry and have spent the last year or so as a project COORDINATOR, helping out the project managers with their various contracts, billings, and assisting in any way that they need help.

A couple weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to manage my own project... a redesign of our mobile website

Any suggestions, tips or advice on how I can succeed in completing this project on-time and in a manner that would help me get promoted to a project manager full time?

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    Hi, welcome to PMSE, the Q&A site for expert and enthusiast project managers. Your question is pretty broad and is likely to get very generic answers. Consider editing it with the specifics and details of your specific project. Every project is different, and specific, targeted questions about real problems you're facing are likely to get the best answers. Check out the FAQ for more information. Again, welcome to PMSE! – jmort253 Feb 25 '12 at 3:27
  • I wouldn't worry about the promotion just yet. That might be a carrot only to keep you motivated. Instead try to do the best possible job on your current project. I agree with jmort253 that your question is very broad. In my experience there are no silver bullet to project management. Being able to use one's brain and a very positive attitude to learning are certainly two ingredients that should help in almost all situations including becoming a successful PM. Good luck! – Manfred Feb 25 '12 at 5:18
  • I suggest the question thread on the "What are the 3 best pieces of advice" for some really strong ideas. A lot of good ideas have been offered there, with some stong themes coming out of the many answers offered. – Joel Bancroft-Connors Feb 27 '12 at 6:20
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You have been managing projects since you were a kid. When in doubt, don't. Document it or it didn't happen. Support your team. Escalating risks and issues is a good thing; hiding them, bad. Communicate (listen more than talk). On time and within budget mean less than you think. You will NEVER have all the information you need to make your decision, so build a cogent argument with what you have and stand proudly behind it. Success is a terrible teacher, so don't be afraid to be wrong. Delegate success to the team but own a failure. Listen to your team, but the decision is yours. Get comfortable with the notion that you have real control over about 10% of the variables affecting your project. Plans are nothing, planning is everything (Eisenhower). When things start to feel out of control, they are. So stop what you are doing, take two steps back, and start again. If a choice is not working out, abandon it (success, bad teacher); do not chase sunk costs. Replan and go again.

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Without getting too into the details, some generic thoughts...

1) Document and Communicate. Repeat. If the PM doesn't, it won't happen.

2) Put yourself in everyone else's shoes - the user, the developer, the buyer, the manager... They have different agendas. Your job is to resolve this.

3) Keep the end in mind. Keep everyone focused on why they're there, and for every task, ask, "How does this support our goal?"

4) Force issues to be confronted and resolved.

5) Learn, Learn, Learn.... Learn the domain, learn the technology, learn PM techniques.

6) Have a thick skin. Be willing to accept blame even when it might not be yours. Be willing to give away the credit, even when it's rightfully yours. If you do the job well, people might even question why a PM was needed, since everything was so organized.

Good luck!

  • One addendum... Find a good mentor too. Most of what I've learned about PM judgment came from mentors. It's better to learn from them than the school of hard knocks. – MathAttack Feb 25 '12 at 21:15
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Quick advice is to make sure you understand what corners of the "iron triangle" are really be held by the business.

You say schedule, which means you have people and scope to manage, but I usually assume whatever people you have is what you get, which means you really need to make sure that you are set up to manage the scope. Focus on pushing through highest priority features first. Don't end up at the end with 100% of your features, 80% done, instead have 80% of your features, 100% done. Don't get stuff assuming you can fix cost, time and scope.

You didn't mention what type of development approach you use, but many people use Agile techniques for this very reason of scope management.

Good luck.

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How to complete the project on time: Plan, plan, and plan again. Listen to people with more experience that you have, assess their advice, and act upon it. Communicate the plans and give clear (documented) requirements to the technical resources that you have available. Never hide bad news, but re-plan and offer solutions and alternatives, including changing (reducing?) scope, delivering the project in phases, extending the duration, or increasing the resources (but be aware that increasing resources is often counter-productive).

How to get promoted to PM: Deliver this first project, and maybe a second one if you have the opportunity, then you have a track record and can make a case for promotion. Don't chase promotion until you are ready for it - and don't align everything you do to achieving promotion, because that will not help your project, and hence will not help your case. Be great at what you do, and do the right things to deliver your project (and especially to deliver the benefits that it will bring to your employer). That will get you noticed in a good way, and make it an easy decision to promote you to PM.

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Do not go too fast. Step by step. You have a chance to prove you abilities; to show you can be trustworthy. Focus on your project, do not count hours. The key of your success is an efficient way of communicating with your team members. Built a team spirit. If you make some mistakes or slitly go over budget; but everybody had a great experience, that is a very good point for you. If you have a major problem for example not meeting the deadlines, go see your manager to propose a new an innovating solution or just to take his advices. The fact that you ask the question on how to do it, is a very good sign.

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