50 Quick Tips for Project Management

Jim Hurst, a long-time reader, reached out to share his top tips for project management and his list of things he wishes to remember to help him do better at his job.
He said, “I’ve realized that I won’t be able to manage project projects properly but that I am a better PM because of that knowledge and being reflective.”
These suggestions are very relatable to me (and I love any reference to NCIS). I see a lot 46! I hope you do, too. Jim, thank you for sharing the list.
Jim’s Golden Rules of Project Management (based upon Gibbs, NCIS): “He who herds cat”
Communication is essential – communicate, communicate and communicate.
A plan is essential.
EVIDENCE – “CSI Project Management”
Project MANAGE, don’t Project DO = doomed!
Never assume anything = Project kryptonite.
Always check, check, and check again. People often forget.
Don’t wait. Set an example and follow it.
Reflection is important, even if you don’t know anyone else.
Be wary of grinning salesmen. Don’t be fooled by them!
Third parties should be able to give you a quote/date.
Accept that sometimes you might be wrong and accept it.
The rule of 5 W’s: Why, why?, why, and why.
Any overspends must be discussed upfront.
AGNOSTIC Project methodology, best of breed
Write down minutes/actions as soon after the meeting as possible. Or, forget.
Meetups should be booked at least three months in advance.
You can view all booked meetings, rooms, and attendees.
Keep in mind the feedback from historic projects.
You will be somewhere in between Balcony and the Dance Floor. In other words, you will be a helicopter project manager.
Manage the Meeting – One person speaking/watching the clock.
Always take the time to listen and empathize.
Prepare for “semper paretus”.
Don’t waste your time, a PM’s job never ends.
Do not put it off for tomorrow! Get started today!
It is your job as a leader to help people succeed.
“You can lead a horse into water, but it’s not possible to make it drink.”
You won’t waste your time later if you can’t find what you need.
Never stop learning.
You are not as smart as you think.
Concentrate on the important things – rule of 80/20
It is not a cost to say “well done, thankyou” – literally.
Keep your eyes on the goal. Don’t get distracted.
No surprises are allowed. There are no black holes.
Voltaire: Perfect is the enemy good.
Contracts are time well-spent!
Do not underestimate the importance of the ‘Architect’ – BA role.
Or you’ll be chased!
R Kipling: If you can keep your head up while everyone around you is losing theirs, you are able to keep your head.
To hold the course, trust yourself, your project and experience to date.
Before meeting, get confirmation of minutes and actions.
“If you don’t plan it, you can’t control.”
Keep your eyes peeled for the prize/ball!
Best case scenario does not exist.
“The 411” or just the facts: Who, what?, where?, when?, how and why.
Find out the WIIFM (or whiff em) – What’s in it?
It is impossible to complete a task until it is completed. Avoid 90% syndrome.
If everything is under control then you can go up a gear.
It’s easy for people to see things, but it’s harder to predict.
Ask for help. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to ask.
A project manager can only be as good as the team he/she works with. You can trust their experience and skills.
A bonus quote:
Miss Piggy: “Never eat more food than you can lift.”
These tips: How to use them
This is a long list, and you may be wondering how to put these quick tips into practice. These tips are more like mantras to me. They are things I repeat to myself or to remind my team when things aren’t going my way.
You could print the list or write down some of your favorite quotes and then refer to them on a daily basis.
Another of my favorite tips is – Smooth seas don’t make a good sailor. This sticker is on the front cover of my notebook. It reminds me that even when things get tough, I am always learning.