I was recently handed a new project. It was like holding a baby, so delicate and filled with countless possibilities. My project management passion flared up and I started geeking out.
New documents? New budgets? New team members? New information?
OMG Workplans! Yessss I can make gantt charts again! Ouuu productive meetings!
New projects feel like fresh air after heavy rainfall. I get a sense of renewal and excitement at what could grow.
Before I start, I prepare by looking at similar projects and ask tough questions - essentially auditing a similar project and using it as a benchmark for my current endeavor.
I want to do as much as I can to prevent potential issues popping up out of nowhere because I didn't ask other experienced PMs about the lessons they learned about a project that is similar to mine. I can prepare in advance and learn from other people's mistakes.
Below are some of the questions I've asked other project managers in regards to their closed projects:
- What were the biggest headaches with the project you supported?
- If you could do it again, what aspects would you change?
- How did you deal with team members that stopped communicating?
- How much did planning help with the project?
- What last minute surprises occurred that threw you off guard?
- What were some great outcomes of the project?