Project Management JumpStart : The Best First Step Toward a Career in Project Management

Project Management JumpStart

Why did I choose this resource?

I chose this resource with Kevin’s help to gain more knowledge and understanding of the project management process.

What did you learn from it?

I learned the phases of a project, from deciding to take on a project to closing and sign-offs; and why each step is important. I also learned why communication is one of the most important skills of a project manager and the guidelines to having great communication.

Key Knowledge

  • 5 Phases of a Project
    • Initiating –
      • Establish criteria for selecting a project
      • Identify project goals, project manager, project charter, and sign-off.
    • Planning
      • Define deliverables and draft statement of work
      • Set a budget, schedule activities, and identify resources
    • Executing
      • Create and instruct project team
      • Secure resources, review status, establish communication, manage progress
    • Monitoring and Controlling
      • Evaluate performance
      • Keep the project on track and on time
      • Consider requests for project changes
    • Closing
      • Authorize deliverables
      • Record lessons learned
      • Archive, close books, and release resources
  • Top 3 Constraints
    • Time – never enough
    • Resources – availability
    • Quality – Relaxed vs. strict
  • A project is not a success until the client is satisfied
  • Most important skill for a project manager to have is outstanding communication
  • 10 Guidelines for Great Communication
    • Minimize “noise” – Give out only necessary information
    • Use e-mail efficiently – short and to the point
    • Paraphrase – Repeat information back so you know you heard it correctly
    • Ask questions – Show you are listening
    • Keep voice-mail messages short and clear – repeat phone numbers
    • Pay Attention – eradicate disturbances
    • Listen actively – Use body language to show you are listening
    • Avoid jargon – Use plain language. “Start by telling you audience what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, and then tell them what you told them.”
    • Use more than one medium – Voice, writing, pictures, and recordings
    • Be patient
  • When choosing to accept a project, criteria to be considered are cost, risk, and business strategy.
  • Once a project is chosen, a Project Charter is created:
    • “Statement of work (SOW)” – Defines direction of project
    • “Project scope description” – Defines boundaries
    • “Strategic plan” – Explains how project aligns with the organizations strategy
    • “Project overview” – Reason for project and its goals
    • “Project objectives” – Project achievements; should be “SMART” (specific, measurable, accurate, realistic, and time-bound)
    • “Requirements” – Identify deliverables; should also be “SMART”
    • “Business justification” – Recap of reason for the project
    • “Resource and cost estimates” – preliminary at this point
    • “Roles and responsibilities” – Assign specific task to workers
    • “Sign-off” – Signatures of major project participants
    • “Attachments” – Anything else required to make the project terms clear
  • “Program Evaluation and Review Technique PERT” –
    • Can be used to establish how long tasks will take
    • Make 3 estimates:
      • Optimistic
      • Likely
      • Pessimistic
    • Use estimates and statistics to graph the duration of a project
  • List all necessary resources, human and otherwise, to create an inventory. Use this information to see what else is required to complete the project.
  • Know the purchasing policy for the organization; determines make-or-buy decisions
  • Calculate probability of risks and decide what action to take; accept, avoid, transfer, or mitigate.
  • Build in buffers of time and money; keep them sensible! May hurt credibility.
  • Change Management Plan – 3 Commandments
    • Document ALL requests for change
    • Do not stray from the organization’s change management process; deny a request if it does not agree with the process.
    • Be mindful that changes to budget, schedule, and quality usually affect each other.
  • Signs a project may have to be abandoned
    • Poor planning
    • Excessive change requests
    • Delays and budget cuts made without adjusting the project accordingly
  • Closing a project
    • Document everything in a project “journal” including mistakes and what was learned
    • Finalize contracts and have all major parties sign-off that the project is completed
    • Distribute a questionnaire to clients and staff for feedback

How are you using what you learned?

I am using what I learned to improve and expand the project management outline I have already created.  I am also trying to use the guidelines for communication in every conversation I hold to improve my own communication skills.

Key Changes / Key Actions

  • Add kaizen feedback from clients and employees/contractors to project folders.
  • Review kaizen feedback periodically through the project to make improvements.


  • Name : Project Management JumpStart
  • Author : Kim Heldman
  • Link to Book

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