My first day as a project manager

The project manager is a sought-after profession that attracts many young professionals and experienced professionals. In this article, we share an example of the first working day of a project manager in a small company. The ideas were written by a true student majoring in project management.

To begin with, the conversation we will have with my new boss will be about what he expects from me, how he imagines things and my role in them, what is his preferred way of communication, ie the topics with which to get an idea of ​​the environment. in which I will work, the management approach that I will meet and I will assure him that after getting acquainted with the projects they have worked on, their teams and managers, as well as the new project that is coming, I will offer him the best option for the organization of the project and everything related to it – communication, documentation, reports, etc. and the form in which they will be maintained. Reference: “A new project manager joins the team and projects of the organization“,

I will assure him that we will make joint efforts because we have a common goal and it is for the customer to be satisfied and the company to make a profit.

Why would I approach like that? I am new to the company, I have yet to build trust and it is good to give the impression that I know what I am doing, but without demonstrating superiority, disapproval of their current model and way of working or disregard, even less need to overwhelm the boss with terms, requirements for documents and others of the kind. There is a time and place for everything.

The company is also small, apparently, they didn’t have a project manager until now and probably didn’t need one. But now they have decided that the project is too important or that the projects have become too many and can not cope with their current organization and need help, but this does not mean that they did everything wrong and now we will stop all practices until here, we will sweep away everything and impose a new order. It would only bring stress and distrust to me.

My actions as a project manager

For a start, it is good to orient me in the subject of my activity – the company’s projects.
I will find out how many and on which projects they generally work in the company. Are their clients regular or different?
I will find out what, how much and when they were made.

I will hope that there will be some, albeit minimal, documentation (because the size of the company does not imply that they have complete and thorough, but they should still have basic). This will give me an idea of ​​the volume of projects, the way of reporting maintained, the mode of communication, and what documentation they maintained. In the worst case, none of this will exist, there will be only technical documentation and I will have to learn about all of the above from the team leaders who worked on the projects. Reference:

That is, I want to know where I am, what I will work with, and I am attitude to the organization of projects.

Presentation to the team leaders

Armed with some idea of ​​the activity, it’s time to introduce myself to the team leaders and find out how they communicate with each other, what way of work and communication they prefer, what, how, and why they document and what not, and why. How to communicate with the client, how to decide disputes with him, and in general how they have approached in each direction in previous projects.

It takes a lot of kindness, a sense of positive attitude, respect and respect, attention to detail, and the mood and attitude of people because the goal is to find out what they are proud of, what bothers them, what they want to change, what they lack and what they would like made it easier for them.

In general, this information will help me build a project management structure that is best suited to the way teams work, facilitating them and at the same time providing the necessary documentation and support structure of processes, rules, and good practices to ensure the success of the project. More on the topic:

Creating a project management methodology

I will prepare a proposal for a method and structure for the process of working on a project that is most effective for this type of company, the nature of the projects they work on, and aimed at the informal way of working they have.

The proposal will include the establishment and maintenance of minimum documentation that will provide clarity, a clear framework of scope, funding, and risks of the project – for example project scope, project requirements, possibly a risk plan, and costs, in which case soon with human resources.

I will praise them for the informal and effective way of holding daily meetings – who, what, how, and why, but I will note that it is good to make minutes of the meetings (I noticed the omission and they shared that they often get into disputes about what decision has been made and how they came to it) which will be very useful to them.

It would also be very useful if we bring any change in the scope or requirement of the client, which would protect us in a subsequent dispute with him are extended time or some misunderstanding in the requests.

Project management documentation

Another thing I have noticed is that they do not have documentation, even elementary, of the result of quality control at the final stage of application, which leads to disputes and unpleasant situations in front of the client for unattended things.

I will encourage them to continue working directly with the client in an ongoing feedback process that they have accepted because it is effective. Communication is good to remain at a normal operational level without unnecessary and unnecessary formality, but to be timely and mandatory, say once a week in a short and clear form giving an accurate account of the work process, possible problems, or future ones.

And if I can convince them that if they take the time to write down the good software solutions they have for the next project, they will find them easily and quickly.

They are a cohesive and working team supported by their manager but need little organization of documentation and little order in reporting. It is important to convince them that everything I offer them is in their favor, not to fill their days with an endless filling of documents. I want them to know that my door is always open and I will be ready to listen to any suggestions, problems and help solve them.

They are expected to be skeptical at first, but time will tell that I have assessed my situation correctly and found the right approach. The attentive and listening approach always works positively, even when you can’t help. The other important thing is not to make empty promises, but to give support.


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Convincing other managers

It is very important to convince their manager that my proposal will improve efficiency, protect the company from risks and have a long-term effect, even improve customer confidence in them. That is, with minimal effort we will achieve a multifaceted positive effect, sometimes even unexpected. Because their leader is convinced of what I offer, the team will follow him.

And to wish each other success, for which we will work hard and tirelessly. the project, smoothness of work, the anticipation of risks, financing, and last but not least a good set of documents useful in the next project.

Now is the hardest part, because it depends on how they will accept my ideas and mine and whether things will go “by water” from now on or not.


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