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Chapter 5: 10 Project Management Problems and 10 Project Management Tools

Chapter 5: 10 Project Management Problems and 10 Project Management Tools

A project is like a puzzle. What is the secret to transforming an idea to reality? We use project management to unlock this puzzle.

This puzzle will be easier to solve if we break it down, and solve each component. In this chapter, we will look at 10 components of this puzzle, and we will preview their solutions—the 10 project management tools that will each be elaborated in chapters 7 to 14.

10 Project Management Problems

Here are the 10 project management problems that these tools are designed to address. Answering these will give you a snapshot of your current toolbox. This will allow you to measure its enhancement by the end of this book.

Problem 1: How do you figure out what work is needed to get a project done? How do you program your attention in proportion to their importance? The core of project management is knowing what work needs to be done to bring the idea to reality—and getting that work done.

Problem 2: How do you make sure everyone (including your future selves) is in the same page on this project?

Problem 3: How do you answer these questions: Who benefits from this project? How do they benefit from the project? Whose help do we need to deliver this project? What do we need from them?

Problem 4: 90% of a project manager's work is communication. How do you execute this?

Problem 5: How do you foresee what could go wrong? How do you identify and manage project risks?

Problem 6: How do you address these risks and how do you program your attention in proportion to the magnitude of each risk?

Problem 7: How do you systematically maximize good fortune and take advantage of the luck you receive?

Problem 8: How do you make sure you and your team are focusing on the most important matters each month, each week and each day?

Problem 9: How do you make sure each member of your project team has the capability, capacity and motivation to execute their role in the project?

Problem 10: How do you get your work done? How do you manage multiple projects in one software?

10 Project Management Solutions

In Chapter 7, we will learn how to use the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) to identify and manage project scope. The project scope is the work needed to get the project done.

In Chapter 8, we will look at the Project Charter as a tool for aligning the project vision, challenges and responsibilities with your team, your stakeholders and your future selves.

In Chapter 9, we will solve problems 3 and 4 with Stakeholder Analysis and the Communications Plan.

In Chapter 10, we will lessen the chances of project failure with the Risk Breakdown Structure (RBS) and the Risk Register.

In Chapter 11, we will remedy the blindspot of most project management frameworks by Designing Serendipity for our projects.

In Chapter 12, we will learn about using the Project Schedule to program our attention and our team's attention across different time horizons.

Whether you work alone or with a team, it is people that will do the work to get the project done. We will look at frameworks for Team Leadership in Chapter 13.

Since Getting Things Done (GTD) didn't work for me, I came up with a task management system which I call Project-Driven Stallion-Rider Productivity. I share this in Chapter 14.

These PM tools are of different levels of importance. This is how I think about it:

What software are best used for each of these project management tools? Which of them are best suited for Tools for Thought? We will answer these questions in the next chapter.


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