Advice for Junior PMs – #7 – Keep your lessons close at hand

As a junior PM, you likely haven’t managed that many projects (call it less than 10 for argument’s sake).  As you go through these first few projects, it’s fairly easy to remember what the project was about, when risks became issues, and all of the lessons that the team learned.

However, as you get into more projects, the early ones start to blur together, the lessons you have learned start to evaporate, and you cannot remember which SME was responsible for which area.  This becomes especially problematic when you are asked to work on a project like one that you had worked on previously, and the only thing that you can remember about the project is that you wore brown shoes to that one meeting…

This is not uncommon; in fact, it’s to be expected.  Your current project will have tonnes of risks and issues appearing that need to be managed, a schedule that you need to keep front of mind, and a scope statement that you need to have memorized to recite in an elevator should the opportunity arrive.

You should see where I am going by now.  As a Junior PM, it’s a worthwhile pursuit to take time throughout your project to record what you are doing and the lessons that you have learned.

Some things to include:

  • Project Scope
  • Dates for Major Deliverable
  • What technology/product you were implementing, and what you learned about it
  • What worked well for you, for your team, and for your client
  • What did not work well for you, for your team, and for your client
  • Frustrations – what happened, who was involved in causing it
  • Trainwrecks – what happened, who was involved in causing it, who was involved in fixing it
  • Unexpected Successes – what happened, who was involved in causing it

And then at the end of the project, add in:

  • What you would do differently next time
  • Any updates to the above

If you can template the above, add in additional items that you think may be relevant for your career, and keep this updated in a quickly accessible place, you will find the time investment invaluable.  I guarantee it.



About Jason H Zalmanowitz
I am a nerdy Management Consultant / Project Manager with a MBA, have spent the majority of my career working for consulting firms in Calgary, and I race in triathlons because of (and thanks to) my wife. As a Project Manager, I have managed field implementations, strategy development projects, software development projects, and hardware implementation projects. As a consultant, I have helped companies articulate how and why they are going to implement and interact with sustaining technology to support their business.

One Response to Advice for Junior PMs – #7 – Keep your lessons close at hand

  1. Pingback: Advice for Junior PMs – Introductory Post | Unnatural Leadership

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