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u/chromarush · 2 pointsr/projectmanagement

Hi I'm a graphic designer, UX engineer, and I have worked for a lot with a bunch of different PMs. Some have been great and some treat people really badly. I can share what was most effective for me and the other graphic designers I have worked with.

  1. "Craft" can be kinda condescending. It's a technical skill set just like project management and while different I assure you both can be equally challenging. Just like you don't want a failed project that others can judge you on you that your designers are also very aware of how their project (which will be visible to everyone) will impact their ability to find and bargain for future work. Not to say you cannot negotiate with your designers but I have seen PMs treat graphic designers and developers like button pushers when there is a lot of skill that goes into developing their work. You may want to find out what is most important to them as far as how the work represent them. It might take them longer on one project because they are honing a new skill set (just like you are doing). If you can get them to talk to you about it you can better negotiate cutoffs on projects so everyone wins.

    When it comes to the long hours I would like to ask who is making the estimates for the projects? I really recommend including the designers when you are making your estimates and scoping out the work. This not only will help you get better estimates but it creates buy in from the designers so that they feel more committed to meeting those estimates. I have seen PMs throw work over the wall to people to complete in unrealistic time frames or unrealistic prices. The person doing the estimate didnt know rendering an animation would take 4 days and 100% use of someone's computer etc. All parties end up blaming each other for not having the right talents and in the end its just the project that is put at risk.

    As far them asking other resources to be involved. Somewhere they got the notion they could do that, they feel they have no choice, or they are doing some skill swapping and team building between departments. I really recommend looking into why this is happening before bringing down the hammer on anyone, a lot of times there is some other resource issue occurring that needs to be resolved. If you can approach it as a way to help solve their underlying problem people are more likely to be open to change.

  2. I cringe at calling people Resources because I see how poorly it affects manager behavior. Remember that you are just talking to a person and all the skills needed for leadership are important. Gaining the respect of the people you work with makes a huge difference in how effective you can be. As a leader work with and defend your people as best you can and they will respect you and you will have value to them. This means when you have to ask them to do hard things they trust you and are more likely to comply even if they don't like it. This credibility is difficult to build at first but every little bit counts. Is their a particular painful client you can shield them from talking to? Can you get the printer fixed so they can get back to work? One of the best ways I use to judge a PM (or boss - sometimes they are the same) is how respectful they are to the people who work for them and how they treat people they don't need. I would say the other thing to take into consideration is that if your were given authority use it but try not to beat people with it.

  3. I am rather certain this is going to be specific per company. Give them a call or go see them, tell them that you are new and ask the account manager how they have done things in the past. This will at least give you a starting point and you can adjust it as you move along.

  4. As a designer the absolute most frustrating part of the job is working with the client and any intermediary for the client. Communication over requirements vs wants is utterly painful and in all most all cases no stakeholder has the same vision as other stakeholders. Meetings can be this painful The expert. Because this is so utterly political many graphic designers limit the number of iterations they present because any more communication can lead to endless rework as clients forget what they said or change their mind for the 10th time. This is can work if its within scope (time, budget) of what you have both agreed on when scoping/pricing the project. If it wasn't considered I can see why they would want to avoid this, another factor to consider is how overworked these people are. If they are routinely working 14 hour days I can see where changing everything and throwing off their work schedule could be disastrous for them.

  5. Documentation is only as useful as what it is for. Do not make more work to justify your position ( I have seen people do this). Generally I find it falls into these two categories..
  • Meeting minutes - send them out after the meeting so if anything was misinterpreted there is a chance to correct it. Also if no one corrects it, then it is the current set of requirements.
  • Emails, IMs, SMS, and even notes on phone calls - keep them all. Keep them as long as you can. Make an archive and associate them with the project. Someone could come back a year or two later, their finance department saw the bill and then they never asked for the 5 more changes.

  • Creative briefs - look at previous similar projects for estimates so you start to get ballpark ideas of what something might take.
  • Notes on Pros/cons/mistakes per project - Do not show this to anyone. Keep it for yourself and when client X comes back for another "standard" projects look at your notes. Oh, they always try to negotiate the lowest price but want 4 revisions every time and won't change the deliverable date. Charge them more for the 14 hour days that you know the designers are going to have to put in. Or certain stakeholders are really hard to work with because they have terrible communication skills describing what they want, maybe they don't respond to your questions right away and it delays the project. Can also be great to make nots on designers over a period of time who excels in what time of project, or who really gets a specific client etc.
  • Processes - Use these to clarify expectations or to improve a workflow. Do not make a process for everything, only the things that have pain points and are important.

    This may seem lame but I totally recommend reading the PMBOK for reference. Don't feel like you have to take the test but I think it covers a lot of the responsibilities of PMs well. PMBOK

    Sorry if this is very pro designer but I have seen way way too many PMs just pretend we aren't people. If you can gain peoples respect you have have an awesome job. Hope this helps. Good luck.
u/dmmagic · 3 pointsr/projectmanagement

I'm a consultant with an IT software company, and with the current client I'm working with, I spent my first 3 weeks doing nothing but research and interviews and gathering information. Since you're starting as essentially a junior PM, just ask the senior people or your line manager how long they expect you to research and come to understand the project before needing to deliver anything. Hopefully, if all goes well, it'll be an organic process and will sort itself out in time. Be patient and just take lots and lots of notes.

Since you're in the position of having senior PMs, there's a good chance you won't need to establish objectives, at least right off the bat. You may be doing calculations, maintaining schedules, facilitating communications, etc. I say play that one by ear. Since you're new to the process, I recommend reading The Mythical Man Month and taking it to heart. Be wary of underestimating, and do your best to take reality into account as well as ever-shifting demands.

As to what a PM generally spends their time on, it totally depends on the organization and the project. I'm not a dedicated PM, and my background is actually in IT management. That said, at my last job, I did some PM, and I'm currently getting my master's in project management and will follow that up with a PMP. As a consultant, I'm working with the PMO, among other groups, and I spend a lot of my time in meetings and communicating, both to gather requirements from stakeholders and translate those into stories, and to make sure all stakeholders are on the same page. I spend a lot of time making sure that people have proper visibility into the project, which means good reporting and keeping a lot of notes close at hand. Developing a good system for maintaining your notes is essential if you don't already have one. I rely heavily on Evernote, but I've got a methodology for Outlook, and for my file system (be it in Google Drive or Dropbox or elsewhere), and for Skype.

Making educated decisions is our job. There's a science to PM, but at the end of the day, we're humans dealing with humans. We make the call to the best of our abilities, and take responsibility to fix it if we're wrong.

Regarding passing up the opportunity, I say absolutely not. You'll learn a lot more in this position than at a lower level PC job. Approach it ready to fail and pick yourself back up, and fail fast, and you'll grow quickly. Maintain your confidence as best you can, keep finding more books and resources to read/watch/listen to, and do your best.

Another good resource I'd recommend is the Project Management for the Masses G+ community and podcast. There are a number of different PM podcasts out there that are quite good (I also recommend the People and Projects Podcast), and quite a few good books.

As you get further into it, you'll discover that PM is actually a relatively new field, really just a few decades old. There's a lot to learn, but don't get too stressed about it. Take that energy and go learn more instead :-)

u/debridezilla · 2 pointsr/projectmanagement

I think it's possible to communicate without rapport (e.g., documentation, plans, emails). That said, in a team environment, this will only get you so far. Rapport is often what determines how/if people listen to you and how they're geared to respond. I think you're quite right to call it out as its own competency.

IME, the most effective PMs (at least in terms of building relationships) have been:

  • Warm (friendly, agreeable, empathetic, and openly enthusiastic about others' strengths and successes)
  • Trustworthy and sincere
  • A little vulnerable
  • Inquisitive, but also perceptive
  • Knowledgeable
  • Direct and honest, especially about hard topics
  • Admirable in their own rights

    Some people are naturals at all of it, due to biology and/or nurture. If you're not, you can try to learn new behaviors. It's a non-trivial effort, of course: in some cases, it might mean changing deeply ingrained communication patterns. As a first step, becoming conscious of the ways you're not being the list above can help you focus on what you want to change.

    Here are a few related reads that I've learned from:

  1. Fierce Conversations (book)
  2. The Dynamics of Warmth and Competence Judgments
  3. 7 things really amazing communicators do
  4. How to build rapport with clients
  5. Active listening in practice

    Hope this helps!
u/FuckingNarwhal · 5 pointsr/projectmanagement

Hi skunk,

Since everyone is remaining quiet I might as well give this a shot. I'm from a technical background but currently studying PM in my spare time in the hope that I can progress in this direction within my industry.


It seems like the global standard is the PMP with PMI which requires:

> A secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree, or the global equivalent) with at least five years of project management experience, with 7,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.

> OR

> A four-year degree (bachelor’s degree or the global equivalent) and at least three years of project management experience, with 4,500 hours leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.

I'm currently studying towards this. I've taken recommendations from this subreddit (and /r/pmp) and bought:

  • Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep, Eighth Edition


  • PMI's PMBOK, Fifth Edition

    In order to obtain the required 35 contact hours, I bought one of several cheap Groupons for $99. I'm not going to link the course because I don't necessarily recommend it - it should be easy enough to find and people have linked to these in previous posts. It doesn't really matter anyway because it's just so I can "tick that box", as I've learnt everything I need to know from the books.

    The exam however will have to be sat in person. I have yet to do this so can't give you any pointers.


    If you don't match the above criteria, you can always opt for the lower qualification of CAPM (also with PMI) and work your way up.
    For this I reccommend CAPM/PMP Project Management Certification, Third Edition and the previously mentioned online course.

    Please note that you can potentially pitch anything as a project in the right light, even washing the dishes. Aim high and try to get the hours for PMP if possible.


    What else? Well, if I'm successful with the PMP and still enjoy PM after the blood, sweat and tears, I'm looking at these two qualifications.

    I've already added a few books to my Amazon wishlist but have yet to seriously look into these with enough detail to commit.

  • Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2
  • PRINCE2 Study Guide
  • PRINCE2 For Dummies

    I know that the exam for the PRINCE2 foundation level (and possibly practitioner level?) can be sat online with a webcam.

  • Six Sigma for Dummies
  • Six Sigma Workbook for Dummies

    Six Sigma I know very little about except that several colleagues have mentioned it and my industry takes it seriously. However, I don't believe you can do these Six Sigma "belts" online.

    Sorry for the serious wall of text but I just thought I'd share everything I know about PM accreditation. This isn't a comprehensive list but I'm planning on doing 90% online so I'm in a similar situation to yourself.

    I would be grateful for any feedback myself from experienced PMs on my plans going forward.
u/llama111 · 17 pointsr/projectmanagement

I was interested in PM but didn't have the work experience so I am working on the CAPM.


From what I have heard/read, I agree that if you don't have real formal PM experience, that even if you were able to pass the PMP exam it would not go well when you go to interview/are expected to jump into a PM role if hired.


From what I know, the questions on the PMP are based more on experience/knowing what to do in a certain situation, and are much more difficult than what will be on the CAPM. The CAPM is based more on understanding concepts/definitions, and less about actually being able to apply them.


Here is what I did and would recommend you do.

-Sign up with PMI, you get discounts on the test/materials and a free PDF of the PMBOK.

-DO NOT take the class through PMI to get your contact hours. I originally signed up for this, it was over $300 and it was extremely boring and poorly formatted. I was lucky that PMI refunded me for the class. - Instead of the PMI class, take the Joseph Phillips course on Udemy. You will get a certificate for completing it, it qualifies for the required contact hours, and it is only $12. If you search this subreddit, you will read a lot of good things about it, that's how I found out about it originally.


-When you sign up with PMI, they give you a PDF copy of the PMBOK but it has restrictions. You cannot print/edit/highlight the PDF, all of these features are locked. I found a site where you can get a PDF that is fully functional for $5. It also includes a book on Agile that is in built into the same PDF. I purchased this and had no issues


-I also purchased this book. It has practice questions/ITTO questions.


-I hope this is helpful! You should definitely consider other sources as well, but this is where I am starting. I am about 3/4 of the way through the Udemy class and have enjoyed it.

u/lunivore · 2 pointsr/projectmanagement

If you're interested in Scrum (it's not an acronym) then an easy way to get started is to take training as a CSM (Certified Scrum Master). It's a 2-day course with a fairly easy multiple-choice exam.

If you're already a Product Manager, you could also look at the CSPO (Certified Scrum Product Owner) which will help you understand the differences in the way requirements are treated.

Scrum isn't the be-all and end-all of Agile methods, so do keep your mind open after the training! But it will help you to get your foot in the door.

After that, try looking for local Agile or Scrum groups; most big cities have them. Look out for Agile conferences too; even if you can't make it, a lot of them post the talks online.

If you do end up as a PM and you're struggling to understand something, don't be afraid to hire an Agile Coach for a few days. They'll help to mentor you, explain how Agile works, and fine-tune your processes.

The most important thing to remember about Agile methods is that they're there to help handle uncertainty. For anything you do that's new, and you've never done before, it's useful to make discoveries early rather than later and to get feedback quickly on those discoveries. In Waterfall we made sure we we're getting it right. In Agile, we assume we can't know everything up front and will inevitably get some of it wrong.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention Kanban, which is related to Agile and originally derived from the Lean techniques used at Toyota, and Cynefin (my blog, the Wikipedia page is also good). Mike Cohn's books are a pretty good first stop for basic Scrum, but Kanban and Cynefin will help you to see beyond that.

Finally, if you get stuck, is your friend. You can also shout out on Twitter; there's always people willing to help and pass you links and ideas.

(Oh, and don't worry too much about the formality. I work as a Lean / Kanban and Agile consultant, have no formal qualifications in it, and am internationally recognized. Doing it and having the metrics and stories to show that you've done it is more important than a qualification.)

u/dcorlieu · 2 pointsr/projectmanagement

I signed up for the PM Prepcast, which I think is the cheapest approved preparation ($199) and also did a bootcamp ($1,800). The Prepcast is a bunch of podcasts that I just occasionally put on in the car while driving.

I was dragging my feet and the bootcamp at least got me into the mode of "I gotta finish this" but the best preparation for me was the Headfirst PMP book...designed for visual learners, it kind of made everything gel for me. Just flipped through it casually and passed on first try. Hardest part was the application.

I guess what I'm saying (if you're like me) is maybe get a book you like and prepare and if you think that's enough, it's an option just to go with an inexpensive course to get the certified hours. In the end, do what you know will work for you.

Good luck!

u/Caleb6 · 1 pointr/projectmanagement

I wouldn't say that budgeting is horrible in agile. Agile simplifies budgeting into iteration costs, and then estimates feature sets across iterations. In a very simplified example, if:

  1. An iteration ( 10 biz days, 10 devs @ $250/day ea.) costs $25,000
  2. 30 Features (User stories) defined at an avg of 5 ideal days each. In reality you would not average here but sum individual US estimations.
  3. That's 150 ideal days.
  4. Real throughput is 8 ideal days per dev per iteration (overhead of 20%)
  5. 150/8 =18.75 iterations - call it 20 to add a bit of slack.
  6. 20 iterations = $500k

    Where agile shines regarding scheduling is that the features are developed in the order of product manager / user value - and that value is recognized periodically with interim working product releases. This allows you to realize incoming cash flows earlier than a standard waterfall approach.

    Where a scheduler would shine in Agile is in the statistical weighting and ordering of feature priority - not necessarily in the estimation of duration of each Feature / User Story. I highly recommend [Agile Estimating & Planning] ( by Mike Cohn. IMO - the real trick to Agile is the proper ordering of development. If you hash that, you lose the early cash realization, and you can end up with a product that does not meet requirements as you fail to deliver core features before you run out of time/money.
u/jasonhamrick · 2 pointsr/projectmanagement

Might I also suggest Making Things Happen

There is very little earth-shattering in the book, but it's a breezy read and great reference. It's true utility is in having all of the 101 stuff in one place.

u/steenface · 1 pointr/projectmanagement

I'd also like to recommend the Andy Crowe book; this helped me and my co-workers pass the exam, I'm convinced of it!

As far as PMP vs CAPM, I've had a few co-workers ask which one they should work towards and I always ask them: how much project management will you actually be doing? The CAPM does not require any PDUs to retain your certification; you simply retake the test when your certification expires. However, a PMP credential holder will need to earn 60 PDUs within 3 years.

u/steveholtismymother · 3 pointsr/projectmanagement

I'd recommend reading [Project Management Lite by Juana Clark Craig] ( Concise, easy to read and covering all the basics, it'll give you an easy start to managing your first project without unnecessary jargon and acronyms.

u/jb4647 · 1 pointr/projectmanagement

Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management by Scott Berkun is great.

I read an earlier edition when it had a better title "The Art of Project Management"

u/practicingitpm · 1 pointr/projectmanagement

I've managed projects across continents for most of the last 15 years or so, and every project had different challenges. Culture and language are important, but you may also have to understand legal and financial ramifications. Managing across time zones is as much about logistics and timing as it is anything else, but you should commit to sharing the pain—don't always make the folks in India get up in the middle of the night to attend your conference calls. Schedule some for times that are inconvenient for folks in the US.

Global Business Today is a textbook for International MBA courses. It has a high thump factor, but I selectively read sections of an earlier edition and thought it was worth my time. I haven't read Craig Storti's book on cultural competence for business, but it seems applicable. If you read it, leave a review here.

u/dennythecoder · 2 pointsr/projectmanagement

I really like Making Things Happen. Casual tone, emphasis on heuristics, and enjoyable to read.

u/HookThem · 4 pointsr/projectmanagement

I used the following approach to pass the PMP exam--

  1. Read Rita Mulcahy's Examp Prep Book:

  2. Take a bunch of practice tests
  3. Read Head First PMP:

  4. Repeat (2) until you feel ready

    I passed with all "Proficient". The exam wasn't nearly as hard as the practice tests I took.

    Edit: This is also very helpful in your preparation. A consolidated list of 100 "Lessons Learned" for the PMP exam
u/SnakeFarmer · 3 pointsr/projectmanagement

Just order a solid test prep book. Don't waste money on classes unless someone else is paying for it.

I used this book with success.

u/remembertosmilebot · 1 pointr/projectmanagement

Did you know Amazon will donate a portion of every purchase if you shop by going to instead? Over $50,000,000 has been raised for charity - all you need to do is change the URL!

Here are your smile-ified links:

Headfirst PMP


^^i'm ^^a ^^friendly bot

u/Grah_Slarg · 2 pointsr/projectmanagement

Recently read Project Management Lite. It was solid through-out, and kept the focus on what was important. You can get bogged down in project management by a lot of unnecessary work. And PMs have an unhealthy need to create processes and lists where none is needed. Project Management Lite helps with perspective, and focuses on what's important.

u/SibLiant · 2 pointsr/projectmanagement

Evernote. Been religious for years now. I liked the book Getting Things Done and I built that system into Evernote.

u/bluestudent · 3 pointsr/projectmanagement

I haven't read either of these books so I can't vouch for them personally, but my understanding is that Peopleware and Mythical Man Month are classics.

u/PmpPete · 1 pointr/projectmanagement

for the new 2018 exams (6th Edition PMBOK) this is a good & inexpensive book with online content to prepare for CAPM: