What I Wish I Knew when I became a Project Manager
There is a lot more, but this is good for a list.
1. Project Management is more than Tools & Techniques
When I became a project manager, the focus of "Project Manager" was the PMBOK and the need to know the "Tools & Techniques" to get projects out of the door. They are important, but they should not be the primary thing.
2. Every meeting needs an agenda
If there is no agenda, you should not have a meeting. People are busy and if you do not have an agenda and some deliverables or answers you expect from that meeting, it can likely be done better in an email or a phone call.
3. You need to send out minutes - even if you just send out a list of actions
4. People need to you to continually tell them where we are heading.
What is the schedule, the roadmap, the plan. You may have built it with them and they may know it, but everyone needs to see it so we can all align on where we are. Some people may not feel like we are on track or may need to raise issues.
5. If you feel strongly about something - ask forgiveness later.
I cannot tell you how many times I've kept a meeting, or asked another question, even when people disagree, that something turns up. Trust you gut and push for what seems right. That's why you're there.
6. Take a vacation when you need it
Burnout is real. Make sure you take your vacations. And I mean get off and don't look at your phone.
7. Every moment is different. There is no standard approach. Stay present.
The early PMBOK / PMP Exam stressed that there was a tool & technique for everything. They implied that the PMBOK was THE WAY. Every situation, every project, each person is different. You cannot bring the same approach or tool or even methodology to every project, every meeting. The key is to be present and see the person you are working with.
8. Learn from everything. Lessons Learned/ Retrospectives are your moments to learn
This seems fairly self-explanatory. Leave your ego outside the Zoom or at the door. It can be hard not to take things personally when you have poured your waking hours and some of your non-waking thoughts into trying to do your best to support, but these sessions are important for you to learn. The unexpected honesty can be refreshing.
9. See the Person
I am extremely introverted person and probably the last person that should have been a project manager. It has taken me many years to turn away from the processes and see the people. I am still a work in progress. I am grateful for the changes Project Management has forced on me. Seeing the Person is probably the most important thing I wished I had known.