Did you know what you were getting yourself into when you said “Yes” to leading that project?
Before, you were part of a team.
When you had a question, you could just turn to your teammates for help.
Any problems you had to deal with were mostly technical in nature.
Getting to a solution was only a matter of asking the right person.
But now you have changed sides.
You are in the lead.
Damn, how things are different when you are on the other side!
Now you are spending 99% of your time dealing with people (not on technical stuff).
And it’s really hard to get things done!
People just are seeing problems.
They are concerned about EVERYTHING.
And they don’t want to make decisions:
“But this is not the official way!”
“That’s not in line with our policies”
“I can’t decide on that on my own”
“I think we should first check with _____”
“I don’t want to get in trouble with audit!”
And they don’t talk to each other!
Yep. The most basic thing, they are not doing it!
So you have to step in all the time.
It feels like babysitting!
And your team members are coming to you with all these questions they expect an answer on:
“Our supplier is unable to meet their delivery date. What shall we do?”
“Carol said she’s got no time to provide help, what shall I do?”
“Where should I send my travel expense report to?”
Questions about stuff completely outside your field!
In your previous job, you could just ask your boss and he would have an answer for it.
Or even solve the problem for you. You quickly got it off your chest.
But now you are carrying around all those questions and problems with you.
And there’s nobody you can turn to.
“I feel I’m completely on my own!”
If it were just the daily drama dealing with people, the babysitting ….
But the problem is:
Your project is not making any progress and you can see in real-time how things are getting off track and you’re losing control:
- The project is often late on tasks
- New stakeholders keep coming out of the woodwork, delaying activities, causing trouble and adding more requests to your scope
- Things that were agreed upon before not are being discussed over and over again
Sure thing, you don’t want to disappoint anyone.
You want to do a good job, right?
So you ask yourself: “How can I improve?”
Do you need to push even more? Be more aggressive?
What is it that you are not doing that you should be doing?
Without anybody who can guide you, you never know whether you’re doing things right or wrong
So you check out project management resources on the web:
You stumble across all this PM content.
Either it is low-quality content of some software company pushing their app
Or it is this bloated and bureaucratic material from one of the “official” institutions, which largely seems irrelevant to your needs:
There are 3 reasons why most of the PM material does not work:
Reason #1: Most PM instructors and schools fail on the implementation side: They don’t teach you how to implement the concepts they talk about. The thing is: they don’t have to, because their material is designed to help you pass their exam, but it’s not created with the purpose of making you a better project leader. But tell me, what is the value of a PM course if it doesn’t help you do your job in a better way?
Reason #2: Most PM material is designed for complexity. The reason is simple: PM institutions are just regular businesses that have to make money. To justify the high prices of their courses and certifications, they have to make their material look complex. I mean, would you pay $1000 for a super-focused 5-hour essentials course that teaches you exactly what you need to know to do to deliver a good project?
Reason #3: Most PM material completely ignores psychology. This is a big one! Why? As you have probably found out yourself, it’s never the project itself that is hard. It is the people that make projects extremely and unnecessarily difficult. So the only way to accomplish what you set out to do --- and to get your team members to keep their commitments and get all stakeholders to join your path -- is by fully embracing and using psychology as a tool for influencing people.
So where do you go from there?
How can you quickly improve your skills to manage your daily tasks in a better way?
Get clarity on the steps required to complete your project as promised?
Deliver a great result and show that “you can do it”?
Learn the “secret code” of project management
Having managed business-critical projects for more than 10 years, here is what I learned matters to successfully lead projects. (It is also what separates good project managers from bad ones):
Have the right mindset: This is what I struggled with in my early PM career. I still wore the hat of a team member — one among equals — although I was now leading a project and my former coworkers now had to work for me. I realized I had to change my mindset and management style. I started saying “I need this” instead of “when you have time”. I also changed how I looked at setbacks, the immense pressure, office politics, escalations …. and this new mindset allowed me to ride the “project wave” having great fun, make progress every day and ultimately become one of the top project leaders in my division.
Get the first steps right: Don’t rush, don’t skimp on any step when setting up your project, even when being pressured by management. You need to have absolute clarity on the project goal (which determines EVERYTHING). You also need work like a detective to identify all stakeholders (there are simple techniques to help you with that). And you need to sharpen your sense for risks and address potential issues even when nobody around you wants to admit they are real. There are more steps involved, but even if you get these 3 things right, your project is on a good path!
Understand what makes people tick and use your knowledge in everything you do: Whether it is delegating work, preparing communication, engaging with stakeholders, providing status updates, leading negotiations etc. Once you understand what goes on in people’s minds, you will be 100x more effective.
Spend 50% of your time on communication: Communication is the lifeblood of any project. It helps to keep issues under control. It keeps separated teams aligned. Good and frequent communication also ensures people remain confident in your work. Therefore, as a project leader, your main duty is to ensure communication is happening!
Build a winning team: It’s no secret that happy team members will do a better job. Many people in leadership roles believe that you can’t be demanding and caring at same time. But that’s wrong. You can be a tough leader and at the same time be the most loved and admired leader with a team that is doing outstanding work — you just have to make building trust your priority, put some effort into a great team atmosphere and put people on work that naturally fits their interests and abilities.
I have summarized all my knowledge in a course:
Introducing Real-World Project Management: A Proven System for Bringing Any Project To Successful Completion
Overview of the course:
This is a 7-module online course that will help you to:
- Develop the mindset of a leader
- Navigate the critical steps in a project in an ultra-professional way so you always can be confident that things are going to be alright
- Evaluate your current processes and learn new tricks
- Build a high level of confidence so you can shoulder any project, no matter its size and topic
The course is designed in a very practical, easy-to-implement way with plenty of real-world examples, so you can immediately apply new ideas and techniques to your project.
Here is what you’ll learn in the course:
Module 1: How to start your project in the right way
You can avoid most of the typical project issues by being very careful and diligent during the ramp-up phase of your project, and doing the important steps properly. In this module, we’ll talk about what these steps are and I’ll show you how I handle them myself.
- Why Project Goals Matter: The shocking truth: even Fortune 500 companies rush into projects without having a clear end goal. After listening to this case study from one of my projects you’ll understand why having a compelling value promise is not optional but a must-have – it makes everything else so much easier.
- Ultimate Risk Preparation: Learn how to spot risks early on and how to plan effective measures to keep those risks under control.
- Identifying stakeholders: Stakeholders joining your project late can ruin it. See how I carry out a 360-Degree Stakeholder Scan to make sure I got 100% of my stakeholders on board.
Module 2: Gathering Requirements Made Easy
Over the years, my team and I have perfected the process for gathering requirements. It’s effective and simple, and it has proven successful for any project including big IT implementations. In this module, you can see exactly what we do.
- From scope to requirements: A “behind-the-scenes” of our requirements gathering process – including the deep-dive questionnaires we use and why we gather customer input much earlier than what traditional PM wisdom recommends.
- Performing a requirements workshop: What workshops and meetings should you plan with the client? And what questions should you ask? We’ll talk about it here.
- Tools for requirements gathering: My favorite tools for customer requirements workshops
- Traceability: Once you’ve seen it, you’ll never go without it: Learn how you can ensure that none of the requirements falls through the cracks.
Module 3: The Planning Phase: Build a Rock-Solid Project Schedule
Committing yourself to a plan can feel scary. Nonetheless, you can create realistic schedules that you can feel confident about. I’ll show you how.
- My planning process: You’ll see my approach to planning but also the thinking that goes into the planning as well as finding the right balance between being ambitious and being realistic.
- The Contingency Question: How much contingency should you add for each task? We’ll talk about that here and I’ll explain how the level of control determines how much contingency I add (with examples).
- The Project Kick-off: Let’s go through a real kick-off slide deck! You’ll learn exactly what points to cover to ensure your team knows what to do without you constantly having to intervene.
Module 4: Engaging stakeholders: About moving elephants, taming lions and overcoming kingdom protection
Getting the needed support from stakeholders can be painfully difficult. But at the same time, your ability to deliver a good project lies in the hands of your stakeholders. That’s why you must master the stakeholder engagement game. Nobody from the traditional PM circles teaches you how this is done – I will.
- From distrust to deep trust: Learn how to build deep relationships with coworkers, managers and any other project participants so you can have a fruitful collaboration and get the support you need to do your job.
- Pace and Lead Magic: Psychology meets Project Management! Discover how establishing similarities with your stakeholders can turn them into supportive allies.
- Negotiation 101: Follow these simple negotiation rules and you will instantly become a stronger negotiator – even if you think you are not a natural negotiator.
Module 5: Build a Winning Team
You can be an effective leader and win the hearts of your team members! In this module I’ll show you how to earn the respect of your team members so you can accomplish even the most challenging missions – with a group of committed people who always want to be around you!
- The Secrets Behind An Amazing Team: I’ll share the strategies I have used to create a top-performing team and a culture that people love to work in and always want to give their best. [To this day I’m getting Facebook messages from former team members telling me how much they loved working with me.]
- Master Delegation: Focus on your leadership responsibilities and let your team do the work. If you feel uncomfortable delegating work, this lesson is for you.
- Getting Things Done: Learn the powerful influencing techniques to hold your team members accountable so that you always hit your milestones – without being pushy, and without compromising the relationships you have built with your team members.
Module 6: The Execution Phase: Keep your project on track
As you and your team are building the product or whatever result for the client, many things can go wrong. In this module, I show you what the typical pitfalls are and how to deal with them in a professional manner.
- Must-Have Mechanisms: Learn the 5 mechanisms you need to have in place to make sure you never lose control over your project – including a fast issue response process, a status meeting plan and a change request process.
- Move Forward Every Day: Learn how I carry out frequent check-ins with my team members to see how things are progressing and to ensure we always meet our deadlines.
- Solve Any Problem: Stay confident even when things get rough. Learn about the mindset and problem-solving strategies Senior Project Managers use to investigate, discuss and solve any roadblock in a professional manner.
- Manage the Wishlist: It is the #1 challenge of any project manager: When the customer asks for changes or additions while the project is already in progress. I’ll share the process that has worked well in our projects, helping my team to remain focused on the core goal and manage any scope changes in a professional way.
Module 7: Project Closing: Win the Endgame
- Your team is totally exhausted, and the client is pushing to get back to business as usual. This is what makes project closing extremely difficult.
- To manage the endgame well, you need to understand the dynamics that are at play in the final weeks and keep people focused on their commitments -- including the client!
- Learn how a clever mix of well-thought-out status reporting, team motivation and pushing will allow you to complete your project in a good way so that you can be proud of your amazing accomplishment.
- Virtual Teams: My 3 tips for ensuring good communication in a virtual team
- Project Budgeting: Basics of creating and managing a project budget (including a walkthrough of my Excel budget tracker)
- Reporting: How to provide status updates in an “executive friendly” way
- Project documents: What documents do you need to create for your project?
With tons of examples and screenshots
The course is designed in a very practical, easy-to-implement way with plenty of real-world examples, so you can immediately apply the new ideas and techniques to your project.
Earn a certificate!
After having completed all the modules of the course, you can request a certificate. Just drop me an email and I'll send it to you! Use the certificate for your next job application or share it on social media!
Hi, I'm Adrian, former Senior Project Manager and Founder of Tactical Project Manager
As a project manager of large corporate projects I have done more kick-offs than most other people. My projects usually were very critical for the company, and timelines were ultra-tight - almost considered illusionary if you ask some of my team members. We finished all projects in time and in budget. Through courses like this one you can learn exactly (and in great detail) how I run projects.
What students are saying about the course
"Hi Adrian, thank you for this great course. Now I am able to relate: 'Ok, why did this happen? This is the reason'. I am putting the controls in place, and I will not repeat my mistakes again"
"Regarding to the training, I would like to say that, was extremely helpful, and helped me to have a better understanding of what is to be a PM, special if you are new on this area, as me. Thank you for the way that you explaining. I like because it encourages us to understand the logic behind it. Thank you once more."
"Hi Adrian- I am making my way through the course. I am very happy with it and I’m finding modules 3 and 4 particularly helpful! The stakeholder management techniques mentioned here I am finding useful. I work with people at various levels and this is one area I always find can be challenging in my field. The tips and coursework are offering me great insights and easy-to-follow tips."
No risk for you - My 30-day money-back guarantee
I put a lot of effort into making this a very useful and practical course. If you still feel it's not what you were looking for, I'm happy to give you back your investment within 30 days after your purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
You have lifetime access, so you can always access the course, the videos and all the included documents whenever you want.
What if I'm unhappy with the course?
I'm committed to providing you with the best material you can find on this subject. If you still feel the course is not what you expected, I'm happy to give you back your investment within 30 days after purchase.
Do you also offer coaching?
Yes. I do 1:1 coaching (remotely). You can read more about my coaching offer here.
I have a question about the course.
You can email me at [email protected]
Will I get a certificate?
Yes! Email me once you have gone through the lessons and I will issue a certificate