Being a project manager for a week

by Craig Steven

Having no previous experience as a project manager I didn’t really know what to expect from this week and was just faking it until I made it. Looking back there is a lot I would do differently if I were to project manage a second time. Luckily for me my cohort are extremely hard working and regardless of my inexperience produced some great pieces of work by the end of the week.

The project was very open ended and being internal was a little different than our previous projects. The main benefit being I didn’t have to worry about struggling to contact the client about questions as Sasha was just a quick direct message away on convo.

Another benefit was this project didn’t require extensive research on the client beforehand. The project brief was laid out clearly and I could go straight into thinking about how I was going to split the teams up and laying out a small plan for the initial kick-off on Monday.

With the project having two distinctive parts it was an obvious choice to split the team in half, each working on a separate path. This seemed to work well giving each sub-team a clear focus on what data they were working with.

My initial plan for the first day seemed to go well. Originally, I wanted to get the data prep done but also have a good plan of what needed to be built to tick all the boxes for the project. However, planning dashboards, I learned is not easy or simple when working remotely. My plan was to use the zoom annotate function so that everyone could participate in drawing out what they thought would work well. It turns out this isn’t as simple as getting out the coloured pens and A3 paper which was common practice when we were back in the office. I am not sure how to improve this planning but maybe dedicating more time would improve its results.

The main thing I would change is how involved I was in the work especially on the first day. Some of the data collection required web scraping which really interested me, so I was keen to see how it went and help with it. In hindsight I should have just let the team get on with it and focus getting help for the team when needed as I ended up neglecting the other half of the team a bit on the first day.

If I were to do the week again I would step back more from the actual work and focus more on planning the whole week setting targets for the team to meet and making sure I had either a convo post or someone that could help jumping on zoom to resolve the issue to minimise the time people are stalled for.

Regardless I am very proud of what the team produced creating great dashboards and workflows. Although stressful at times I did find project managing an enjoyable experience, but I prefer getting stuck into the work instead.  A link to the projects blog containing the workbooks produced is linked bellow.

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