An eLearning project manager’s day starts with calls, emails, meetings and conferences, assigning tasks to internal teams and so on. Additionally, he or she has to participate in marketing efforts, understand sales perspective and manage timelines while prioritizing various tasks. The list goes on and on and on.
Quite obviously, while handling projects under these circumstances, mistakes do happen. However, there is no mistake you can’t learn from. Here, I wish to collate some of the typical mistakes or oversights that project managers tend to commit. Simply put, here are some of the confessions of project managers I know in the profession. Let us see what you and I can learn from each one of them.
1. Don’t ignore small details:
“Sending e-mail updates to clients continuously for a month without updating the subject line according to the context…”
This may seem unimportant, but for a client, the error might be a sign that you don’t even check before replying to the emails. Oversights such as these will cause significant, unnecessary issues and delays in getting response or approvals from clients.
2. Don’t live in the past irrespective of the results
“Two of my developers wanted to spend a week in training on a particular authoring tool. I refused them time stating that it would not be feasible thing, due to project timelines and deadlines. They left the organization, citing my lack of management ability as one of the main reasons.”
On the hind sight, I feel this could have been handled better. As a project manager, you have become responsible for your decision and the consequences too! There’s no point lamenting about the “what-ifs” after the consequence.
3. Don’t guess what you don’t know
When I was new to project management, I lacked experience in the documenting scope. It is important to clarify minute points with client and include them in scope before going ahead with the project. But back then, I assumed a lot of aspects and included them in the scope, which were not exactly what the client expected. This resulted in lots of rework and cost overruns. Of course, I know the importance of documenting scope accurately today. But I learnt it the hard way.
4. Don’t accept blame for other’s mistakes
“One of my colleagues shared that he was asked to develop a prototype for a large organization that wanted to develop curriculum eLearning. He started working on the prototype without realizing that the lead project manager didn’t have any sign-off scope from the client. As a result, my colleague was accused of wasting resources.”
It is important to have a documented sign-off from authorized persons before starting any project task.
5. Forgive yourself and do better
Sometimes, as a project manager you might be asked to take on more projects than you can do justice. It puts you in a tight spot because accepting the project will put you under too much pressure and you know you can’t handle it well. However, not accepting the project may be considered escapism – running away from responsibilities.
However, it is during such situations that your managerial skills are put to test. Open communication with the people involved will help resolve the issue.
Project management helps you to learn on a daily basis. Mistakes happen and we need to learn from them and ensure that we prevent bigger ones. What are the challenges you encountered as an eLearning project manager? How did you overcome there? Would love to hear them.