Ramesh Tiwari was a Business Analyst with 8 years of experience. He was just back from meeting the clients for the last 3 weeks to understand the requirements for the next release of their order management system. He was excited as the clients were revamping their existing system and moving to a new technology platform using cloud. He was eager to meet the team and get the project started. He reached early to the office as his Delivery Manager Lakshmi Tyagi said that she wanted to meet him before she went off to her other scheduled meetings for the day. Ramesh knocked on the DM’s door and was asked to come in.
After a few minutes of enquiring about his trip and understanding the next product release requirements, she jumped straight to the point. The current PM, Vivek Suri was leaving with short notice as he had a personal crisis. Ramesh was expected to step in for this release as an acting PM. Vivek had a week to leave and will handover the responsibilities to Ramesh. This sounded pretty exciting to Ramesh until it slowly dawned on him that he had not much experience in managing a project all by himself. Sure he had helped Vivek on and off but that’s not the same as taking on the entire responsibility. In addition, there were some difficult senior technical people in the team. He did not have to deal with their idiosyncrasies in the past because it was Vivek’s responsibility. Now it’s going to be his. This, on top of doing all the planning and getting work done. He was overwhelmed, excited, afraid all at the same time. Lakshmi watched him and asked him to meet her later in the afternoon to go over the details. She asked him to come up with a plan of action of what he would like to do.
If you were Ramesh, what would be the top 5 actions for the next few days?
Since Ramesh has very limited time to pick up the ropes of project management, he would need to rely heavily on the collective knowledge that already exists in the project. If he takes the following steps, he has a great chance of succeeding with the project.
- Meet with Vivek and get to understand the overall project scenario including the team, clients and other stakeholders.
- Meet with key stakeholders and introduce himself and get to know them, understand their expectations.
- Meet the team after the formal announcement and seek their collaboration in the changed circumstances. Meet team members individually as well, to get to know them.
- Meet with the senior and difficult team members and understand their approaches and expectations.
- Seek the DM’s help and guidance on a regular basis by setting up formal meeting times to give an update and get direction. Request her to level set the expectations of the stakeholders.
- Get a crash course on project management, if possible. Understand the PM process expectations and seek team’s assistance to help in some of the activities. Get DM’s buy-in.
- Identify people from the team who could be possible second level leaders and discuss what kind of responsibilities they could help with. Discuss how the additional responsibilities could be of value to them.
Sure these are more than five actions. But you may have got the drift by now, what his initial steps must be, in order to get to a good start in the project.