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Intro

In this blog, I am going to share some of the lessons I have learned during the time when I was acting as the project manager.

I am dedicating this blog to everyone who is interested in gaining some insights on how to be a good team leader and more importantly my friends who are about to be the next project leader!

If you want to read more about what went down during that week, I have done a comprehensive retrospective in my last blog post, you are very welcome to check it out.

 

The responsibilities

I got a lot of inspiration from the previous project leader Jay. Taking into consideration my observation of Jay’s leadership, his tips to me, and my interpretation of the role, this is what I think a leader should do.

  • Ensure the project is delivered within the timeframe
  • Ensure the deliverables meet the client’s specifications as closely as possible
  • Think ahead of everyone, you need to think about every possibility (where it could go wrong, how can we prevent it)
  • Fill the gap (when we are understaffed, you will need to communicate with your team and pick up the tasks they cannot get to in time)
  • Be helpful (although Beth is available as our technical consultant, you are responsible for all non-technical problems throughout the project. E.g. deciding the best tool to use, schedule meetings etc.)

 

My tips for project leaders

Tips #1: Things to think about for the requirements

It is always important to think about the requirements of the project in terms of the following elements:

  • Who the user is?
  • What is the purpose of the project
  • What is the goal of the project
  • What is the biggest pain point with the existing solution
  • What is the priority of each requirement

Tips #2: Project Life Cycle

When you start a project, the first thing is always written down the project life cycle. For example

This is a high-level view consisting of all the components involved in the project. I recommend making this into a Business Process Diagram so that you can visualize the whole process which makes it easier to keep track of the progress. You can use this free online tool to make The BPD.

Tips #3: Scrum

Then you would want to break it down into SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, Time-bound) tasks. For example,

In Microsoft Teams, you can use a Scrum App to divide the high-level tasks into these sub-level tasks. You can set the description and title of these tasks, and deadlines and assign them to the corresponding member.

It is very useful because the team understands their responsibilities perfectly, and they can manage and execute the tasks at their own pace. As a project leader, it is very easy to monitor the progress.

Of course, there is more to it than what I have listed here, but these are what I think to be the most important aspects that a leader should look out for.

 

Outro

In conclusion, taking on the role of a project leader can be an immensely enjoyable experience. If you relish being at the centre of operations and gaining a comprehensive perspective, it’s an endeavour worth exploring. The journey offers profound learning opportunities for everyone engaged. Embrace the fact that perfection is elusive; instead, use the chance to make mistakes and extract valuable lessons from them.

The only drawback, perhaps, lies in occasional periods of inactivity, where your involvement might be limited to observing from the sidelines. This can be challenging, especially if you thrive on actively participating in tasks. However, it’s an aspect to consider if you prefer a more hands-on approach.

Anyway, I hope this blog is helpful. If you have any questions for me, please do not hesitate to come to me. I am very happy to help and good luck if you are the next project leader!

Let the micromanage begin!

John Lyu
Author: John Lyu

John is deeply passionate about data and firmly believes in its transformative power, especially in areas like Machine Learning, Data-Centric AI (DCAI), and Storytelling with data. He is extremely excited about opportunities to test his knowledge and expand his industry insights, such as Kaggle competitions and visualization contests. John thrives on collaboration, enjoying the experience of working alongside talented colleagues and learning from their expertise. In his free time, John enjoys playing basketball, hitting the gym, and hanging out with friends. He is also a trading card collector. He enjoys making new friends, so be sure to come and say hi.