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Tips for the Low-Tech Project Manager

A mature senior male confident in his abilities as a low-tech project manager.When you start working as a project manager you might find that you need to use a lot of computer programs and systems which you had never used before. This might make it seem like a hi-tech sort of role but in my experience this isn’t usually the case for much of time. In fact, if you can sort out the low tech stuff then you will be well on your way to doing a great job without much need for technology.

Manage the Team

A huge part of your role which doesn’t need much technology to do it right is the team management aspect. To be a good project team leader you need to speak to the team members and know how they are getting on and what they need. Even if you aren’t particularly hot on the PC you can still carry out this aspect of the role simply by leading your team in the best way possible. In fact, if you get to know the strengths and weaknesses of your team then you might even find that there is someone in it who is a whizz with technology and who can be trusted to deal with a lot of the issues that come from things you maybe don’t fully understand.

Organize Your Day

Organizing your day is another task which doesn’t need to involve any sort of high-tech solution. With a pen and paper you can write out the list of things you need to do on any particular day. I worked with a colleague who used to get more stressed out about the reminders popping up on his screen than just about anything else. He finally learned that it suited him better to grab a pen and write down what he needed to do. I usually re-write my list at the end of the day, so that it is ready again for the following day. Having an up-to-date and accurate to do list means that there is a lot less information needing to be stored in your head.

Speak to People

A huge part of the project management role involves talking to people. We have already seen how you need to talk to your team members but what about the project sponsor, the stakeholders and the business experts? To keep everyone informed and pulling in the right direction you will need to make a lot of phone calls and hold regular meetings. If this is one of your weaknesses then you will want to sort out some training for it as soon as possible. You need to be able to speak to others about the work you are doing in a professional way and giving a positive impression of what you are doing.

Spot the Risks and Issues

You will use some sort of database for your risks and issues but you should look to keep it as simple and user friendly as possible. You certainly don’t want to spend a lot of time recording and tracking these. A simple and fairly low-tech approach can still give you all of the information you need. Of course, it is what you do this information which matters and if you want to keep the project ticking along nicely then you will need to ensure that the risks and issues are kept firmly under control. To do this you will want to keep an eye on the risk log and make sure that any changes are registered and acted upon as soon as possible.

Watch for Scope Creep

One of the biggest risks for any project is that of scope creep appearing on the horizon. Thankfully this is something which you can handle in a low tech kind of way. The first thing to do is be completely clear about the scope of the work to begin with. If you can do this then you will have the base you need to move forward and control the future of the piece of the work. What you then need to do is be very aware of anyone talking about something which isn’t included in the scope already or receiving requests which would involve making the scope wider. If either of these things happens then you will need a strong change control process in place to deal with it. You definitely don’t want to accept change requests and increase the scope of the project without fully analyzing the impact that this would have on your resources and budget.

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