Think about the best decisions you’ve ever made in your digital project management career. Which ones had the biggest impact? Which ones are you most proud of?
Maybe you made a decision that changed the course of an entire project, or improved your team’s motivation or your organization’s work environment. As project managers, it’s nice to reflect on your work once in a while and give yourself a pat on the back.
In this article, we’re celebrating the best decisions made by members of our project management community. We asked our community of members and the broader project management community about their best decisions ever.
There were a range of responses—planning decisions, budget decisions, and processes decisions. Here’s our favourites, in no particular order.
In this article
Here’s The 9 Best Decisions Project Managers Ever Made
These are quoted from responses to my question and lightly edited for clarity and length. How does your best decision stack up?
1. Re-Do Someone Else’s Project Discovery
“I re-did someone else’s discovery. If you are ever hired to take over a project, pause and re-do the discovery. We got one month in trying to move the project forward and realized that the discovery was not done well and we needed to reassess. Best decision ever.”
2. Team Member Interviews
“I conducted 30-minute interviews with each team member to just listen to what was working and what their pain points were within our project process. In these discussions I discovered a fixable common issue; the team members felt the PMs were giving them “false deadlines” while the PMs felt they were giving the team ‘wiggle room’.
We all agreed to complete transparency in deadlines with commitment to deliver on the inflexible deadlines which built trust among the PMs and team members.”
3. Involve The Team In Processes
“I engaged the team to be an active part of developing timelines and processes, essentially letting go of some of the things that PMs are expected to solely take on. I found that my team greatly embraces a process that they largely came up with, since it was developed with their needs in mind—they were the ones who came up with it.
I was able to enhance certain areas to improve the efficiency, but having them be the originator of that process turned out great. Often, PMs are the ones who are expected to develop processes and have everyone follow. However, why not involve the users and listen to their needs while you’re doing that? If your users are already involved, you already have their buy-in.”
4. Hire More Project Managers
“My single best decision was to hire more producers! Quality of projects went up significantly when they weren’t stretched so thin.”
5. Fire A Client
“I parted ways with a client team that was toxic and abrasive to the team.
And to hammer that home, my single worst decision was not taking the same course of action for another toxic and abrasive client later down the road.”
Check This Out: Workshop: Don’t Just Manage Your Team, Manage Your Client
7. Have Difficult Conversations
“I started having the difficult conversations! Talking to clients about budget overages can seem difficult but transparency goes a long way.”
8. Implement Resource Management
“I stopped expecting my team to work on multiple things at once. In other words, to grasp and implement resource management.”
9. Establish Rules Of Engagement
“Establish rules of engagement among the project team to build trust and alignment on goals.”
Writer’s note: I made the assumption that by “rules of engagement”, the respondent is referring to a set of shared guidelines or rules for communication, workflow, and teamwork on a project.
Why This Matters
In general, the types of decisions mentioned (decisions about project budget, project closure, project planning, processes, resources, etc.) are made on a daily basis by digital project managers, or even made multiple times a day.
While the data might not be statistically significant, it does provide a little window into the day-to-day of the lives of other project managers in the profession.
Even though digital project managers work in different industries or for different types of organizations, there are lots of commonalities in the work PMs are doing and decisions they are making.
Out of the countless decisions that you’ve made in your career, which is your favourite? Which are you most proud of? Let us know in the comments!
If you’ve ever wondered how technology can make your job easier to do, check this article out: Why Use Project Management Software?
We have a great thread in our member’s forum on using data in making decisions. You can check out the original thread on the best decisions project managers have made here (you’ll have to be a member to read and contribute to threads in our forum).
Ever heard of self-managing teams? If you're wondering what that could mean for you, check this out: Project Teams Without Project Managers: Exploring The PM Dilemma (with Julia Ryzhkova from Railsware)
Also Worth Checking Out: What Is A Digital Project In 2023? Rant + Advice For Adapting