Managing internal projects

As a project manager, being assigned an internal project can be a breath of fresh air, albeit one with caveats. Perhaps you’re overseeing work on an internal productivity tool, or migrating a business process from a legacy system to a new one. Regardless of the circumstances, when your colleague suddenly becomes your client, there are steps you need to take to ensure the project is a success.

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Can a Project Manager Overplan?

As a project manager, I’m always planning. I’m planning out full projects or working with a team to define the scope of a single sprint. Each day, I’m planning for the future, but I’m also developing mini-plans to weather the circumstances of the day. Everything that happens in and around a project is something to be measured, analyzed, documented, and woven into a project’s continuous fabric.

So, with all this planning, can a project manager ever do enough of it? Is the potential planning for a project infinite or will a PM always hit a point of entropy, after which any planning is just wasted energy spent on ineffective efforts?

The short answer is “No,” and the longer answer is “Gosh Yes.”

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“QA Will Give Me a Bug-free Website” and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves

If you work for a large corporation or on a project with limitless coffers, you have likely enjoyed working with a dedicated QA team. You build the website or oversee the coding efforts then hand off your labors to a separate team who systematically kicks the tires and identifies bugs with your work, reporting back on everything.

But, for the bulk of web work, QA and testing is not done by a standalone team with that single purpose. Rather, it’s one of many hats worn by everyone on a build team. Whether you’re a developer or a designer or a PM, everyone has a role in the QA process.

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Estimate It Live

Often during a client meeting, there are times when a defined scope of work is hypothetically augmented by a simple “could it do this?” or “can it do that?” comment. Invariably, the answer to such inquiries is a “yes” followed by an immediate “but” (#newbandname #immediatebut). Unless the request is fully impossible—e.g. Can this website teleport me to a bouncy house containing a million fat-free-but-still-good-tasting all-beef cheeseburgers served on levitating golden plates of pure love?—with infinite time and budget, nearly anything is possible on the web.

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