Is project management more about dealing with people?… Or numbers? Find out in the first episode of our new series where Andrej explains anything and everything about project management!
So, you think that project management is about dealing with people mostly. You know, you imagine that you will be sitting in the meetings, leading your team to victory, talking days on the phone, creating solutions, and so on. Well, in this video, I’m going to tell you that you’re wrong, especially if you’re a junior project manager just starting out, and your main role is to get the projects done.
First of all, let me start by saying what I think is the definition of a project manager. The project manager is there to manage a project, which basically means you get a request from client at the start, and then you have some time to get a project done and deliver it by the deadline. First of all, these two dates – when we start a project, and when we finish our numbers – and then, the time that we have in between, either it’s five days, couple of weeks or months, that is a number as well that you need to work with. Okay, so during this time that we have, the duration of the project, that’s when you need to get the project done. Now, between this and this, what we do is called the scope of the project.
So, what are all the tasks that we need to get done so that the project can be considered a success? Question is, are we translating one file? Or is it 600 files? Are we translating 50 words? Or is it 10,000 words? So, for every task that you do, we need to somehow measure the size of the effort. What is the word count? How many hours we need to spend on DTP, review and QA? And so on. So, all of these things are more numbers. Now, if by any chance you get in a position where you need to split some of the tasks, so you have more people working on a task, you will again need to play with the numbers. Because the more people you have, the less time you will need. Then, for each of the task that you do within your project timeframe, you will need to have specific start and end dates for each of these tasks that you can actually see that it makes sense, that we can complete each task before the end of the project. So, every task will have its start, finish date and its own duration the same way that the whole project has.
And finally, we’re getting to the most important part because everything is about money, right? We are doing the project for a client and the client is supposed to pay us. For every task that you have within your scope, there will be a price list existing for this client with even more numbers for each different task and for each different language combination. But then, as you know, we are not doing all the tasks in-house. We outsource some of the things so we need to pay our vendors for that. And the vendors, they have their own rates, which are different from the client. Of course, that’s how the company makes money. And, the rates are again more numbers. This leads to invoicing and POs – formal documents, which contain a lot of numbers that you need to get right. Because, POs, invoices lead to actually transferring money in and out of the company.
Now, at the end of the project, what you might want to look into is the profit margin. So, how much money you made and how profitable this project or this client is. So again, more numbers that you need to be aware of. The bonus thing, project management is largely about dealing with changes, okay. Shit will happen during your project. And the good project managers, in my opinion, are the ones who can navigate these changes and adapt.
So, if the client changes the scope, or they want something done in less time, you need to think about what is the impact on the schedule? What is the impact on the scope? Do we do less? Do we do more? Do we need more people? Do we need less people? And how does this all impact the budget? These are the things that you need to be constantly aware of, because to me, project management is a lot about processing and dealing with information. And, a lot of this information is expressed in numbers. So, does it mean that if I want to be a project manager, I need to be good at math? Well, you don’t need to know advanced calculus. The math I think is very, very simple. But you need not to be scared of numbers. You need to pay attention to the numbers because if you get the numbers wrong, you can communicate wrong dates to the vendors that will be pissed. You can totally mess up the invoices, you can mess up the POs. That’s about money. People don’t like when you screw up the money. And, when it comes to the scope, if you get the scope wrong then, the vendors will be confused because they will have different idea about what to do than what you just told them.
Okay, so if I had to pick let’s say, a Silent Bob who has absolutely no charm and doesn’t want to speak to people. But, Silent Bob gets his numbers correct, shares the numbers correctly with everyone and gets the project done, I would pick Silent Bob over someone who has so much charm, you know, can crack jokes all the time and speak about the waiter for hours and everybody loves this person but when it comes to the actual execution of the project, well, they don’t get it always right. There are mistakes here and there and you know, customers and vendors, at some point, they will get pissed even though this person is super charming. So if you have people skills, that’s all good, but I think to me that is the second level, like, how you can elevate your project management up.
First, you need to get your execution of project planning, adapting to changes and sharing the information and being good with the numbers right first. Because I think that’s what is important when it comes to project management. And then, on top of that you can build with your excellent persona, communication skills, leadership and whatever. So, this is just my opinion on project management. Why I think it’s more about the numbers rather than dealing with people. Hopefully, if you find any value in this video, let me know below. Let me also know what you think about this. Maybe I will be doing more videos like this where I share my experience and opinion or some of the project management topics. If you want to stay with the series, please make sure you subscribe and I’ll see you in some other video. Bye bye!