In an effort to change things up from the usual New Years
resolution list of things to do, I thought it would be just as valuable to make
note of what not to do in the
upcoming year. Print out this list or bookmark it and keep it handy. The format
should make it is easy to look over on a regular basis during all phases of a
project to make sure you’re not falling into any bad habits.

  1. Don’t lose focus. It is very easy
    to be motivated when starting a new project. It is not so easy to maintain
    that same vigor and energy a few months into it. Become a good finisher,
    not just a good starter.
  2. Don’t rush in. Remember, the
    sooner you start, the later you finish. Improper planning costs you big
    throughout the life of a project. Don’t succumb to pressure to just start
    cranking away without following basic project management methodologies.
  3. Don’t always say yes. Trying to
    include all of the functionality up front is a recipe for cooking up an
    over-budget and over-the-deadline project with a side order of negative
    ROI. Learn to be selective. It is an art, and one that you will get better
    at with time. Show the project sponsor the critical components that need
    to be included, and let them know why you wish to exclude the
    non-essentials. It is usually the seemingly small non-essentials that can
    cost you the most time and money.
  4. Don’t take sides in a political battle.
    Stay neutral. ‘Nuff said.
  5. Don’t forget to communicate. If
    communication is not your strong point, find someone on the project team
    who is good at it. If you usually get knee-deep in the technical aspects
    of the project, it is easy to ignore the communication issues. Make sure
    you or someone you trust is keeping the right people informed.
  6. Don’t put the wrong people in the
    wrong roles
    . An apple is still an apple, even if you color it orange
    and put a Sunkist sticker on it.
  7. Don’t let any one individual on the
    team burn out
    . We all have to put in late hours here or there, but
    don’t let anyone continue to do so for an extended time without taking a
    break. It’s just not healthy.
  8. Don’t make up excuses. If you made
    a mistake (which we all do), admit it and fix it.
  9. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver.
  10. Don’t ignore problems. Prevent
    small problems from becoming large ones. Ignoring them will come back to
    haunt you.
  11. Don’t forget to keep the big picture
    in mind
    . There is a delicate balance between processes and resources
    that we must maintain. It is our job to ensure that things come together
    at the right time and for the greater purpose of the project.
  12. Don’t forget about your team. Remember
    to keep them motivated and informed.
  13. Don’t take all the credit. As
    Harry Truman once said, “It is
    amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

Keep on track in the New Year