CMSExpo: Killer Project Management Panel

Our CMS Mythbuster panel on tips and tricks for Killer Project Management at CMS Expo 2012 turned out to be a big hit. The panel was moderated by myself and included the following panelists:

The session was very well attended and nobody on the panel was skewered on the twitter back channel. To the contrary, there were some great virtual comments in addition to fantastic questions in the room during the session.

As the session unfolded the panel and audience narrowed in on a set of personality characteristics and activities a person should cultivate and prioritize if they would like to be a truly ‘killer’ project manager in the CMS business. For many, a killer project manager’s priorities are fairly well known and obvious but we should share them nonetheless:

  • Scope
  • Schedule
  • Budget
  • Expectations
These are the four things a project manager should be aware of and actively managing at all times. What is the scope of your project? Is your team building to scope? What’s the schedule? Are you one day ahead? Two days behind? Where are you on budget today? Are your clients expectations being met? Are their expectations reasonable and appropriate? Does your team know what’s expected of them to be successful?

A killer project manager should know the answer to these questions (and more) at all times. He or she should also know what the appropriate path is if the answer to any of these questions is not aligned with a successful outcome.

The other side of our discussion was focused on personality characteristics. Everyone in the room, whether they were a client side stakeholder, designer, engineer, project manager, or small business CEO, all agreed 100%: The most important characteristic of a killer project manager must be excellent COMMUNICATION skills.

Emma Jane shared some fantastic insight on knowing the various stakeholders within an organization as individuals. She suggested it is important to understand not only what their role is within the context of the team, but understand whether they are one of your cheerleaders or naysayers. To add to that, she pointed out the importance of knowing how to use both.

Towards the bottom of the hour another critical aspect of being an exceptional project manager emerged. Something that truly separates the Padwan from the Jedi (so to speak): Leadership. It’s sort of appropriate it took a while to get to this topic, although it would have been great to have more time to unpack such a loaded term. Nevertheless, it’s impossible to lead until you know where you are going and so covering the fundamentals was the right place to start.

However, once a project manager understands what is expected of them and the people on their team…And how to execute the steps in a project, what’s left is to make the project the best possible experience it can be for everyone involved with positive energy, confidence and compassion.

About the Author
Jake DiMare

Jake has spent the last 15 years helping organizations plan, design, develop, and implement effective online experiences with a strong focus on large scale web content management systems and integrated online marketing suites. Jake wrote for the CMS Myth during his time working at Connective DX (formerly ISITE Design). Google Plus Profile

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