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Top 10 Project Management Lessons Learned (Earn 2 PDU’s)

Take a 25 year career shortcut – the ten most important lessons learned in Project Management.
William Stewart PhD, PMP
744 students enrolled
"Outstanding course with priceless pragmatic wisdom – these are the lessons that guarantee project success." – Ken Semerkant, PMP
How the Project Manager can use accountability to become the most powerful and relaxed person on the project.
The magic sentence the PM can use that will maximize the chances of the organization giving you what you need.
Why defining the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) of deliverables makes everything else in PM easy.
How I talked a senior, reluctant, aggressive, and arrogant team into being WBS believers.
A real example of a WBS my team developed for a $140M aerospace project.
Mathematical proof of how powerful the best practice process to develop the Precedence Diagram is!
A real example of a Precedence Diagram my team developed for a $140M aerospace project.
Why risk management makes the entire PM process work, with essential risk planning tips.
Eight common risks it is always worth considering including in your project’s risk register.
Essential tips for monitoring and controling the risk budget as you proceed through your project.
How to defend keeping as much of your risk budget as possible when you are under pressure to give some up.
The two big advantages of deriving the requirements from a higher level description of user workflow.
A story about how backfitting a set of user scenarios at relatively little cost helped reduce millions of dollars of acceptance risk.
Why closing is a separate, organized set of project activities.
An embarrassing story about not formally closing a project procurement, and the process that would have prevented it.
A very useful story about a PM that made all three of the most common mistakes in project management.
The huge benefits of keeping your eye on the top three drivers of project success.
How the PM broadcasting an optimistic and success oriented attitude to the entire team helps maximize project success.
An example of how believing a solution existed, even though we didn’t know what it was, enabled us to shorten a schedule by six months.
A story of how I told the truth when my boss asked me to do something impossible, even though he obviously did not want to hear it.
The three big advantages I gained from repeatedly telling the truth, for my project, my boss, and my own reputation and career.

“Wow, this is great stuff.  If anyone ever asks you “What does a Project Manager do?”, direct them to this course.” – Leah Henig.

From the author of the course Deeply Practical Project Management.  Distilled from more than a quarter century of experience managing projects from just a few thousand dollars up to $55M, and working in senior PM roles on projects up to $3B, this course describes the ten most important lessons that can contribute to your project management success.  The stories draw back the curtain on the Project Manager’s job to show what it really takes to manage in challenging environments over a sustained period.  In only two hours, this course will make these lessons learned yours, and give you a 25 year career shortcut. 

  • The Magic Of Accountability.  Success as a Project Manager starts with understanding how to leverage the incredibly valuable power that comes with accountability.  Once you appreciate how to make accountability work, you realize it’s the most useful attribute you can have, because accountability gives you the *authority* you need to ensure success.  And it usually means you are the most relaxed person on the project (really).  Also includes the magic sentence that will maximize the chances of the organization giving you what you need, along with an example.

  • The Importance Of The WBS.  Why defining scope is the key to managing schedule and budget, and the WBS makes everything else in project management easy.  The simple mnemonic to help you define the scope.  An example of how, as a junior member of a PM team, I once got a very senior, reluctant, and aggressive team to become WBS believers.  A real example of a WBS my team once prepared for a $140M aerospace project.  And a download of the realistic example WBS for the Magical Devices Version 3 project in PowerPoint and PDF.

  • The Power Of Process.  The fundamental reason best practice process is so powerful, and can help you solve even the hardest problems.  Statistical proof of that power.  Why the precedence diagram is your most important PM tool, even more important than the Gantt Schedule.  A real precedence diagram my team prepared for that same $140M aerospace project.  And a download of the realistic example precedence diagram for the Magical Devices Version 3 project in PowerPoint and PDF.

  • Planning The Risk Budget.  Why effective risk management is what makes the entire PM life-cycle work.  Essential risk planning tips.  Eight common risks you should always consider including in your risk register.  Why you should usually actively manage only the top ten risks.  Why you should always include budget for risks that appear to only impact time.  And a download of a comprehensive Excel template to help manage your risk register through all phases of your project, and the realistic example risk register for the Magical Devices Version 3 project.

  • Managing The Risk Budget.  Essential tips for managing the risks once underway.  Real life advice for updating the risk status as your project proceeds.  Why the Project Manager should always slow roll the risk budget reduction.  A rule of thumb for how much risk budget you should have as you proceed.  And the show-stopping sentence that enables you to keep as much risk budget as possible when under pressure to give some up.  Includes a download of the comprehensive risk register for the Magical Devices Version 3 project.

  • Backfitting Scenarios When Needed.  Why project requirements should be derived from higher-level user scenarios.  A story about how backfitting scenarios when I didn’t have them to start with really helped ensure the success of my $20M system integration project.  And how scenario based acceptance testing is two-for-one, convincing the customer the project will do what they need, and *automatically* sign off the requirements at the same time.

  • Make Friends With Procurement.  Why closing is a separate set of activities in project management.  A true, embarrassing, and expensive story about why it is so important to formally close your procurements 😉  How formal procurement closing prevents additional spending even by mistake.  And why the PM should make friends with all the supporting departments, making your job easier and your project more successful.

  • The Top 3 Drivers Of Project Success.  Why we already know most of the problems and solutions in project management.  A true story about a PM that made all three of the most common project management mistakes on a single project.  And how the three most important drivers of project success could have saved him, and $400K.

  • Focus On The Success Path.  The importance of the optimistic, success oriented mindset the PM should broadcast to the entire team.  A famous story everyone should know that illustrates why.  Similar success examples from three other fields.  And a real example of how my team was able to shorten a 3.5 year schedule to 3 years because we believed there was a solution before we knew what it was, and how we did it.

  • The Benefits Of Telling The Truth.  A relatively common situation, a time my boss asked me to do something impossible and save an unsaveable project.  How repeatedly telling him the truth, even when he obviously did not want to hear it, ended up being the best thing I could do for the project, my team, and my boss.  And how telling that truth got me promoted to be functional manager of a 55 person organization very early in my career.

Each chapter also includes a downloadable PDF of the key points of that lesson.  These lessons will help you greatly increase the chances of success for your projects, and accelerate your career.  The course will also earn you two Professional Development Units (PDU’s) in the Business Acumen (Leadership) category.  Take a 25 year shortcut, and make these lessons yours!


William Stewart is a PMI certified Project Management Professional (PMP) who has managed projects for more than 25 years from just a few thousand dollars to $55M, and worked in senior roles on PM teams on projects up to $3B, in the domains of system integration, software, organizational improvement, business process, construction, real estate, research, and others  He has worked for aerospace, government, academia, and founded a software startup.  He has delivered more than 330 live onsite PM courses to more than 3,300 people, and is author of the widely popular Deeply Practical Project Management online course and book.  He has deep experience with project management, risk management, negotiation, systems integration, and software engineering.  He earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science for development of an algorithm that builds multi-dimensional geodesic domes in optimum space and time, which, to his knowledge, has never been used for anything practical 😉

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Top 10 Project Management Lessons Learned (Earn 2 PDU’s)
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