Thoughts on Project Management

I’ve always considered myself to be an organized person. Project management is appealing to me because it requires an organization of people, ideas, places, and events. Grad school has been very enjoyable for various reasons, but the ability to gain even more experience with managing teams has been great.

As I mentioned on a previous post, I am currently:

  • continuing development of an Android app in hopes of getting start-up funding
  • working with the CDC/Georgia WIC to develop technology for developmental information distribution
  • working on an app with the experimental television lab to make television viewing more social
  • writing music for a video game set in the Ellis Island period of the U.S.
  • writing my own music
  • taking a class on information visualization
  • potentially entering the CHI Student Design Challenge
  • applying to full-time jobs
  • visiting my girlfriend once a month, which requires planning for ideal ticket prices and also planning when to do extra amounts of work since those visits don’t allow much time for schoolwork

Some general thoughts on what helps me keep track of all these things:

  • Software. Part of the reason why I switched from my iPhone to an HTC One is because of the seamless integration between Gmail, Google Tasks, and Google Calendar. 
  • Effective task list management. I list things in order of importance and have a daily tasks list for goals each day and week, as well as a monthly tasks list for more long-term assignments.
  • Planning each day with purpose. Right before going to sleep, I think of what I need to get done the next day and adjust my to-do list as needed. After I wake up, I shower and drink coffee and eat breakfast. During that time, I literally envision what it is I need to get done and estimate how long it will take me to get those things done. The reason why I do this the day of is to take into account how I am feeling that day. Some days are excellent and I know I’m gonna be super productive from the beginning. Other days I might feel sick or more out of it, meaning that I know I’m probably gonna lose 1-2 hours of productivity. Happens to all of us, but by adjusting expectations, I can decide how to allocate my time. For example, if one day I need to prepare for a meeting at 1 pm and work on homework due in two days, I would spend more time preparing for the meeting if I felt drowsy and put the homework off since I know I’m gonna need every minute due to lowered productivity. 
  • Envisioning each project with purpose. It’s hard enough to get your own act together, but it’s especially important to plan a trajectory for each team you work on. You need to get to know your teammates inside and out. What makes them motivated? How can you help them? How can they help you? In summary, you need to know how long it’s going to take for them to do a task given their skill set and personality. It’s your job to make sure they have the resources and will power to commit to something they can do and make good on that promise.
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