Almost every day in the life of a project manager is different. The challenges, obstacles they face every day, are different. The kind of stakeholders they need to communicate to, are different. In short, days are unpredictable. If at all, I have to sum up a typical day in the life of project manager it is about coordination and control. Yet let me still jot down a typical day of an IT project manager!
I like to get into the office before my team gets in
Checking piles of emails is a challenge and over the years, I am well versed with the science and arts of managing emails!! Voice messages is another thing to check if there is anything about to get into fire-burning mode. Respond to urgent & important emails. Mark emails to get more info from other team members.
I login to project management software & check project progress, update risks, delegate issues. Prepare To-Do list and see all meetings I need to attend, which one I can skip, if there is any customer issue that needs to be addressed ASAP
I join the status call with off-shore team & see if any issue has aroused and if things are progressing as per plan
I pull out of my To-Do list, grab a cup of coffee and make some notes.
Stand-up meeting with the team; check progress made on yesterday's activities, what is today's plan & how I can help them
James, my lead engineer wants to discuss a few issues separately with me & he is pressing for the immediate project meeting. While we are talking, I get a call from Rob, my boss who wants me to join him in his office for a meeting with partner. As it happened in front of James, he agrees for a meeting post-lunch.
Rob, Director of my department wants to discuss a few things. His office is in another building, I walk down there. Meeting has already started, conversation is straight and focused.
Respond to other emails, delegate activities.
Review Meeting: I have to work with my Business Analyst to review project documents & improve those before handing them over to customer
Customer calls up; he says XYZ is not working, ABC has not progressed beyond 60% and he would like to discuss it now. I explain him the technicalities of the issues, he understands it well; provide him furthermore details, ensure him that activities are not getting delayed.
I bring my own lunch. Wait, I am getting a call, Rebecca from Finance is on the line; she is looking for some clarification in invoice-billing to customer. I clarify her doubts. She seems to set for creating invoice. I head for lunch.
I have a cross-functional team (CFT) meeting, also meeting with Project Management Office (PMO) team, Insurance BU, Infrastructure-security and Corporate IT. I realize several new compliances are to be followed. Still I am good with it, since my project has been audited internally since the beginning and we have been proactively working on new compliance. I will talk to quality lead about these; I make a note of it.
James calls me up. We get into a conference room. We discuss his issues. I sense his problem and promise him to discuss positively it with Rob. He seems to be happy with that.
George pings me, he has identified some issues with new technology framework and he says he has emailed this issue to architecture team & can't progress now and will not be able to complete integration by this week. We get into a call. I say, enough of emails and chats. I pull Ramesh, lead architect in the call. He understands what could be missing & promises to address it by EoD.
I have to conduct an interview with a candidate for quality-lead position. This fellow appears process oriented and quite sharp. As usual, I ask him why he is making a switch. Looks like some relocation, family issue. He will be a good addition to our team.
I drop in to Alex's desk. Alex is a program manager. We talk about status of ongoing projects, upcoming projects, we joke, laugh about something funny happened in yesterday's meeting.
I rush to my desk, I check email and respond. I need to re-work the project schedule. I set up a call with Thomas, our business analyst representing customer and his manager – Craig. Based on yesterday's review meeting, we agree to change delivery item for third sprint.
I look at my calendar for tomorrow. I open my To-Do list for today and see what is still pending and call up/write email accordingly. I realize, I could not read some useful and interesting project management and project leadership articles. I remind myself to read it over weekend if not tomorrow!!