The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world

Replay with additional proactive techniques

With some additional proactive (Quadrant 2 preparation — sign up for the online coaching sessions for more information on this technique), you can perform even better.

You get into the office early because you need to review the results of the overnight test run, and mail in the results before the 9:00am meeting.

“Darn, the overnight test failed at stage 6.  Why did that fail?  I need to figure out why it failed and start it back up.
Oh – the error message says that there are too many input files.  It also states that the unit tests were successfully run with 20 files, which suggested that perhaps more files could be run but it wasn’t guaranteed.   I’ll create a batch file that splits these in 20 file chunks that run them in the background.  In the meantime, I’ll manually run stage 6,7 and 8 on the first 20 files.  At least I will have sample report on the data. 
The time Carl took in making these error messages more user-friendly and understandable really paid off.  I’ll make a parking lot note to thank Carl for the error message AND suggest automating the 20 file-batch  routine.  I’ll also jot down all my notes and steps.  They will be helpful in his automation of the batch pre and post processing.”

You create a batch routine that takes your 1,578 files and parses them into 20 file chunks through stage 6,7 and 8.  Once the first 20 gets through stage 6, they automatically move onto stage 7 and then into stage 8 (while the next 20 are being processed through stage 6, etc).  This way just in case you can’t get through all 1,578 files before the meeting – you’ll still be able to report some preliminary results at the 9:00 meeting.
While those files are running, you create a PowerPoint slide deck on the 20 files that have already completed.  This way, you will only have to update the data, analysis and recommendations at 8:00am.

Co-workers start trickling into the office.  Your tests are still running and your PowerPoint template is complete.  If worse comes to worse, you can present your status with these files.  You take your timer with you to the coffee station and chat with others.  While at the water cooler, you overhear that the email from the executives was just them expressing how appreciative they were of everyone working extra hours to get this product delivery completed.  You were right not to be distracted by those emails — even if they were sent at 2:00am by upper management.

At 8:00am your timer goes off.  You return to your desk to complete your report.  1,000 files fully completed the tests.  You use that data to update your deck.  You take the extra step to create an analysis and next step recommendations.  At 8:30am you see Carl walk down the hall.

Carl: “Hey!  How did those tests go?”
“Great!  Do you have a moment to take a look at the results?  I want to bounce off my analysis and recommendations off you….before the meeting.”
Carl:  “Sure!  “

While you and Carl are reviewing the recommendations, the last 578 files complete.  You and Carl contemplate updating the report.  But decide against it.  The results of the last 578 didn’t change your recommendations and would cause unnecessary panic in updating the slides.  You can safely report that all the tests were completed and are in compliance with these recommendations.

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About the Author

Laura is a Corporate Exit Strategist for the Blooming Entrepreneur. She is a certified business and personal life coach, specializing in time management skills, project management training and work/life balance strategies. She has been in the software and testing industry for over 20 years. She’s worked with such companies as IBM, Ericsson, Staples, Fidelity Investments and Sogeti in various client advocacy and project management roles. The techniques she uses in her business coaching and client advocacy work saved these companies both time and money, which resulted in on-time, quality product delivery with higher client satisfaction. Laura now uses her client focus, project, quality and people management skills in her personal life coaching career. As a personal life coach, she helps people transform their life by integrating their goals and dreams into their everyday lives. Laura uses creative and practical tools to help her clients realize what really matters to them. She helps others to easily transition into their next chapter whether it’s the next ladder of success within their corporate environment or into the entrepreneurial playground. I am not a fan of choosing to act in spite of fear. Rather, together we will collaborate toward a plan of inspired action. We will develop a plan together that you feel confident and excited about. For us, Taking The Leap will be magical, exhilarating and natural. If you are eager to take that next logical step but are unsure what it is signup for the Corporate Exit Strategy Coaching group. We have books, tapes, training materials, twice-monthly group coaching events, 3-day workshops, and individual coaching sessions to help you on your way toward your freedom and prosperity.
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