Introduction to Project Management | Nicole Kamra | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (13m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Getting Started: The Project Spec

    • 3. Defining Accountability

    • 4. Planning

    • 5. Collaboration

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About This Class

Managing complex projects can be tricky. Whether you are working on a big marketing launch, a new product ship, or even a personal project like buying a house, this class is a great starting point for learning how to be a great project manager. We'll cover:

  • How to set your project up for success
  • How to get buy-in from clients and stakeholders
  • Helpful tools for keeping your project organized
  • How to delegate and build influence with your team

As we go through the class, you'll use the tips and resources to set your own project up for success.

Class Resources: 

Recommended Reading: 

Helpful Tools: 

Meet Your Teacher

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Nicole Kamra

Head of Teacher Community, Skillshare


Nicole manages the teacher community here at Skillshare. Wearing a lot of different hats over the past 4 years, she's managed a variety of projects including growing the teacher community, expanding into new markets, and building the team and culture at Skillshare. Prior to this, she also worked at Google and a few other startups in New York and San Francisco.

Currently in New York City, Nicole would love to talk with you about building startups and teaching on Skillshare.

See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi there, and welcome to class on Introduction to Project Management. I'm Nicole, and I'll be teaching this class so a little bit about me. I've worked here at skill share for about four years. Ah, and today I run the team that supports our entire teacher community. Before that, I also worked at Google and a couple of of other start ups and have managed a variety of projects from changing our business model. Here. It's cool share toe launching new markets to reorganizing teams on. I wanted to share with you some of the best practices I've learned over the years. So let's get started with what is project management. I found this great quote from an article on what makes great project managers, and I've shared that article in the class resources, but it really resonated with me on what it means to be a good project management. So ah, project manager is supposed to be a leader, a facilitator and advisor and an advocate not just for the project but also for the team, the business in the cause. And I think this is really great because it shows how being a good project manager is so much more than just completing a project on time and on scope, which is a trap that many new project managers fall into but really emphasizes how much of a leader you have to be as a great PM. So what are the responsibilities of a good project? Management Number one is to deliver on business outcomes. So obviously making sure the project you've set out to complete its goals are completed. Managing expectations is also really important. As a project manager, a lot can go wrong in a project on It's your job to communicate that and let people know what's happening and where the projects dance. Client satisfaction is really, really important. So it's important to make sure that the client is satisfied and knows what's going on. Um, whether the client is your boss, the exact team at a company or an external client that is paying you for your services. Obviously, them being satisfied with the job that you and your team provide is super important. But also it's making sure that the team you're working with is satisfied as well. So as a project manager, you're managing a lot of different people on good PM's find ways to build trust and advocate for the teams they're working with, as well as for the clients. They're working for trades of successful PM's organization, so all provide lots of tools for keeping track of projects later in the class, but with lots of moving pieces and deadlines. Organization is key communication again. I just mentioned this, but it can be set. It can't be said enough communication is crucial for success is a PM whether it's managing up about changing priorities or downwards to your team delegation. You can't do everything so good PM's or great Della Gators, and I'll give some tips for learning how to share the workload with your team and collaborate. And finally, problem solving things will always come up. There will always be roadblocks. It's your job to solve those and clear them out. If you take anything away from this class, it should be the number one rule of project management, which is no surprises. Things go wrong, they get delayed and guess you'll do your best to make sure those things don't happen. But when they dio, it's your job to communicate and make sure that there are no surprises what will cover in this class? So how to set your project up for success, how to get buying from clients and stakeholders, helpful tools for keeping your project organized and how to delegate and build influence, So let's get started. 2. Getting Started: The Project Spec: all right, so getting started managing your project. So there are lots of different ways to put together a projects back or what some people call a project charter. But basically a project speck is a high level overview of the most important parts of your project. Ah, and it's one location or document where everyone involved in the project can get aligned on the scope and the details. I've actually provided a template that you're welcome to use in the resource is. But whatever format you use, make sure that your projects beck includes the most following important things. So number one is the objective. What is the business goal of your project? Number two? What's the scope? What's included in the project and what's not. Sometimes it can be just as important to clarify what you're not doing. Resource is what resource is. Will you need to complete the project? We're talking about time headcount, budget space, you name. It can all fit in here in this section. Timeline. How long will the project take and finally risks what? What could go wrong and how are you going to plan against that? So, for this class, I've actually put together an example of a project I'm managing right now, which is planning a fundraiser for a non profit. I've used my template and included in the Resource is. But for a high level overview, I'll just walk through the main tenets of the project. So number one the objective of the objective for this gala is to raise $10,000 for the nonprofit I'm working with because the organization is a charity. This is one of the only income streams that allows the organization toe provided services. So you know, it's really important that I'm stating the objective and why it's important, because down the line it's really easy to lose this sometimes. So an example might be someone's thinking about the decorations, their spending and thinking. Hey, you know, I want to make sure this gala is the prettiest it can possibly be, which might make it more justifiable for them to spend a lot of money on decorations. But if we come back to the objective, it's easy to come back and say, Hey, that's actually not the goal on Here's why if if we spend that extra money, we won't raise as much for Ah, the charity and we won't meet our objective for scope. Um, I've included everything that you know only too due to plan for the event like food and drink and decorations and nailing down the venue, inviting people and then actual than itself. Resource is what will need budget wise and time wise from the people planning the event with B. How long for six weeks and and again the biggest rest. So tying back to the objective, we failed to hit our fundraising goals. So now it's your turn. So take a project you're working on and try filling out the example Template, um, include these key tenets of any good projects back. If you share it with me in the project gallery, I'd be happy to give you feedback. 3. Defining Accountability: Okay, So one of the most important things to do when kicking off a project is to define accountability. It's important because it defines your scope as the project manager and lets you know what decision making power you have. First is your manager the client. So if something comes up, you know if you can make a game time decision or if you have to level it up, it also helps limit confusion between stakeholders on who's responsible for what, and we all know what happens when it's not clear who is responsible for something. It just doesn't get done. And if you're the project manager and something doesn't get done, you're ultimately responsible. So it's a great way to make sure that balls don't get dropped. There are lots of great frameworks for designating responsibility, but I've included one of my favorites, which is the rapid framework, which was developed by the consulting firm Bain. In this framework, there are five designations of responsibility. Recommend, agree, perform, initiate and decide. So for the fundraiser, my job is to recommend the committee has input, um, and will perform different tasks. But ultimately the director is the decider. Um, and At the end of the day, all of us need to agree. So now in your project spec, go ahead and designate the stakeholders levels of responsibilities using this framework. If you ever working on a project and you just don't know who's who's responsible on easy thing to do is just ask Hey, who's the final decision maker here? 4. Planning: now for planning. So for every project you'll need to tackle it in three steps. Step one is breaking down the project into every single task that needs to get done. Step two is assigning these tasks to different stakeholders, and Step three is organizing these tasks into a timeline. So this section of the class goes through a few helpful frameworks and tools for planning your project and keeping everything organized. When you first it down and start managing a project, you need to sit down and think through all the tasks that need to be done. Ah, work breakdown structure is a helpful framework for organizing all these tasks into manageable sections. Here. I've taken the event I'm planning and organized all of the tasks into theme sections. So we have everything we need to do before the event at the event, and then everything's organized in sections. That makes sense. So when you're in this phase of the project, make sure you're keeping in mind the intended outcomes and then back into everything else that needs to get done. If you'd like, you can pause the class here and head to the resource is where there's a template to do this for your own project. Go ahead and organize all the task you have using the structure and then shared in the project gallery. So once you breaking down your your project into every single delivery herbal, you can start to assign these tasks and format them into a timeline. I've organized my tasked into again chart here where I've kept the structure I used before but now have added owners and key dates onto the tasks When planning a timeline for a project. It's so, so, so important to make sure you're allocating enough time. The number one reason projects fail is because timelines are too tight. A few tips for managing a timeline is number one level up tight timelines in advance. You know, you know, for something I might say, Hey, we might have a hard time getting food vendors, So I'm gonna start that a little bit earlier than we need to just to give myself a good window. We've indicated that in the chart by giving it a a few weeks where the bar is yellow. So you comptel. Hey, we're starting this early so we make sure we have time to finish it when doing a timeline. It's also a great time to highlight if there any dates that are non negotiable. So in my example, we're doing everything before the main date that's non negotiable is the day of the event. Um, so you know, we can say, Hey, we can be flexible. And maybe, you know, we can do the food, you know, the last week or, you know, coming up to the event. But at the end of the day, everything has to be done by the day of the event. It's really important that everyone working on the project understands which ones are non negotiable. So in the same spreadsheet with the work breakdown structure, I've included a chart you can use to format that into a timeline for your project. So ah, go ahead and pause and then fill that out as a next step for the project you're working on for this class. While I hope you find these tools I put together helpful. They're actually aton of tools available that do a great job of helping you plan out a project. Um, and you can do it all in one place. So two of these tools I have selected and wanted to share with the class. So first is asana, which is great for both listing out tasks, work breakdowns and assigning those tasks to people in dates. You can organize it into calendars, trickle email reminders and drop comments. Ah, and it's free for up to 15 people. So is a great option for when you're working on a project with a small group. Ah, and trouble was also a great tool, which eyes organized just more horizontally. But it is also fantastic, and they have a free, limited feature virgin that you can use for as many users as you like. I've included a link to both in the resource is of a class, so go ahead and check them out before you start your next project. 5. Collaboration: All right. So for the finalists. And I want to talk about collaboration. So even if you aren't a people manager, when you're managing a project to be successful, you have to learn how toe work with others. If you could get everything done on your own, you just be doing your own work. You wouldn't be managing a project. So one of the best things you can do when running a project is to have a kid colt kickoff meeting where you go over the project with everyone involved together in a room. This is a great time to introduce the team, review this back and open up the floor for questions. You want to clear out all of the uncertainties at the beginning of the project, so opening up the Florida questions and input right now is the best thing you can dio. This is also a great time to review the accountability matrix with everyone to make sure its super clear ah, and actually start planning the project together. The more ownership you can delegate out, the better the project will go, For example, working on certain projects, it might make sense to fill in the work breakdown structure together or even a sign sections out to different stakeholders, the more ownership people feel over what they're working on and their ability to come up with their own solution, the more bought in overall they'll feel which will make everything run smoother while delegating a super great because you can't obviously do everything alone. It's also important to not lose touch of what's happening. Even if you aren't doing the work, you are still responsible for keeping a pulse on what's going on. Scheduling regular check ins is a great way to do this, where you can review the progress and blockers on the timeline and person all together as a group. But even outside of those meetings, try and keep an open channel of communication here at scale share. We use black Ah, and for a certain project will start a channel where everyone can talk about things that are happening related to the project in real time. It's a great way to stay connected and for you to make sure everything's on track. Well, I hope this class was helpful in getting started with project management, and you picked up a few tips that can help you along your way. I can't wait to see how your projects go in the project gallery. And if you have any questions, please leave them for me. I'd be happy to help you out. Thanks so much.