Guide: How to Lead a Project

Drive: Always be Making Progress #

  • Prepare and manage the project’s timeline. Any project longer than 4 weeks should be broken into shippable milestones that build upon each other. Proactively identify the unknowns, risks, blockers.
  • Break down the work, delegate, and follow-up. Remove blockers wherever you can for the team. (Use JIRA epics and tickets, or Linear projects etc.)
  • Don’t stay blocked — if consensus is needed to move forward, escalate ASAP. Ask for help, and consider leaning on the individuals identified as Consulted. If you need information, reach out to Subject Matter Experts and other consultants.
  • At each juncture, determine and communicate the current line of pursuit for the rest of the team working on the project.

Suggested Routine #

Every morning, review all work streams for your project, and ask the following questions:

  • What are the next steps?
  • Which milestones need to be created or updated? Who needs help? Who is blocked?
  • What can I do to resolve each blocker?

Take Ownership #

  • Understand the Why. Ask questions, collect the context you need, and make sure you understand the goals and intents of the project.
  • Identify stakeholders and understand downstream impact.
  • Consistently reevaluate with each iteration whether the current line of pursuit addresses the goals and intents of the project, and whether they need to be refined.
  • Define the Key Result during quarterly planning. Connect it back to the 12-month mission.
  • Conduct a retrospective at the end of the project.
  • On occasion “what’s the problem you are trying to solve” stops being a good question after a few cycles. Instead, connect the project’s goals to the team’s 12- month mission, or PG OKRs.

Share Updates: Keep Stakeholders Informed #

  • Communicate concisely and frequently. Ensure that the individuals named as Consulted and Informed are kept informed.
  • Share status updates with the immediate team. Update JIRA and Gantt charts regularly.
  • Schedule and share demos with broad audiences. Collect and address concerns from stakeholders.
  • Collect and address feedback from adopters.