This topic is a linked part of a larger work: “Edgeryders OÜ Company Manual”
We need to get better at coaching project managers. This starts with clear instructions about what (to us) is obvious but won’t be for n00bs or people who have not worked in corporate environments. For example, don’t get stuck – if you feel things are spiralling out of control or that the collaborators are getting anxious / irritated call for help.
So I thought we can aggregate what we learn from mistakes into a shared wiki that then is shared with everyone the Edgeryders company signs up as subcontractors. It should also be included in the contract as an annex that they have to sign.
Below are some suggestions to get us started with such a project management manual. Please edit where you see fit.
2. Project Management 1×1
Please keep in mind that your client is the Edgeryders company as represented by the person who signed your contract and you report directly to that person. When we work with external clients, we are in corporate space – the Edgeryders company has taken legal and ethical responsibility for delivering the promised results. This means you are expected to respect a non-negotiable hierarchy where the responsible Edgeryders director is “the boss”. You have to get the Edgeryders directors written approval before interacting directly with the external client. This includes any phonecalls, emails, messages in any channel including social media.
Remember the most expensive cost of business is building relationships. We are trusting you with a relationship that a lot of care has gone into building. Our expectation is that you behave gracefully and honestly with the directors of the Edgeryders company and all collaborators and subcontractors. Your job is to make sure everyone’s expectations are harmonized before the kickoff of the project. As well as to be responsive, quick and focused on solving problems that arise at all times with grace. If possible, try to make people feel good about dealing with you and about themselves…a lot of the time when someone hires you to do something it’s because something went wrong earlier in the process with someone else and they’re going to be nervous. Especially if they are working with Edgeryders the first time. If you are not 100% sure about something say you will check, get the answer from the Edgeryders director in charge, and get back to them. Make sure you do get back with a verified answer within 24 hours. Remember, it’s kind of like dating: not knowing is the worst part
You commit to adopting the Edgeryders distributed collaboration workflow and work out loud ethics from beginning to end of this project. This means you commit use the Edgeryders platform (set up a group and add team members on it, and communicate/coordinate work through posts, tasks and wikis) from day one. You are also responsible for describing to anyone you involve in the project how we are going to work and what is expected of them for a successful project outcome. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the platform and work routines before starting the project. Read the user manual and contact the directors for help if you need it.
Your main responsibility as project manager is to make sure all deadlines are respected. This applies both to our deadlines towards the client and their deadlines to give us agreed upon materials or resources. Make sure that we deliver everything in time, and as soon as you get any signs there may be delays you must communicate to the client in writing that we need to push back an agreed upon deadline. Give clients clear guidelines for what is expected of them on which dates (ideally give them templates if possible). Make it clear that the consequences of their not doing those things in time is that they take responsibility for jeopardizing our ability to deliver a high quality, timely and successful project.
What clients want to know is how you are going to fix the problem. Period. They want to know you are on top of things at all times. This never means lying or obscuring the truth. Just having a credible plan and keeping them up to date with how things are progressing. Remember, clients are not interested in excuses for why you cannot do something and they are definitely not interested in whining.
OH NO! SOMEONE FUCKED UP!! What do I do? When things go wrong, ideally when you first start to feel things are not running smoothly ask for help immediately!!. There are five directors Matthias Ansorg, Nadia EL-Imam, Alberto Cottica, Noemi Salantiu and John Coate (with some limited support from Patrick Andrews). Their job is to support you and other community members. So write them and ask for help when you are uncertain or need help with a client project: email@example.com
3. Project managers and the Edgeryders company
If we on the other hand see you are struggling with any of the above (e.g. if a client or subcontractor complains) this is how we deal with it:
We let you know what is happening and have a chat about how to fix it
Where it is super urgent we will just ask you to get certain things done to fix the problem
Take over the project management if we feel you cannot handle it.
In extreme cases we may be forced to cancel your contract with the Edgeryders company if we perceive that your behavior is jeopardizing the project or our client relationship. This is something we really don’t want to have to do because it is bad for everyone, so please help us help one another by taking the guidelines above seriously.