10 Hacks I Wish I Knew 10 Years Ago (expanded)

Use these hacks to power up your project management career.

Read Time: 4 minutes.

As a project manager, I've learned valuable lessons that reshaped my approach to leading teams and managing tasks.

Initially, I followed traditional practices: structured meetings, firm plans, and a strict hierarchy.

However, the evolving work environment prompted me to explore more innovative strategies.

Through experimentation and research, I discovered unconventional yet effective methods—like swapping meetings for memos and seeing the unique potential in every team member.

These approaches, supported by data from project management studies, not only improved project outcomes but also boosted team morale.

This experience taught me that successful project management is about adaptability, open communication, and embracing diverse talents to achieve and surpass our objectives.

10 Hacks I Wish I Knew 10 Years Ago

  1. Skip the Meeting, Send a Memo: 

    ➟ In the past, the default approach was to hold meetings for nearly every issue, big or small. However, I've come to realize the efficiency of a well-crafted memo. Such memos can convey necessary information succinctly, saving considerable time and allowing team members to focus on their tasks. This approach not only streamlines communication but also reduces unnecessary disruptions in the workflow.

  2. Over-Plan, Then Ignore the Plan:
    ➟ There was a time when we adhered rigidly to our plans, viewing them as unchangeable roadmaps. I now understand the value of thorough planning and the importance of being flexible and adapting to changing circumstances. This approach allows for a well-thought-out foundation while leaving room for innovative responses to unforeseen challenges.

  3. Encourage Healthy Rebellion: 
    ➟ Traditionally, organizations operated under strict hierarchies, which often stifled creativity. I've learned that encouraging team members to challenge ideas and norms respectfully can lead to a more dynamic and innovative workplace. This 'healthy rebellion' fosters a culture of continuous improvement and creative problem-solving.

  4. Turn Failures into Festivals: ➟ In the past, failures were often swept under the rug, seen as embarrassments rather than opportunities. I now know the value of openly celebrating and learning from failures. This approach not only boosts team morale by removing the stigma of failure but also accelerates progress by turning setbacks into valuable learning experiences.

  5. The 'Lazy' Team Member is Your Asset: 
    ➟ The team members often labeled as 'lazy' were typically overlooked or undervalued. However, these individuals can be hidden gems, frequently seeking the most efficient ways to complete tasks. Recognizing and leveraging their ability to find shortcuts and streamline processes can increase efficiency.

  6. Ditch Consensus for Speed: 
    ➟ The pursuit of consensus is used to dominate decision-making processes, but this often leads to delays and diluted decisions. I now appreciate the effectiveness of decisiveness, even if it means not everyone agrees. Making bold decisions quickly can lead to faster results and inject dynamism into the team.

  7. Forget Work-Life Balance, Embrace Work-Life Integration: 
    ➟ Previously, there was a strong emphasis on separating work and personal life. However, integrating these aspects can lead to more satisfied and productive teams. This approach acknowledges that personal and professional lives are intertwined and that respecting this intersection can enhance well-being and efficiency.

  8. Reject Perfectionism for 'Good Enough': 
    ➟ The pursuit of perfection often resulted in delays and missed opportunities. Embracing a 'good enough' mentality doesn't mean compromising quality but focuses on efficiency and practicality. This mindset can accelerate project delivery and reduce the paralysis often accompanying perfectionism.

  9. Value Emotional Intelligence Over IQ: 
    ➟ The focus used to be predominantly on technical skills and intellectual prowess. However, emphasizing emotional intelligence more strongly can lead to more robust, cohesive teams. Emotional intelligence fosters better collaboration, conflict resolution, and resilience, which are crucial for a thriving workplace.

  10. Make Your Office a 'No Status' Zone: 
    ➟ Traditional office environments often emphasized hierarchy and titles, which could stifle open communication and collaboration. Creating a 'no status' zone, where titles and hierarchy are downplayed in daily interactions, gives every team member’s voice equal weight. This fosters a more inclusive and creative environment, encouraging diverse ideas and perspectives.

Immediate Action Steps:

  1. Swap meetings for memos to boost efficiency.

  2. Plan well, but adapt quickly.

  3. Encourage team members to challenge ideas.

  4. Turn failures into learning opportunities.

  5. Utilize 'lazy' team members for innovative efficiency solutions.

  6. Prioritize quick decision-making over consensus.

  7. Integrate work and life for better team satisfaction.

  8. Choose 'good enough' over perfection to speed up projects.

  9. Value emotional intelligence as much as technical skills.

  10. Create a workplace where every voice is equal, regardless of status.

  11. Embrace change and continuous improvement in project management.

Now I’m On Twitter:

Many of you found my content on LinkedIn, where I post 1 insight tip daily.

Now, I’m also on Twitter! You can follow me here to get 3 different project management tips daily. These will be different than what I posted on LinkedIn.

So, your free content from me will be:

Newsletter - 2x per week
LinkedIn - 1x per day
Twitter - 3x per day

That’s 30 FREE unique tips on project management every week for you.

Hopefully, I’m delivering a ton of value.

Top Posts From This Week

In case you missed them, here are my top 3 posts from the last week.

Until next time my friends,


P.S. Join 600+ pros mastering efficient project management with my playbook.
These are the exact systems I’ve used to manage projects for 21 years.
Get 70% Off Today. Download My Full Playbook.

Thank you for reading. 

Do your network (and me) a favor and forward this to your peers. Are you the person who had this email sent to them? Welcome aboard! Get it delivered to your Inbox 2x a week by subscribing here.

At least twice a week, over 45,000+ project managers receive one game-changing strategy by email and social. Projects Right is your premier newsletter serving project managers.

Trusted By Project Managers At Fortune 500 Companies Like: