It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway; question everything.
Whether it’s quotes from suppliers, statistics from your techies, reasons (or excuses) for issues from others involved in your project, you should check for the facts. The more confident you can be in the information you have to hand, the more in control of your project you are. And the more in control of your project you are, the fewer are the number of surprises that are likely to spring out of the woodwork to bite you in the ass.
Now, since you are reading the A-Z, you’re of course a pragmatist; you will know that things will still come out of nowhere to keep you busy, but no point in having avoidable hassle now, is there?
The converse is true too; don’t just question the bad news, verify the good news too. If your team are telling you, “Everything’s fine, we’re on target”, make sure you’re happy they are. After all, if it turns out they’ve been a bit over optimistic, it’ll be you that has to take the bad news to the customer.
So, take nothing at face value, listen to what people have to say, read what they send you, soak up the vibe. At least ask yourself if it makes sense to you and, if it doesn’t ring true, take it up with the source.
Also, if you’re not getting the level of information you want or need, go and ask for it, don’t wait for it to come to you – who’s running this project after all?
There’s a fine line between keeping on top of everything and paranoia. You want to be treading that line like a true pro. That way your troops will respect you rather than think you’re trying to do their jobs.
If you make assumptions and don’t question them, good or bad, you’re leaving yourself open to all sorts of potential future anguish. Best not.