My # 1 tip for project managers is to strive to become Lean. (I’m not talking about being frugal 🙂
I discuss this in-depth in a recent series I’ve been writing from implementing lean/agile culture and approaches in my own realm of influence on a large federal systems project. I’m sold on lean systems thinking applied to project management as the most beneficial area of study and application for ANY project manager.
I’d also counter the other comments so far (sorry, I’m a rebel by nature!) by saying a huge problem especially on large projects is assuming we can know exactly what is needed during the planning phase and then try to hold ourselves to that vision, even when it’s been 3 years and all the players have changed. We need good planning and CM for certain, but all too often we try to assume solutions during planning or get too detailed too soon. Jaime’s caveat was well placed…”in theory.”
The customer DOESN’T know the details of what they want — they’ll know it when they see it. Since I deal with software systems projects, to me this means delivering early and often with a feedback loop and validated learning built in to the plan. That’s Lean.