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Workflow maze in style of Picasso

Project Management

Hard Lessons Learned

Learn from our detours: familiarize with tools, communicate clearly, clarify meanings, update progress, check alignment, read thoroughly, seek help, respect due dates, prioritize quality, keep everything in one place.

By Susan Rov

3 min read

Years of juggling timelines, wrangling tasks, and meeting deadlines shaped us into project management pros. Every team member could navigate a workflow maze blindfolded. Plus, we had a PM Jedi, Sam, leading the way. So when we embarked on the "Hey Rebekah" adventure, we expected a productivity utopia.

Yet, the reality presented a detour. We're not afraid to admit that even as seasoned explorers, we still veered off course. Learn from our not-so-stellar journey. You'll be light-years ahead.

Whatever you do, don’t do this 👇🏽

1. Don't skip getting familiar with new tools

We all had "Watch the Training Tutorial" on our to-do list when we [swapped Asana for Height](https://heyrebekah.com/gists/height-vs-asana-why-we-switched). Did we do it? Well... We thought that after years of working with similar tools, we could just wing it. Spoiler alert: We couldn’t.

2. Don't neglect clear communication

Because apparently, "I'll do the thing" isn't considered clear communication. Try keeping everyone in the know and rock that transparency.

3. Don't assume you know what others mean

We tried to decipher nuances with a crystal ball when a simple "what the heck do you mean?" in the chat would have done the trick.

4. Don't ditch project updates

We played hide-and-seek with our progress. When we should've kept our heads up and our updates rolling.

5. Don't go too far without checking the alignment

We were halfway to Tatooine before we realized we were supposed to be on Coruscant. Our bad.

6. Don't complete all tasks from memory

Apparently, our memories aren’t as trustworthy as R2-D2. And no, your teammates can't use the force to read your mind. Yet.

7. Don't skim-read task descriptions

"But it said to delete all the files!" —it didn't. Sam’s still got PTSD.

8. Don't ignore tasks you don't know how to do and hope they go away

They won't magically disappear. Trust us, we tried. It's better to wave a white flag and ask for help.

9. Don't ignore due dates

"Later" isn't a legit time, even in a galaxy far, far away. Plus, having 5246 overdue tasks doesn’t boost team morale. Who knew adjusting the due dates to align expectations would help? Not us, obviously.

10. Don’t half-a$$ tasks just to get them done

Your high school motto of “Done is better than perfect” has no place here. Quality over quantity.

11. Don't cross-contaminate the clear PM path with other tools

Keep everything in one place. There’s no need for external spreadsheets or Miro boards unless absolutely necessary.

WWRD (What Would Rebekah Do)?

  • Basically, the opposite of everything we did.
  • You might think, "Duh, that's common sense," but we dare you to take a good, hard look at your own processes.
Susan Rov

About Susan Rov

Susan traded cocktails and lattes for words that move. As a copywriter on a mission to end boring, she brightens brands and makes an impact. Number 463 on the list of fiction readers left standing, you'll find Susan at sunrise—running, writing, and wondering how to change the world next. That drive led her to become a founding team member of BRIL.LA.