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5 Project Management Lessons Learned at the Overnight Web Challenge

Imagine this challenge: take on a months long project which should cost $15,000 to $40,000, and do it in one 24 hour period—for free. This was the crux of The Nerdery’s Overnight Web Challenge. Myles Dannhausen joined the challenge as an observer, discovering 5 tips from the hurried project that he found applicable to any project:

  1. Dive deep early, save time later
  2. Designate a decider
  3. Know your limits
  4. More isn’t always better
  5. Hide your mess

 These lessons come from a tightly focused, immensely pressured environment where teams of people with diverse backgrounds came together in an attempt to start and finish an entire project. That kind of environment surely gave Dannhausen a clear opportunity to gather only the best practices for projects that find themselves in need of efficient completion. As the post explains, having a “decider” in particular can help cut down on nonproductive meetings and misunderstood direction:

 If you don’t want your project bogged down by minutia, you need someone to go to who can make quick decisions. In nonprofits – where boards, donors, and staff all demand input – it’s even more critical for one person to take responsibility. The Nerdery requires that each nonprofit send someone empowered to make decisions. “You can’t do this by committee and accomplish what we want to accomplish in 24 hours,” said Mark Malmberg, The Nerdery’s communications manager. The Nerdery also limits nonprofits to just two representatives. This keeps discussions focused and eliminates time-wasting tangents, important in projects of 24 hours or 24 weeks.

Dannhausen was struck by the amount of work the teams who were part of the challenge completed, and wondered if a new business model could be born from the 24 hour project challenge. Naturally, convincing your project teams to work on a 2 month project within only a fraction of that time might never work, implementing these five project management tips can certainly help make for an efficient and well controlled project.

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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