#1 Have a Project Plan and Schedule. Use it as a tool to communicate to others. Use it to explain why something happened. Use it as a way to justified why you need additional resources. Project scheduling 101, if a resource is taken away, you either hire a replacement resource to keep the project on schedule or you push out the timeline. Something has to give. A project plan can help you explain this. If upper management comes to you and ask you why a particular project was delayed by X amount of time, you can tell them that because resource ABC was taken away and no replacement was made, the only way is to extended the schedule out. If they want the project to remain on schedule, then additional resources are needed to get the project back on track. If additional features are added, more resources are needed or again we have to push out the schedule. If we can remove a feature, then we can reduce the timeline. Use the project plan as a tool to communicate this.
#2 Document EVERYTHING. Document everything, every meeting you had, every requirements that was collected, every change requests that was asked, just everything. Use it as insurance to protect yourself. Even though it may be tedious, you will thank yourself later when there is a dispute. This is why the legal process is so tedious and full of paperwork. It’s done for a reason and it’s to protect yourself from he said and she said scenarios. If you can trace it back to the source of why a decision was made, then you have made your case. We have to thank the legal process for this.
#3 Communicate. Make your point be heard. If there is an issue, bring it up and make sure the right person gets the message. Also make sure everyone is on the same page. If something is said verbally, write it out and send it to everyone in writing to make sure what was said is captured and understood by everyone in the conversation. By writing it out and sending it to everyone, you can also double check to see if everyone gets the same message and interpretation. People interpret things differently even though it’s the same words being said. Finally, when you communicate, you communicate for action. There is no point in having a meeting if there is no follow up actions. Always have action items after a meeting.