Dennis Yu

How to get stuff done.

Congratulations! You’ve been promoted to manage your very first project. You’ve demonstrated that you’re a good worker bee— you can make campaigns, prepare reports, and do whatever else you’ve been assigned.

But managing a project is a completely different matter. Now, instead of dutifully doing what you’re told, you have to figure out what the client wants, build project plans, coordinate between multiple people, and make sure things happen on time and in the right way. Being new in the position and perhaps even young (which makes it harder), you’re afraid that your co-workers and client might not respect you or that you don’t have authority.

Relax—use these simple techniques and it will be hard to fail.

First, get organized. If you are not organized yourself, there’s no way you can begin to think about tracking all the things that your teammates are doing. Are you using Basecamp to track who is doing what? Every task should have a description, be assigned to a person, and have a due date. These 3 items are the building blocks of project management—who is doing it, what they’re doing, and when is it due.

Use it for anything you could potentially forget about—people you have to call, stuff you need to read, even personal errands. You don’t need Microsoft Project Central or any fancy software—even the Tasks feature in Gmail is sufficient. Even a simple spiral notebook works just fine.

When you’re organized, you don’t have to worry about that one thing you know you were told a few weeks ago, but lost track of. Terrible feeling to be lost and behind—it’s like drowning. So don’t let yourself get there. Check your email twice per day and quickly take care of things by doing one of the following—do it, delete it, or delegate it.

There’s no other option. Don’t read it and then mark it unread. Don’t skim over things with the thinking that you’ll come back to them later. You gain massive efficiency by taking care of things just once—the first time. Plus, when you take care of things right away, they don’t fester into bigger problems that result in all sorts of drama later.

I can’t tell you how many people I see complaint about being busy or having too many emails when all they’re really doing is just moving sand from one pile to another, getting nothing done.

Second, create a specific statement of the goal. If you’re lucky enough to have just one project to manage, this is easy. The client may want a website to do X in Y amount of time for Z dollars. Then you break down X into minute little measurable tasks that you assign out to people. Perhaps there is a Statement of Work you can reference where most of the work is already done for you.

In either case, you should check back with the client to affirm the requirements, if for no other reason than to show them that you care and to start building a relationship. Many first-time project managers fail by hiding from the start, letting their project go down in flames while they bite their lips in silence. Perhaps they are afraid of looking stupid or whatever reason, but the net result of these good intentions is a failure, all the same.

Establishing with the client that you are the lead—the person they can go to for anything—is critical to get you off on the right foot. It then takes the burden off your boss, who likely doesn’t want to step in and do your job for you. Your boss is busy doing other things and if they’re a good boss, will only want to step in if you are in trouble.

If the client feels the need to relay requirements or other project communication with your boss, then they are saying you have failed to do your job. So you want to establish the requirements early and make it clear you are responsible.

Third, communicate actively with your project stakeholders. We like to use the RACI model, which stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed.

We are the Rmeaning that multiple people are Responsible for the project’s success.
The R portion represents whoever is involved with completing any portion of the task.  A is Accountable, meaning you own the task, completely. The buck stops with you. Even if so-and-so didn’t reply to your email or give you access to that particular system. It’s your job to stay on top of dependencies, as opposed to having a great set of excuses later when someone else fails in silence. There is only one A, or else you have too many cooks in the kitchen.
Sometimes you are the R and the A for smaller projects. But more often, you delegate tasks to engineers and designers who are on the hook for various things. And these folks will forget to do their things, do them improperly, provide excuses why it was someone else’s responsibility, and so forth.
You are there to resolve these issues before they become visible to the client—you want to monitor this BEFORE you have slipped the schedule irreparably and before the big emergency.
A great project manager can see problems in advance, then escalate as needed.
C is consulted, which means that you might need the expertise, advice, or permission of others to proceed. The C role is dangerous here since a lot of people will want to be involved in your project, especially if it’s high profile and involves social media—something that everyone feels they are an expert in.
To prevent meeting madness, where you’re unable to hold meetings because of too many people wanting to attend, make it super clear who is doing what in the Responsibility section—the list of tasks. You’ll come across many corporate folks who will say they are responsible in some vague sort of way, upon which you politely explain your role, who else is responsible for certain tasks, and then ask them what exactly they would like to do in this project.
If you’re suave, you can pacify these backseat drivers. If you’re too blunt, you’ll offend these people, even if it’s clear that they have no specific useful skills to the project or add any type of value. I am Informed. These are folks who you should keep updated, usually AFTER you have made a decision and have taken action.
Only the Consulted people need to be asked in advance of a decision. Because most corporate folks attribute their value in direct proportion to how many meetings they attend (if you’re busy, then you must be in high demand and very important), you’ll have to fight to keep most folks in the I bucket versus somewhere else. The easiest way to ward off these folks is to publish meeting minutes. That way, they’re not afraid of missing something juicy from not having attended—they can merely read the summary.
Ask yourself how many project managers are guilty of not publishing the meeting minutes. They’re the ones who are struggling and haven’t even gotten around to placing people in the RACI roles.
Ironically, their excuse is that they’re too busy. The reason they’re too busy is that they’re wasting time doing nonsensical things to actually have time to produce things of value.
There you have it. Nothing magical. But it sure works like magic. When you make it clear that you have a goal, specified the team and specific tasks needed to get to your goal, the waters will part. The cubicle dwellers will respect that you have a mission. Those who want to know what’s going on don’t have to call a meeting to waste the precious time of your team—they can just log into basecamp or read the latest meeting minutes.
If the big boss decides to derail you because of the latest fire drill, you can confidently say “yes” to any of her requests, because you at the same time mention the impact on the work schedule you’re already on. If the client decides to change his mind and increase the scope of the project (they would never do that!), then you can say “yes”—AND the impact is $X and Y days to the timeline.
You never say “yes, but”, which is arguing with them. You say “yes, and”. Let them trade-off between time, money, and scope—pick two, as they say. If you follow these three steps in this order — to get organized, be clear on your goals, and run the RACI project management model—you’re well-protected from every angle.
People will marvel and how well you manage and what a good job you do. By making the model clear, everyone knows what is expected, so there’s little room to hide. The typical corporate cubicle monsters who are looking for a big company to hide in will know they are not welcome. And you’ll be spending less time dealing with the same old excuses, and more time doing things that you enjoy. How do you fare against this model? Are there certain techniques that work well for you? Perhaps you have a horror story to share (names kept anonymous to protect the guilty)?

Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads. He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations. You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel. You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.
I'm a member of Blitzmetrics Academy and a friend of Dennis to boot. Not only is Dennis highly intelligent and full of great and creative ideas, he's also incredibly generous with both his knowledge and his time. Success couldn't come to a better guy. Thank you for all that you do for the world, Dennis! 🙏

Michael Pacheco


Thanks 🙏 for being shining light in this industry. Love what your building for works overseas too network for jobs so innovative. Dennis helped me navigate having bad experiences with marketing agencies and doing dollar a day marketing which has helped my personal brand tremendously. Highly recommend.

Eric Skeldon

Founder at Kingdom Broker

Working with Dennis has been a delightful experience. After meeting him in 2015 I got to collaborate with him on countless occasions. His understanding for state-of-the-art marketing, his implementation, and his leadership put him into the top 0.01% of marketers and mentors.

Jan Koch

Ihr kompetenter Partner für innovative KI-Strategien.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dennis for my podcast in 2021 and since then we have maintained a friendship that grows with each interaction. I have seen Dennis' devotion to his friends and clients firsthand, and our conversations often result in us talking about how we can provide more value to the people around us. He is someone whom I can ask questions on a technical level, and look to on a personal level. If you have any hesitancy about hiring him, get over yourself and do it!

Isaac Mashman

Help scaling personal brands.

Geez, where do I start recommending Dennis? First, he is an absolutely brilliant marketer who understands where marketing is today and where it's going tomorrow. He also has an incredible passion for the International Worker community. The lessons he has taught me from his almost 20 years of experience hiring International Workers have been immense. Most importantly though. Dennis Yu is someone who wants the absolute best for you and is willing to tell you the truth. Dennis sat with me at a point in my business where I was floundering but did not want to admit it. He asked some very straight forward questions to get me to admit my issues, highlighted the issues, and then helped me create a roadmap to success.

Atiba de Souza

International Keynote Speaker | Video Content Superman | Superconnector |

Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will notr regret Dennis, which I had the pleasure of working with is one of the most giving, honest and tell you as it is person I ever know. The knowledge this man has is remarkable and he just gives it out freely. He is not pretentious and always entertain anyone big or small in the industry always willing to help. If you ever get a golden opportunity to work with him or mentored by him say YES!. You will not regret

Nixon Lee

The PR Whisperer

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