Project Management can be a very taxing job. An individual in this role should be a multi-tasking specialist who is capable of taking on multiple facets of a project single-handedly.
Let's face it - Project Management is an art. You will be dealing with complex human personalities – both friendly and unfriendly – as you go about achieving business objectives.
An excellent Project Manager is not born overnight. He is created through a transformation that may take years.
Featured in this article are 11 tips to help you become an excellent Project Manager:
1. The devil lies in the details – make sure you know A-Z of the project before diving into it!
Never jump into a project without performing a thorough analysis. Every project is different and requires you to be in control from day 1.
Prepare a project plan and identify important milestones you will encounter on your path to completion. These milestones should be made public among team members well in advance so that everybody knows what your project is seeking to achieve. Delivering quality work while achieving deadlines should be the team’s topmost priority.
2. Choose your team – ensure you have people you are comfortable with around you
I know this is a luxury most Project Managers don't have access to. But it is important to have colleagues you are comfortable with in your team.
Here are a few things you should look into while choosing your team:
- Has he/she worked with you before? Are you familiar with his/her working style?
- Does he/she possess the right technical skills to make an impact in my project?
- Does he/she possess a positive attitude to face challenges on a daily basis?
3. Show you are the boss – team members should realize you are in total control
It's difficult to head a project without showing signs of authority. Show you are not just their leader but a good and caring one as well. Here are some positive traits you should get accustomed to.
A good leader:
- always invites suggestions from team members
- ensures each team member is aware about his/her role in the team
- runs productive meetings on a regular basis to take stock of where things stand
- focuses on building trust within the team. He take each member into confidence, ensuring they don't feel left out
- showers praises when required. Underperforming employees are handled with care and given motivation to perform better
4. Become the problem solver – the go-to man everybody holds in awe
A project will throw up more spanners than roses. With experience, you will learn how to tackle problems head-on. This will earn you the respect of everybody in the team.
5. Study the client – become his best friend!
Some clients can become increasingly frustrated if deadlines are not met. It’s important you establish a good level of communication with the client. Get him on board for the journey and apprise him of all developments in the project - whether positive or negative.
Here is a fact - a good percentage of projects get shaky because clients aren’t happy with the way it's managed. Don't give clients a reason to sulk. Instead, be two steps ahead of him at all times.
6. Test deliverables on a regular basis – make sure everything is going according to plan
It makes sense to test your project in phases, especially if it is divided into different modules. Include this in your project plan on priority.
7. Learn to say NO when you have to! – discard advice you are not comfortable with
As a manager, you will probably hear a hundred different opinions every month! Everybody, from the client and team members to the CEO, will pitch in with their version of how the project should be run.
It's good to have a bank of ideas to choose from. But you should learn to weed out the ones that won't be helpful to you.
8. Don't be afraid to evaluate priorities – be open to changing scenarios
Projects often get hit by external factors. Sometimes a client comes up with new changes that were not discussed earlier. In such a scenario, you shouldn’t hesitate to revisit earlier set deadlines. This will ensure you have breathing space to complete projects.
9. Be prepared to learn – view every project as a learning experience
For a Project Manager, every day at the job presents a new learning experience. Aim for the stars. Your goal should be to become the best manager in the company!
10. Use Project Management software – keep every data on record
Timelines mean everything to a project. As mentioned in the first point, you will have to plan everything to detail. This is only possible with the aid of a capable tracking software.
11. Ensure you are certified – career growth should be on top of your mind
A certification in Project Management is important, especially from a long-term career perspective. When the right time comes, you should prepare for PMP certification.
Hope these tips help you manage projects better. Have any tips of your own? Share them in the comment box below!