The Top Successful Tips on How to Become a Great Project Manager
Project management is a substantial part of almost any field. Every industry by necessity has people with the responsibility to manage team members and coordinate efforts in pursuit of various projects or initiatives. The effective management of these projects is a skill which is increasingly important as organizations grow more complex and teams more diverse.
While technology has created greater opportunities for efficiency than ever before, it has also created increasingly complex problems in managing team members from across the globe. Projects have grown more sophisticated, often involving vast webs of stakeholders and involvement from numerable private and public organizations.
To become an effective project manager, able to apply your skills across industries with diverse teams working on complex problems, be sure to follow these tips:
1. Manage your time
Above all, know thyself. Recognize when you are the most productive and when you are well-served by taking a break. Understand where and how you can make the greatest impact, but also admit when your efforts can become counterproductive for the team or project. What’s more, apply this knowledge to your own work habits to ensure that you are working effectively and efficiently for your team and your organization.
2. Set aside part of each day for quiet reflection
As part and parcel to effective time management, it is important for any effective manager to set aside one or a couple segments each day for quiet, uninterrupted time. Part of these periods can be used for getting things done on your to-do list ‚Äì catching up on emails, sending follow-ups, checking or preparing reports, and the like. These items are difficult to do when you need to be on-call, but can be quickly resolved during quiet time. Some of the day should also be used for sitting back and looking at your work more globally. Taking a broader perspective can help you identify areas where you’re making progress, where things are lagging, and what items may cause problems later. This exercise should also help identify opportunities for improvement or strengths (including team members, technology, processes, or new skillsets) that you can leverage in current or future projects. Is there a team member who’s doing a particularly great job and you may want to use their abilities in another area of your work? Have you learned ways to use a technology that could come in handy on other projects?
3. Manage your people
In management, it is important to know your team. You need to know what motivates people that you are working with so you know how to drive them to succeed. You also need to know when and how they work will well. Determine what factors contribute to their effectiveness or hold them back. Discover who has well-developed skillsets or previously unrecognized abilities. Also, be on the lookout for areas where people may need to seek improvement, who may be difficult to work with or causing a hindrance. Are they being affected by outside circumstances, or should they be avoided on future projects?
4. Manage expectations
One of the most difficult aspects of project management in almost any field is setting and meeting the expectations of team members and superiors. It is important not to over-promise, while also managing to get people excited (or at least mildly stimulated) about the work you’re doing. However, also recognize that in any project there are aspects that are beyond your control which will impact your success or failure, sometimes significantly. Failing to manage expectations can lead to letting down supervisors or stakeholders who have become emotionally invested in a project or process. This applies to the level of your success, the impact or profitability of a project, but also to timetable. It means not committing yourself to impossible or unnecessarily-tight deadlines. Obstacles will undoubtedly arise that will affect timeline, budget, or profitability of any project, and it is important not to be seen by stakeholders as failing in relation to any of these factors.
Project managers play a critical role in management processes across every industry. They work at various levels of management to solve complex problems in sophisticated and diverse organizations, coordinating with a wide range of team members and stakeholders. Working in this role is an exciting challenge. The above tips should help project managers to leverage their knowledge and skills to work effectively to accomplish diverse tasks, becoming an important part of their organization and generating tremendous value for themselves, their team members and their stakeholders.
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