If you're reading this, then you're most likely a project manager or have recently passed your certification and are looking for a role as one. Or you might be someone who has temporarily moved into a project management role due to being a subject matter expert (SME).
It really doesn’t matter which of these is true for you, as the handy list of pointers for project managers below applies to all. And you can use this list as a reference or a reminder of how to always be at the top of your game when it comes to managing a project.
1. The success of a project will rely heavily on effective communication
When starting a new project, you should first have your kick-off meeting, this should include your project board/key stakeholders. In this forum, you should address and confirm a communication strategy. You’ll need to specify the type of communication you’ll feed updates through, and whether this is via email, telephone, or a meeting. As well as this, you’ll need to establish the frequency of these updates.
A schedule should then be created which illustrates the types of communication, when they should happen, and the flow of where the information will come from. It’s worth noting that some communications may occur due to conditions within the project, whereas other forms should happen on a regular basis, and therefore should be specified in your schedule. Ensure that you get the frequency right, because there’s little to be gained by providing an update too often, especially if the updates are in-depth, as the time spent providing such information can be a waste.
2. Use and keep using templates! Keep your documentation consistent
The internet is full of resources when it comes to the project management world, and it doesn’t fall short when it comes to helping with templates for your project documentation. You can find examples online for anything from a PID (Project Initiation Document) to a Lessons Log.
Templates are a great way of starting off and, with each project, you’ll start to add your own creative edge to them. These templates provide you with creative freedom and can prevent you from hitting a roadblock or even re-inventing the wheel time after time.
3. Learn to have confidence when it comes to problem-solving
Problems are your opportunity for improvement. Be confident in your ability to identify a problem, to evaluate the information you have, and to look into the possible options to correct it. Importantly, ensuring that you have understood the problem will give you the confidence you need to implement the necessary solution.
Always be on the lookout for possible risks and problems that you can’t foresee, this will become easier with experience. However, if something is concerning you, then don’t be afraid to explore it some more.
It’s also important to remember with this point that a “problem” doesn’t always appear as a result of an external factor or a bad event. If you can see the chance for improvement, then this brings a “problem” for you to solve.
4. Don’t be afraid to delegate
You’re not a superhero, and not everything can be done by only you. Delegation not only provides the project team with the opportunity to build on their skills, but it also gives them satisfaction in knowing that you have trust in them to get the job done!
By delegating, this allows you to manage your time better and focus on higher-level tasks. However, it’s still important to check in regularly with your project team to ensure that those delegated tasks will be completed on time. After all, it’s you as the project manager who’s ultimately responsible for the project’s success.
5. Learn to say “no” more
We’re sure most people struggle with saying “no” to someone, especially when asked to their face. For example, a co-worker comes to you and asks you for your help, however trivial it might be. You put down your own project plan, which needs to be submitted by tomorrow, and then spend the next couple of hours helping your co-worker with their work. Aside from losing your time, you’ll now need to spend time working out of hours and increase the possibility of becoming stressed. Sometimes you just have to say “no” – it might be the best answer for the business as well as your own work and health.
6. Time management is everything
Project managers tend to have a natural gift for managing their time. And effective time management will enable you to get more work, and better work, done in less time.
To keep productivity high, many project managers make lists and create reminders to keep track of the different moving parts that come with managing a project. In planning, it’s important that you estimate time accurately when tasks are created, taking into consideration any testing and meetings that may affect the time it takes to complete a task. Having some contingency is important too, just in case a task gets slightly out of hand.
So, plan your day, prioritize, and make a to-do list that works for you. This will help you to identify and understand those time-critical tasks that need to be completed today.
What else would you add to these project management pointers? Please let us know in the comments.