5 Tips Every Project Manager Should Know
As you would expect, project management can be very hectic. Planning, organizing, and supervising projects from start to finish calls for new ways of working. Project managers are often required to ensure quality, meet deadlines and stay within budget. Here are the five things we believe every project manager should be aware of:
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1. Your Team is Your Success
Assigning tasks to different teams and tracking their progress requires a great sense of commitment. This is why having the right people in your team is crucial. Project managers should have the key leadership abilities necessary to engage groups and build a sense of community. Soft skills such as empathy, EQ (emotional intelligence), and conflict resolution can go a long way in keeping team members motivated and productive in their roles.
Project managers should begin by selecting the right people to join their teams. This means considering not just the academic qualifications but also cultural fit. Choosing the right members minimizes friction among disengaged groups with conflicting values and beliefs. Similarly, you want to invest in employee training and equip them with the skills and tools they need to succeed in their roles.
Another key aspect is to focus on your team’s well-being. Always prioritize work-life balance for both physical and remote teams and ensure they are getting competitive perks and benefits. This will make your employees happy, boosting their morale and increasing their chances of staying with the company for long.
2. Proper Communication is Key
Team collaboration is becoming a key ingredient for project success in today’s hybrid and remote workplaces. Distributed teams can easily chat, call, share progress, ask for help and submit projects to beat deadlines. This is enough evidence that communication in the modern world of work is alive and thriving. However, the success of your project or tasks will largely depend on the quality of communication among your team members.
For instance, open communication that’s well-structured and allows every member to access critical information at the right time will yield success. But constant back and forth communication lacking order and structure may be detrimental. It’s advisable to rethink your communication strategy to make it suitable for all employees. The best communication strategy should provide order and directions while making life and work easier and more flexible.
Where possible, consider using different communication and collaboration tools to complement your needs. An example would be to use a video collaboration tool for meetings, slack for constant feedback, Trello or Asana for scheduling and assigning tasks, etc.
3. Technology is Always Worth It
At the core of successful project management is proper allocation and execution of tasks, efficient communication, and timely submission of projects. Every project manager wants to have a smooth day at work, where team members know what they are expected of and deliver on their promises. This, however, is only possible with the help of modern project management tools. According to a recent study, only 25% of businesses use project management software. That means most project leaders still rely on spreadsheets and paper to assign and track projects across teams.
When choosing a project management software, it’s advisable to focus on current and future business needs. For instance, always pick software that integrates with other tools and software to avoid silos in communication, project tracking, reconciliation, etc. You may need to review the different tools in the market before choosing one that best suits your project management tools.
4. Risk Management is Critical
Every project will often face risks that could undermine or boost the desired outcomes. The type of risk and its potential impact will depend on different factors such as the tasks at hand, the people working on the project, market dynamics, etc. Risks in project management are classified into positive and negative risks. Positive risks are good for the project to a given extent, while negative risks are generally detrimental.
Positive risks create opportunities that you could exploit for the good of the project and the business at large. These opportunities can be shared throughout the company for others to leverage or could just be accepted without pursuing them. The latter happens if you aren’t prepared or when pursuing the opportunity makes your project vulnerable to other risks. An example of positive risk is a new technology that you could use to boost collaboration or a new work technique that could cut the cost and project timeline by significant margins.
On the other hand, negative risks are bad for your project and should be avoided, transferred, or mitigated. Most risk mitigation strategies in the project management field involve four major steps. These are risk identification, risk analysis, risk response/treatment, and risk prioritization. Like enterprise risk management, risk mitigation in project management requires continuous monitoring, especially for long projects taking several months or even years. This is where good governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) solutions come in.
5. Continuous Learning Is a Competitive Advantage
Managing projects successfully requires a great deal of knowledge and experience. As a project manager, you should be conversant with most technologies and processes to guide your teams through certain techniques and not others. For many, it would mean being courageous enough to experiment with new solutions and having the intestinal fortitude to start over again when things don’t go as planned. Adopting this mindset and leading your teams successfully requires that you learn not only from others but also from your own mistakes and experiences.
When learning from other project managers, be sure to dig deep into their stories, struggles, and lessons throughout their careers. Observing their actions from a distance may not give you the right insights, plus you might end up picking the wrong lessons. You should also focus on your strengths as much as you work on your weaknesses. Learning new skills, attending workshops, seminars, etc., are all great for continuous learning.
It All Starts Now
Being a great project manager is a matter of commitment. All you need is to understand your reasons and motivation for choosing the role. Whether you want to create better products and services, you just like working with great and innovative minds, you can always find success with the above five tips.