To fail as a Project Manager is easy; there are many ways to do it. Some Project Managers do not actually manage the projects, they just coast along in their position with little or no ambition. Some others are simply not up to date with the technological tools and improved practices. There are Project Managers that will not delegate tasks to their support teams; and others that show no leadership as the project suffers from scope creep.
It is easy to fail as a Project Manager. But how to become a successful Project Manager? The difference between failure and success for a project can be as simple as one word: effectiveness. These seven tips can help you succeed.
1. Project Management tools: Learn to make effective use of available tools. There are many software solutions available to assist Project Managers and their support teams. However, just having the tools is not enough: you must understand them and ensure that your team does too.
2. Utilize time management techniques: Organize your efforts and information. Adhere to the project schedule and help your support do so as well. Be an example of effective time management and your team will follow you.
3. Plan and conduct meetings efficiently. All Project Managers know that meetings are an important part of the project process: planning meetings, stakeholder meetings, project team meetings, weekly progress updates, and the list goes on. Regardless of which meeting you are conducting, there are three critical points to follow. First, keep to the set agenda. Second, prioritize the discussions. Third, focus on output. A successful Project Manager is also an effective meeting manager.
4. Criticism. A successful Project Manager gets to know the traits, strengths and weaknesses of the members of the support team. It is important to provide constructive criticism to avoid jeopardizing the team’s effectiveness. Likewise, you need to be able to accept criticism, and take from it whatever will improve the project or process.
5. Decisions. One of the most critical assets a Project Manager must have is the ability to make the right decisions at the right times. Your team will look to you for decisions throughout the project lifecycle, and you must be prepared to make effective decisions quickly.
6. Flexibility and adaptation: be ready. Accept that you cannot know everything and even on your project there will be issues or difficulties that you could not predict. Be willing to ask and accept the advice of your support team, other project managers, stakeholders, and upper management.
7. Have faith in your abilities and decisions. Everyone has moments of doubt now and then, but the successful Project Manager allows these to pass without concern. With a good project plan and the support of your team, you can trust that the project will continue to progress on time and within budget.
A successful Project Manager is effective, forward-thinking, and dedicated to the success of the project and the support team, and also dedicated to being the best Project Manager they can be. These tips are not secrets – they are ideas available to anyone looking for a way to improve the results of their time and effort.