Effective project management is very important for all companies, with poor execution costing organizations a lot. For instance, the article “The Cost Of Bad Project Management” reports that only 2.5% of companies successfully completed 100% of their projects. Most project deadlines are not met, or worse, the projects are never completed.
Thus, as a new project manager, you must hone both your soft and hard skills in handling projects and leading them to successful completion. The statistics can be daunting, but you don’t have to be alarmed because we’re providing effective project management tips below, for those who are starting out in the industry. Before that, we’ll start off with an overview of the project manager position. Let’s get started.
What Is a Project Manager?
Project managers are responsible for the starting, planning, designing, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing phases of an entire project. Different industries, from petrochemical to information technology organizations, hire project managers.
The position requires having a combination of skills including general management expertise and the ability to resolve conflicts. In addition, project managers must identify and mitigate the risks associated with projects.
The project manager is responsible for making both small and large decisions related to the project. The use of project management tools is an important skill for project managers as they will enable him/her to organize tasks and team members efficiently.
Tips for New Project Managers
1. Listen Genuinely and Engage
If you can’t listen attentively, you won’t learn. The beginning of your career is when you should be immersing yourself in everything. Make sure you know the team’s landscape, learn about your customers and clients, and identify the team members’ strengths.
Take everything you’ve learned and engaged with stakeholders and team members in a manner that ensures the success of the project. At the start of your career, the more people you get to support a project’s cause, the better.
2. Become an Effective Problem Solver
Situations arise wherein project managers immediately “do” a project instead of determining risks and analyzing dependencies. It is best to learn preventive problem-solving first and play a part in its execution. If a project issue comes up, you should find out all the factors that led to it. Mistakes are the best teachers not only in life but in careers as well. However, these lessons only become valuable when you actually apply them.
3. Be a Team Player
Being a project manager means you have to put the project’s interests first by ensuring the team’s expertise is optimized. However, you should still take your team members’ welfare into account. A team player also means you ask for help whenever necessary. Don’t be the person who waits for a long time to mention that there’s a problem. Make sure the team members know immediately if you recognize a particular problem with the project.
4. Be Acquainted with Project Management Tools
If you’re using a project management tool, make sure you are fully acquainted with it. Know how to use it inside out. You should look for ways to optimize the use of the tool and if possible, encourage your team members to engage in using it too. If you believe that a better method is available, then you should lead the efforts to find that product. Taking the initiative can go a long way.
5. Learn People Skills
There are people who can instantly analyze the mood of a specific room. People skills can be difficult to learn, but it is not impossible. Learning human behavior and knowing how to handle people can be great skills to learn. You can go for project management training to enhance your emotional intelligence and improve your people skills in your career.
6. Understand The Customer
It’s very important to know the person or organization you and your team are working for. What’s more important is knowing them as individuals and as an entire entity. Know their goals, mission, and vision. What do they care about? What’s their preferred method of communication?
Learn how they handle project turmoil, how they deal with change, and even how they’d like to solve problems. In this way, you can respond to clients and customers in the most meaningful and appropriate manner.
7. Get Certified
Get a PMP certification to ensure you have an asset in your career. Certified professionals reportedly earn 25% more than their non-certified peers. If you have the time to do it, then it’s a great way to earn credentials, learn new skills, and build up your confidence.
8. Find A Mentor
Mentorship is a great path towards the growth of your career. Possibilities of mentors include former bosses, managers, co-workers, teachers, and even formal mentorship programs. If you don’t want to get an official mentor, you can look for someone in your company who has a working style you want to emulate.
9. Accept Change
Projects have something in common — they all have uncertainties. Unexpected events will happen throughout your entire career in project management. You have to be adaptable and flexible. Be someone who is always ready for surprises and changes. Once an emergency arises, you must arm yourself with strong solutions to the issue.
10. Enjoy The Process
Once you’re at the height of your career, you’ll be making big decisions. However, you don’t have to rush it. In the beginning, enjoy a smaller set of responsibilities while taking the chance to learn. You’re not the big boss yet, but enjoy the process and the time will come when you’re the decision-maker in a significant project.
To Wrap It All Up
Being in charge of a project doesn’t mean you have to be a very strong-willed dictator. As a project manager, you have to treat others with respect. It is necessary to get everybody on your side so the job is completed successfully. Learn how to use people skills to handle your team members effectively. Heed the tips above so you can start out strongly in your career.