5 Tips to Help You Succeed
Project management can be daunting at times. As a project manager, you are usually responsible for the success of major company endeavours and the pressure on your shoulders can be immense. As is true with most things, there is no silver bullet for project success. It takes the right combination of experience, skill, knowledge, and personality to pull it off. This article presents 5 simple tips which will help you along your journey to becoming a project management guru.
Define the Mission
There is more to project management than fretting over the next deadline with your team. Early on, you need to clearly define both the immediate objectives and the wider company vision for your team. This will give them a clear understanding of exactly what the project is supposed to accomplish and why it is important. Clearly defining the mission includes not only setting out the overall goal, but also involves linking it to the objectives of each team member, so that they understand how they are contributing to the success of the project. Additionally, you must ensure that each of the goals you set has measurable criteria for success.
Always have a Schedule
When many people hear “project management” they immediately think “schedule”. This is undoubtedly a source of annoyance for many project managers, and we are always quick to remind anyone who will listen how we are much more than schedulers. However, it remains a key weapon in the project manager’s arsenal and you should never be caught without an accurate, updated schedule. Always adapt your schedule to your environment, and only make it as complex as it needs to be. It can be a simple list of milestones or thousands of lines of tasks and sub-tasks
Manage your Risks
If we were perfect at risk management then every project would finish on time. Effective risk management will dramatically increase your chances of success so don’t skimp on it. Work with your team to regularly identify the risks to your project, and develop mitigation plans to deal with each of them. These risks would normally include unrealistic estimates, resourcing problems, and changing requirements.
Always Lead by Example
A project manager should never adopt an authoritarian leadership style by just giving orders. A good project leader builds an integrated and unified team who are motivated to achieve the project objectives. If you prove to your team that you are willing to get directly involved in the work and go the extra mile for the project when it’s necessary, your team will also do the same. If you show your willingness to do extra work in order to meet project goals, you will have earned the right to ask your team to do so as well.
Respect Every Idea
Let all of your team members share their ideas. They must also be allowed to discuss and debate other people’s ideas. This must be true even for your ideas. If you fail to do this, if you play favourites or hold your own ideas as sacred, your team will never function effectively. Also, whenever a team member’s efforts don’t work out, avoid pointing the finger and assigning blame. Instead, focus on addressing the issues and remind your team how taking risks and failing is an important part of figuring out how to succeed.
To succeed you need a good project team, and to get that, you need to be an effective project manager. Clearly define your mission, lead by example, make rational decisions, and treat your team with respect. Do this and your team will be able to accomplish anything.
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