As a project manager, you’re in charge of the project. You’re basically the boss. This comes with many responsibilities and can be quite exciting. However, it can also be quite overwhelming. If you make a poor decision that others in the team go along with simply because you’re in charge, it could cost you a lot of time, money and resources.
Not to put too much pressure on you, but the success of the project rests on the shoulders of the project manager. The project manager is in charge of ensuring that the project is successfully completed. He manages the performance of the team. He should ensure that the project is delivered within budget, scope and on schedule.
While many project managers receive technical training in the management of projects, they are often not prepared to deal with various nuances in circumstances that often arise during the project cycle. Many are tempted to depend on software for the successful management of their projects. However, a project manager needs to acquire a certain set of skills and core value in order to be truly successful in managing their team and delivering on projects. There is no software or technology that can cover up or replace these skills. Below are some of those skills:
Effective communication is key to ensuring that a project is successful. Poor communication results in dramatic increase in the risks the project faces. Such a project is more likely to fail. The Pulse Communication Report cited in the Project Management Institute’s white paper ‘Communication: The Message is Clear,’ showed that over half of project budgets is wasted due to poor communication.
A good project manager must therefore be able to implement effective communication practices and methods. Being effective at communication means that you need to ensure there is a clear understanding amongst all stakeholders including team members, vendors, clients, departments and all functional areas.
You should ensure that lines of communication are always kept open. Decision and other notes should be well documented too. You need to determine who needs to know, what they need to know, when they need to know it and the best way to deliver the information.
2. Time Management
This is a vital skill for all project managers. It is important for you to effectively schedule tasks and ensure that they are completed on time. An effective project manager should be able to organize tasks in the order that would result in the most efficient use of time and result in the best outcome for the project.
Good time management is not only good for the team but also for you. Project managers have various responsibilities. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and become bogged down by the tasks before you. The best way to ensure that everything gets done is to master scheduling.
Along with time management skills, it is important for you to monitor the progress of the project as you progress along. This will allow you to tweak your schedule for a better outcome.
A good project manager ought to be able to manage multiple tasks and track various issues on any particular day. Project managers have various responsibilities that may or may not be related. It is important to develop extreme ability in multi-tasking in order to stay on top of the project. You should be able to complete your own tasks while attending to issues or inquiries from project stakeholders.
With so many tasks and responsibilities to be attended to, it can be easy for a project manager to get lost in a mountain of emails, documents and other paperwork. Teams lose a lot of time when projects are poorly organized.
It is up to the project manager to determine and implement the most effective organization approach. There are various software programs that can help you establish a paperless work flow and help keep everything documented and organized. You may want to explore this to avoid getting buried under an avalanche of paper.
Issues are part and parcel of any project. Problems will arise in any project even with the most careful planning. It is not only important for the project manager to be able to solve the issue, but also to ensure that this is done quickly and effectively.
You should implement an issue management process. This process should guide the recording of issues, the assessment of their impacts and the determination of an action plan to solve the issue. In many cases, various stakeholders will be involved in the problem solving process. It is important for you to remain rational, calm and patient as you guide your team to a solution. You should also learn to use the available resources in solving issues.
6. Team Work
Your role as project manager puts you at the forefront of the team. You are therefore not only a manager but also a leader. It is your responsibility to lead your team to success. Your primary task as a project manager is to help the members of your team reach their goals. You should be able to assign tasks to the right team member, set goals and evaluate their performance. Ensure that everyone has the right resources to successfully complete the assigned tasks.
However, there is much more to project management than this. The Project Management Institute presents a detailed description of what a project manager ought to be. According to this description, a good project manager ought to able to help their team grow both as professionals and as people. You will therefore need to develop interpersonal skills to keep track of your team professionally and on a personal level.
To be successful at project management, you need to pay close attention to details. Small slip ups can often result in major problems down the line. Every detail of a project has an impact on the overall success of the project. It can either make or break your project.
Learn to assess details and properly analyze them. You should then be able to develop different approaches to tasks that may cause problems as the project progresses.
Being a project manager can be challenging and overwhelming. It can also be very exciting especially when the project is completed successfully. With the many technological changes occurring around us, there is increased demand for skilled project managers. Many companies are realizing the importance of good project management for the success of their projects. Developing the abilities and skills listed above will help you improve your project management skills and achieve greater success with your projects.
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