Career Advice

10 Things You Need to Know to Be A Successful Project Manager

Architect presenting project to a group of managers

As a project manager, you are going to wear many hats, and be responsible for many different things. You will be overseeing every step of each project that your team is working on, and you need to be able to do it all, and then some. But, it doesn’t have to get crazy, and you can do it, as long as you are properly planning, implementing, and monitoring each project. When you do these three things, you can be sure that your project is going to be completed on time, and within the budget. Today we are going to talk about 10 things that you need to know about successful project management.

Know the Scope 

Your project scope basically describes every detail about the project. Before you can dive into any project, you need to have a very clear project of its scope, in order to be able to get the results you want. You and your team will need to take time before starting each project to gather all of the necessary information, assign tasks to the right people, and know what you have for resources to work with. Once you have all of this in place, you will have a plan that is well thought out and ready to work on.

Watch the Metrics

You need to be monitoring every part of the project, every step along the way. This doesn’t mean that you need to breathe down the shoulders of those on your team. But, you do need to keep a close eye on the timeline and where things stand, as well as your resources, to know that you have enough to ensure the project is seen to completion. You should always keep the timeline updated with a project management tool like Paymo, and if there are any unforeseen changes, find ways to get the project back on track.

Never Stop Planning

No matter how well you have planned out any project, there are bound to be unexpected problems that crop up along the way. You need to be prepared to always be planning, for just such events. Not all projects are going to be wrought with problems, but there will be some that keep you up all night trying to figure things out. This is something that you just have to expect when you are in project management. Have a contingency plan, and make sure that your team knows what to do when issues crop up.

Know Your Team

It is important that you get to know your team in order to know each person’s strengths and weaknesses. You need to know how they work, what motivates them, and what it takes for them to accomplish goals and deadlines. You will need to learn how to communicate with your team as a whole, and with each individual on the team. Let them give you feedback and suggestions, and don’t always force them to do things your way. When they have more input and responsibility, they will get the project done.

Deal with Changes

Sometimes your stakeholders are going to want you to make changes in the middle of the project, and this could end up setting you back, even though they still expect everything to be done on time. When this happens, sit down with the stakeholders and explain to them how much certain changes are going to affect not only the timeline, but also the budget and the quality of the work. Often, they will understand when it is explained to them in the right terms, and they will be willing to compromise.

Create a Risk Response Team

It is a good idea to have a few members of your team be a separate risk response team as well. That way, if there are any unforeseen problems, you can feel safe in knowing that there are team members who can easily handle it and keep the project on track. This team should be your first line of defense when there are any problems with any project you are working on.

Create a Timeline

Every step of your project should be placed on a timeline. This is going to help you and your team to stay organized, and know what needs to be done in order to meet all project deadlines. When you have a visual timeline, you have a complete picture of the entire project, as well as your resources, and a good understanding of the various steps that need to be taken to see the project through to completion. This is going to keep you and your team focused on the work at hand.

Bring in an Expert

You are not a failure if you need to bring in outside help on projects. Sometimes, there are problems that you and your team need help with, and you should never be afraid to ask for help. A good project manager knows when they are unable to take care of a problem themselves, and that when this happens, they need to find the right people who can help with the problems.

Hold Weekly Meetings

It is a good idea to get into the habit of holding weekly meetings. You might even want to have short, daily meetings as well, just to see where things are in the timeline and answer any questions your team may have about certain tasks. Regular meetings will help you to keep the project on track, which is what being a project manager is all about. Don’t forget to inform your clients weekly as to the status of their projects as well, so they are always in the loop.

Quality Over Quantity

It is not enough to simply complete a project on time and within or under budget. You need to deliver quality work, and the quality should be more important than getting it done on time or saving money (although these are important as well). Ask for feedback on your team’s work, both from your team and from outside sources, to ensure that you are going to be delivering quality work. Don’t forget to keep monitoring the timeline and resources while striving for quality.

Jane Hurst is a content manager from San Francisco. She is a business writer and writing coach. Find Jane on Twitter.

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