10 Project Management Tips Every Project Manager Should Know
a year ago
Project management is not for the faint of heart. You have to juggle deadlines, budgets, and team members on top of the other responsibilities that come with running a company. And yet, project managers are expected to do all this and keep their cool while doing so!
How can you manage everything when it feels like there's little to no time? But before your stress levels reach new heights, below are ten project management tips that will surely make your work easier.
1. Understand Every Inch of the Project
It takes more than just knowing the project to make it work. As the project manager, you have to look at it from different angles and determine your options.
- What does the project aim to achieve?
- What are the expectations and requirements of the stakeholders?
- How do you determine the criteria for success?
- When is the deadline?
- What are the risks of failure?
Of course, these are only surface-level questions. Still, you can use it to jumpstart a plan together with your team. When you have a clear understanding of what needs to be done, you can focus the team's efforts on the things that matter. This saves time, money, and energy in the long run.
2. Goal Breakdown
Alright, you've finally determined your end goal. But what will you do if it's too demanding for your team to handle at the moment? You break it down into manageable bits.
Come up with objectives that support your ultimate goal. They should be measurable, achievable, and realistic when it comes to deadlines. On top of that, make sure that your goals complement each other to avoid setbacks.
Once you've covered the project's scope, it's time to set milestones. These are significant points in your project cycle that measures progress and identify necessary adjustments to ensure success.
Reaching a milestone also boosts your team's morale after long hours of work. Don't forget to celebrate with them!
3. Know the Roles and Responsibilities
Being the project manager, you need to understand every role. This allows you to maximize your members' strengths and compensate for weaknesses. How does it work? You assign people to tasks that they're good at.
For example, someone with artistic skills and graphics design experience should create logos and visuals. Meanwhile, you can delegate another member to research related articles or collect brand identity guidelines from competitors.
Still, these scenarios typically rely on individual expertise. This brings you to the next tip:
4. Hire People Based on Actual Skills and Experience
You don't actually need to recruit every top-rated professional to complete the project. You'll hurt your budget if you do since most of them have high paychecks. However, this doesn't mean you should settle for less.
For less crucial positions, you can hire entry-level folks with a teachable mindset. For more critical responsibilities, make sure you ask potential applicants the right questions. Learn about their history, achievements, and what they can offer to the project's success.
As much as you can, never hire anyone based on availability. Not unless it's an emergency. See, it won't be long before you realize how many compromises you'll have to make once you do so.
5. Don't Be a Perfectionist
Please don't take this the wrong way. Not aiming for perfection doesn't mean you shouldn't strive for excellence. The point is, people will always be prone to making mistakes. That's because humans can decide for themselves.
It's a part of human nature that machines will never be able to emulate. So instead of commanding your team to perform everything perfectly, tell them to simply focus on completing tasks and fulfilling their duties satisfactorily.
6. Make Communication a Natural Function at Work
Communication is crucial not only in project management but for every relationship in general. First and foremost, you should be able to communicate the project status effectively to the stakeholders.
At the same time, listen carefully to their requirements and expectations. If they demand something that sounds impossible, don't hesitate to speak up and help them understand.
As for your team, encourage them to voice out their opinions. Be open to suggestions. Engage in casual talks during breaks. Talk to members who are having trouble with their work. Offer some advice.
The last thing you want to happen is the entire project crumbling down because everybody is either too scared to correct or too shy to uplift one another.
7. Find a Suitable Project Management Software
Project management apps are the best friends of every project manager. They're like digital hacks that enable you to organize tasks, automate certain functions, and centralize your operations. There are many tools available on the market, but the best ones typically share one common trait: collaboration.
Since success greatly depends on the combined efforts of team members, a project management tool must offer features that allow teamwork, flexibility, and smooth communication.
8. Draw the Line Between Pressure and Over Exhaustion
Stress will always be present in any workplace. Naturally, you shouldn't overwork your staff to avoid losing productivity. But you also wouldn't want to get too lax on them either.
This can lead to complacency that gives birth to laziness, resulting in missed deadlines or low-quality outputs. That's why you need to find the right balance between putting pressure on your team and giving them a breather.
Set realistic deadlines, ample requirements, and reasonable expectations. Also, don't be afraid to put work up your unit if the situation requires it. Occasional crunch times are good to keep everyone's brains running!
9. Forget About Multitasking
As the popular saying goes, 'You can't serve two masters at the same time.' This is pretty solid advice when it comes to project management. Multitasking might seem like a good idea to get things done quickly, but it also makes you prone to errors since you can't focus on one thing.
Don't believe it? A study conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) actually shows that taking on multiple tasks at once reduces productivity by 40%.
Knowing this, encourage your team to tackle one task at a time with undivided focus. Little by little, your project will begin to take shape, milestone after milestone.
10. Have a Sense of Humor
No, no. You don't have to shift careers from being a project manager to a comedian. Still, it would be nice if the team can have a good laugh in the office every now and then. Focus and stress drain energy levels. People need to unwind.
A little dose of humor can make the difference in changing the atmosphere into a positive one. So please don't be mad the next time someone tries to crack a joke, no matter how corny it is. Tee-hee!
Being a project manager is no simple task. You have a mountain of responsibilities strapped behind your back. But as you already know, the bigger the risk, the better the rewards. Make sure to be consistent, keep your team in shape, focus on your goals, and it won't be long till you get to enjoy the fruits of your hard work.