One of the primary responsibilities of a project manager is to take care of a number of critical tasks to ensure the success of a project. From planning, updating and monitoring projects to conveying information to team members and supervising them, project managers have a lot on their plates. Of course, the successful execution of a project requires managers to be at the top of their game and identify project threats and risks and take corrective action. So, it’s safe to say that a project manager’s role is not easy by any means.
With that said, those who are new to their role as a project manager have little to no idea about the dilemmas they will face. Even seasoned project managers with extensive experience in the industry are not immune to this situation.
Nevertheless, it is much easier to cope with these challenges if you have some knowledge about them. In this article, we cover five important project management lessons to give you an idea of what makes a successful project manager:
Understanding Stakeholders Is of Paramount Importance
The majority of projects fail because project managers are unable to clearly understand the requirements of their stakeholders or project managers make decisions without truly understanding stakeholders’ goals and needs. Needless to say, this has an adverse impact on the project as well as a manager’s relationship with stakeholders.
As a project manager, you must remember that your foremost goal is to meet the business requirements of your stakeholders. Unless you bring value to stakeholders, you are unlikely to grow as a project manager. However, in order to understand their requirements, you must dedicate extensive time and effort to the project.
However, sometimes, the demands of a stakeholder can be far-fetched or vague. In such a situation, it is your job as a manager to find out what they want and come up with pragmatic solutions to meet their requirements under the given time and budget.
Continuous Communication Is Essential
“Communication is key” may be a cliché, but it does hold true. Even at the highest level, a slight mistake in communication can be the difference between project success and project failure.
Experienced managers will tell you how important it is to avoid communicative errors during project execution. As a project manager, you must have sharp situational awareness and communicate with your team and clients clearly and effectively. This can prevent any misunderstanding from happening between you and your team/client.
Communication is vital to project success. If there’s a lack of open communication in your team, it will be difficult for you to identify the root cause of an issue, when things go wrong. When things start going downhill, some project managers may blame others for it. This sort of behavior leads to further problems. Do not play the blame game and take responsibility for your and your team’s performance.
Ideally, you need to invest your time in establishing a clear communication plan with your team on board. Remember, without proper communication, it’s impossible to deal with project problems effectively.
Fight for Project Deadlines
You must keep in mind that not all projects go smoothly. Each time you make changes to a client’s project, it disrupts the overall workflow, making it harder to meet the project deadline.
You may encounter various problems that can impede the progress of your project and lead to failure. This is why project managers must fight for the viability of their projects. Although a client’s requirements are of the utmost priority, speak up if they are introduced too late.
Therefore, you must carefully monitor and defend your project goals, timelines, and teams as much as you can. Although it will be hard to say no to clients in many situations, if you show resistance to needless additional demands, it will be easier to complete the project in the given timeframe.
It’s Alright If You Don’t Know Everything
Many new project managers feel that they need to be perfectionists. However, experienced project managers will tell you that knowing what you don’t know is essential to becoming a successful project manager.
Although it’s a project manager’s responsibility to assign the right people for the right job, they must understand that they don’t have all the answers. In fact, if a project manager believes that he or she knows everything about every aspect of a certain project, they would be overestimating their abilities and end up making the wrong decisions.
A sensible project manager understands that they need insight and input from other members of their team in order to be effective. Project managers need to learn and develop expertise in different scenarios through experience. However, when you don’t have the required experience on a subject matter, it’s better to consult an expert for it.
Don’t Rely on Tools for Critical Work
Project managers are often juggling various responsibilities simultaneously. As a result, some project managers rely on different project management tools to make their lives a bit easier. Using the latest project management tools is a great way to save time and complete projects successfully.
For example, you can use Slack to communicate with your team members to ensure you don’t miss out on anything important. Similarly, you can use a bunch of other tools for the tracking and budgeting of projects.
That being said, you cannot simply set up the software and forget about it as it needs frequent updates. Also, you cannot simply rely on it to perform crucial tasks that require your utmost attention. You need to invest your time, effort and resources in planning and prioritizing projects.
It’s impossible to become a great project manager overnight. You need to go through a continuous learning curve to improve as a manager and do your job more effectively.