The project manager builds a development plan, organizes a team, establishes the processes of working on a project which control the quality and delivery of products in time, and more. Several world class project managers shared their recommendations* for the sake of novices in this field. In this article, you will find useful rules and approaches that successful project managers apply in their work.
Always Be Composed
Remember that nobody will respect a flustered team leader. Try to always remain calm and collected in any situation. Plan your work and follow it. During the execution always work on your most complex pieces of work or sites first. If you do this, you will have a sufficient time for recovery, if required. Make use of task managers, world time clock, and programs for better productivity.
- Julie Craig, Melbourne, Australia
When you communicate with your team, listen to them attentively, making sure that their understanding and expectations are clear and precise. Build trust, support your team and respect their points of view, even if you fundamentally disagree with them. If you do not have faith in your team members’ skills, you cannot fully rely on them, and vice versa. If you plan to implement many successful projects, you need to learn how to build an open relationship of trust.
Think thoroughly, seek input, make decisions and act. Be flexible - don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but be ready to correct and change them.
- Hammad Khan, San Francisco Bay Area, USA
Discuss the Risks and Challenges
- No surprises. Make sure that key stakeholders are told about issues and risks before they are raised at meetings. Tell them what the possible options are for resolving or mitigating them and what you recommend. However, make it clear that it is their call. In this case, they will have time to reflect and decide - often choosing the option that you have suggested.
- Proper planning. You should have a proper plan with milestones, dependencies, durations, resources to do your job successfully. You will need appropriate information as you move up the stakeholder chain. Usually Chief Executives want a detailed picture on one page with key milestones and indicative dates - not the whole plan, but they must have it if it is needed.
- Governance. Successful project management is impossible without a fully constituted, regular and well-attended Steering Committee, which makes decisions and supports you. A proper project hierarchy includes having all the key roles identified and filled with agreed job descriptions. Also, there should be an internal project meeting structure with weekly or daily one-to-one sessions as appropriate and an up-to-date Escalation Matrix so that everyone knows who to contact when things go wrong.
- Chris Clegg, Kempshott, United Kingdom
Ask Questions Constantly
Keep digging and asking why. You need to know all about your project - planning features, objectives and results of the tasks as well as a monitoring plan, which identifies key performance indicators and tools. Organize your work clearly; keep a tracker of all activities and tasks. Keep all Stakeholders and Team members engaged in the work and make sure the tasks that are being monitored are regularly updated.
- Anonymous Author
Keep Detailed Project Documentation
You should monitor the status of completed tasks and never stop communicating with the team. Keep detailed documentation of the project and constantly keep all the team members posted of the latest news of the project.
- Pietro Cordier, Zurich Area, Switzerland
First, Determine the Objectives
Define the project scope well and avoid assumptions as much as possible. Clear the definition of the project terms and concentrate on the stated goals.
- Serge Nalivayko, Las Vegas, USA
Develop Communication Skills
The most important quality of an effective project manager is communication skills. Communication with the team members allows us to promptly identify any inconsistencies. Interacting with customers makes it possible to quickly identify any changes in the requirements for the project.
Build motivated teams and trust them to do the job. The success or failure of your project depends on each member. Therefore, in addition to knowledge and skills, you will need the ability to effectively motivate and manage people.
Plans are alive, so always reiterate them. Collate the task’s progress with the plan. For effective risk management, you should be able to adapt quickly to any fluctuations and make changes if they needed.
- Islam Kotb Ismail, Munich Area, Germany
Adhere to Triangle of Cost, Time and Deliverables
While planning, and implementing the tasks, adhere to the Triangle: Cost, Time and Deliverables. Ensure that the stakeholders have the same frameworks.
Eliminate or Reduce Risks and Resolve Risks. To develop an effective strategy and to implement the project within the stated terms, it is necessary to constantly monitor the risks that may arise during the project, and to have at hand a plan to reduce risks.
Work hard and persevere with every task. You cannot know everything but take every opportunity to acquire new knowledge.
- Christo Farmer, Cape Town Area, South Africa
Honesty, Flexibility, Consistency
Consistency in the team is the key to success. Keep trustful and honest relations with clients and colleagues. Promise less than you can, but do more than promised. Regularly develop new skills and be flexible in the choice of methods used in project management.
- Andrew Soswa, Greater Chicago Area, USA
Prioritize the Project’s Tasks
Communication is never over. Communicate to quickly identify any changes and issues.
Have daily planning, assessment, and prioritization. Coordinate your priorities, distribute power and responsibilities among the project participants and achieve project implementation.
Get as much knowledgeable experience and expertise as possible. Experience is the most valuable resource of effective project managers, which comes only with years of hard work, mistakes and the invaluable advice of mentors.
- Robert Hunt, Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area, USA
Impugn the Ideas to Make Them Better
Your task is to manage projects effectively. Your team’s task is to provide the necessary knowledge and experience. Therefore, it is often useful to ask for clarification of what you are told. If you don’t have the necessary technical knowledge base, ask the technical experts to explain their proposed solutions to ensure their validity and effectiveness.
- Scott Larnet, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The key quality of a successful project manager is the ability to interact, troubleshoot problems and make decisions. Think innovatively and outside the template, but keep in mind the strategic picture of the whole project.
- Melanie Williams, London, England
Keep Team Proposals and Ideas on Track
During the meeting, it is important to stay focused and direct the discussion back on track. Note the ideas, requirements, comments and problems of the participants; try to divide them into categories for practical implementation. Thus, you will be able to focus the participants’ attention on specific agenda items, and assign responsibilities effectively.
- Michael Hammud, Greater Chicago Area, USA
Want to Share Your Tips?
Share with us your suggestions and ideas in the comments below. Tell us your rules for successful project management and the software you use in your work.
Editor’s Note: Some quotes and statements were edited from their original form for readability.