Top 10 Tips for Project Managers
1 – Follow a process.
This depends on the company that you work for as they may already have a project management methodology in place, so you will have to follow that, but don’t let it stop you suggesting new ideas. Read and keep up to date on good project management practices, you may be told to do this by your work, but you should be doing this off your own back. Most companies with a current methodology will have a diagram of their general processes, print it off and keep it close to hand, it can help you to keep on track.
2 – Ask for a Mentor.
Two heads are better than one, especially if the other has more experience and knowledge than you. This kind of help can prove to be invaluable to you and the company, you can always learn more. Your company may suggest a mentor or you may have to go searching for one, if you can, try and find someone with a good attitude as this will rub off on you.
3 – Surround yourself with tools.
Find as many things as possible that can help make your job easier, every little thing can be combined to be a great help. There is software available to help you; plan your project, for task management, create great mind maps and create logs for issues and risks. If you aren’t to hot with computers then you should think about learning about this software, but for the moment, Microsoft Excel will help you with lots of things, its very versatile.
4 – Templates to Save You Time.
You have probably been doing this for some time so you may already have a set of templates that you have created and changed to fits your needs. But if you don’t have your own, there are many available on the internet, some are free and some you may have to pay for. These templates are great for saving you time and you should be able to fit them into most companies.
5 – You need to Plan.
Creating your own plan can save you so much time and time cost money in business. It helps you to structure your work life and allows you to deliver what is expected of you on time and properly. Making a good, solid plan is very important, if you get it right then the project will run smoothly and the product will be produced on time and within budget. It will also help you to show your boss(es) what you will be doing and it can bring up potential hazards that may not have been noticed without the plan.
6 – Communicate with the stakeholders and agree on the plan.
When you have written up your plan for the project, you need to show the stakeholders and they need to fully understand what will be going on in the project. They need to know what is going to be the end product, how the project will pan out, who will be working on which parts, how long it is expected to take and all the costs involved. The stakeholders are there to help make decisions so once everyone understands the project, if any changes need to be made, before the project has begun is the best time to make them.
7 – The project needs to be managed and tracked.
Once you have agreed upon the project plan with the stakeholders, the project can commence, so you need to keep on top of it and make sure the work is actually being done. This means you need to be involved in managing your team correctly and keeping track of all tasks as they go. It is a good idea to have regular meetings with employees or team leaders to make sure that everyone is still on track and to help put right any problems that have arisen. If there have been targets set and employees know there will be a meeting about it imminently, it will push them to get the job done which will help the project to stay on track. This will also help the project team to see the bigger picture as all their individual components come together.
8 – Manage ALL Issues and Risks Correctly.
One of your top priorities as a project manager is to keep on top of all issues and risks within the project. If an issue arises, it’s much better to tackle it early rather than leave it till later, in which time the issue could get worse and knock the project off track. If you successfully manage an issue or risk, both your team and customers will have more confidence in you.
9 – Progress Reports should be created regularly.
Everyone involved in the project including the project team, stakeholders and customers should be kept up to date on how the project is coming along. No one likes being left in the dark about things, especially customers as we live in the digital age where we expect things instantly. You don’t have much spare time and neither do most other people, so these reports need to be straight to the point, no need to write an essay when a simple – ‘Project is going well and is on target to be completed on time’, that’s all you really need. This also reinforces the fact that you know what is going on within the project and allows you to answer any questions thrown your way.
10 – Deliver the Product.
A completed project is what you are always aiming for and is what your customers expect from you. Delivering that product is paramount to keeping a good reputation within the company and to other potential customers, reputation is everything! Parts of the project should have set due dates so that the project team has something to aim for, apart from the overall completion date, and also allows you to know if you are on track or not.