Even for those with years of experience, being a project manager is no easy task. Project managers need to have an incredible amount of on-the-job experience and knowledge, from developing leadership skills and learning to be an effective communicator to goal setting and execution.
While the role can appear to be overwhelming at first, being a project manager can add an incredible amount of value to your professional resume. Companies will always need the skillsets learned, refined and mastered by project managers.
The following tips will help new project managers find success, conquer current projects and set themselves up for more challenging — and rewarding — jobs in the future.
Understand the full scope of the project
Never go into a new project blind. Doing so will only set you up for failure. Instead, take the time to dissect the entire project scope and comb through every detail before diving in.
While you might be overly excited to begin a new project, surprises down the line can be costly — impacting the project as well as your reputation. The time spent preparing will pay off in the form of achieving goals and making fewer pivots.
Map out the project’s top priorities
Once you have a complete understanding of the project’s scope, you can begin to map out the top priorities. You must be able to identify the tasks that must be addressed in the early stages of the project, what ones can wait and what tasks require advanced planning.
You never want to be caught off guard. The minute the project slows down, it creates a bottleneck disaster that can lead to a complete collapse and utter chaos. Project disasters are typically due to not prioritizing tasks.
Set realistic goals and milestones
When it comes to goal setting, you need to be realistic. This isn’t the time to play the hero or attempt the impossible. A company wants the project to move along as planned — so set realistic goals that you can meet, or even better, exceed.
When setting your project milestones, break your goals into several micro-goals that are highly measurable. When all your team members can step back and see the progress, it leads to high team morale and higher productivity.
Be comfortable leading and taking charge
As a project manager, you need to be willing and able to take charge of every component, from the team members to the project itself. You need to be willing to embrace this leadership role with open arms.
Not every project is going to run smoothly. There will be bumps in the roads, obstacles that require maneuvering around and other unexpected issues. Displaying a lack of confidence can hurt the entire team.
As the project manager, your team is going to look to you for guidance and advice, so be prepared to take charge and lead.