Every novice project manager needs advice and recommendations. In this article, we share a few topics that are good to keep in mind always in your career as a project manager.
Project management can be both easy and enjoyable, as well as unpleasant and stressful. Remember these tips.
If it is not written, it will not happen.
Some bitter experience from the practice of many project managers shows that often the reason for failure is poor communication. And poor communication, in turn, is most often due to a lack of record of a decision made, a task assigned to it, a person responsible for implementation, a deadline for control, and whatever else you can think of. The project manager is responsible for communication, so it’s a good idea to follow one basic simple rule: Use three different communication channels. It is good to have something like “official documentation” for the project, which is available to all participants but to be more formal and formal. Build a system for “mobile communication”, through which you can not only remind the performers, but also receive timely feedback on the results of the performance. Third, use informal communication channels, which, although not in writing, are often highly effective.
In some cases, the above principle can be transformed into the form: “If it is not signed, it will not happen.” This is especially true for the typical project manager, who is not in a permanent managerial position. His power is considerably less, and observance of this principle can save him considerable trouble.
Don’t be afraid to replace bad people.
You understand that this is not about good and bad characters, but about people who do not do well with their tasks on the project. The project manager can rarely afford the luxury of training and mentoring. Indeed, projects are often used for this purpose – to train people in a new job or task, to test their abilities and competencies, to test their work in a certain new environment or team, and many others. But as a responsible project manager, be selfish. Your main goal is to complete the task (if possible on time and with minimal overspending of resources), and the training and development of staff to deal with the relevant departments. Or just make it clear in advance that the project is for just that purpose.
Unfortunately, there is no simple practical principle here that is applicable in most situations. It is known that everyone has the right to (one) mistake, but can you afford this luxury? If the project is important to you, apply the principle “The task is more important than people.” If you are wondering what we are talking about, remember “Work or People” and then you will clearly understand what style of behavior is most often used by successful project managers.
If you have even the slightest opportunity, insist on forming the project team yourself. At the very least, insist on defining the “key figures” yourself.
Choose your key figures carefully
Almost every task depends on the work, efforts, and competence of certain specific people – key figures. This is especially evident when working on a project. If you can’t select your entire project team, don’t hesitate to personally identify and select the “key figures”. In addition to competence, select them for direct loyalty and commitment to you. Recall that a group of people gathered to work together is not necessarily a team. Even in most cases, it is not. Among those gathered under the project there will be those who do not like you and will sabotage you, others who are incompetent or just bored, others who want to be elsewhere or do something different, etc. .n. Remember the 20/80 principles. The key people are 20% of the team, who will do 80% of the work. So choose them personally and take care of them.
Fix problems and report bad news immediately
Rest assured, there will be problems. If something can go wrong… Not all problems can be solved immediately. Sometimes there will be a lack of information, sometimes time, other times resources, and most often all this in a pile. But the task of the project manager is to identify (fix) and limit the problems, as well as to look for solutions. Do not deceive the team with remarks such as: “The crisis is an opportunity” and “This is how one learns”. Tell the bad news immediately and directly. Difficulties unite people – take advantage of this. Do not forget to “fix” the problem to senior management. You will probably need help in the form of advice and/or additional resources. Do not be afraid that your authority as a manager will suffer. He will suffer much more if the project fails.
Give a personal example
The principle of personal example in management is a worn-out topic. Do not skip these lines with the thought that the title is clear in itself. This is not at all about the fact that as a project manager you have to come to work first and leave last, to engage in the most difficult tasks or those that no one on the team wants to take on, as well as many others. such nonsense. Forget about a charismatic leader who inspires confidence and is a role model. Review the above rules again and give a personal example that you are not afraid to replace the poorly performing ones, that you want everything important to be described and everything is written to happen, that you stick to deadlines and budget. You are a project manager, not a project team leader. The second term does not exist in practice and is not known as a job position.
If you are a beginner project manager or have just completed a course or received a certificate, this article can help you: The new certified project manager in the team shares management practices, https://projectmanagers.edublogs.org/2020/10/16/certified-project-manager-shares-practices/
If you are just starting your training in the world of project management, read these invaluable tips: How to Become a Project Manager Without Experience and Degree, https://scrumtime.org/how-to-become-a-project-manager-without-experience/
Certified Scrum Master shares best practices, https://projectmanagement.cloudaccess.host/certified-scrum-master-shares-best-practices/
Prepare for a reaction before the “worst”
Figuratively speaking, the “worst” thing is for the project to fail. But this is not the worst thing from a managerial point of view. Remember that one of the differences between a manager and a leader is that the manager has more failures, but he doesn’t care.
It is good to have worked not only on a realistic but also on a pessimistic option when planning. However, when we talk about project management, the main managerial mistake is the lack of timely response before the final failure and especially before spending the entire budget and all the additional reserves. Subsequent analysis after many failed projects shows that at some point there was a very clear indication and unequivocal signals that the project will not be successful, its implementation is no longer possible or has simply become redundant. However, work on it continued until the already meaningless result was achieved, or even more often until the budget was spent.
Nobody likes bad news, and neither do senior executives. The latter often tend to violate another business-military-ethical rule: Do not shoot the messenger if he brings you bad news. However, the failure of a project can not but affect your managerial image. But if you have decent managers over you, even in the frustration of failure, they will appreciate the resources and effort saved in time. If you are not so lucky – look for a new field. Experienced professionals are still in demand.