Project management is about dealing with difficult projects and complicated people, impossibly short deadlines and limited budgets. Additionally, each project manager has to face the "Iron Triangle”, which represents project's constraints: time, cost and quality.
It is not easy to be a project manager but there are few tips that can help you to successfully complete your project, improve collaboration and general process efficiency.
Nine Tips For Professional Project Managers
1. Be Flexible
From different approaches and management methods you can't stick to just one. Good project manager is flexible and adaptive. Sometimes you have to give commands and in some situations you should involve the team to make suggestions, share ideas and delegate permissions.
2. Get To Know Your Team
The project manager has to clearly define the roles that each person involved in the project will play and hold each person to these roles. Moreover, to be good at project management you need to make an effort to find out more about your co-workers. What are their needs, wishes, when are they satisfied and what makes them fulfilled? Remember that everyone is different. If you do not know what drives your team, you won't get the best out of them.
3. Set Challenges Not Coercive Measures
Everyone needs to be challenged but not pushed. Stretching and challenging your team members help them develop and maintain their interests. But monitor how much your team members are being challenged, because stretching them too hard will have negative consequences.
4. Set Clear Goals
How to choose the best way on a crossroad if you really don't know where you are going? Setting objectives for team and every team member is crucial. SMART is the easiest way to point goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Team members need a clear sign that they achieved their goals.
5. Motivate Your Team
First of all, it's much better to create an atmosphere that favors new ideas and creativeness than personally try to motivate team members. Secondly, project manager should understand that team members might not be susceptible to the same kind of motivation as their boss. Another important thing is to define what actually motivates your team. Then remember to be fair for everyone. Nothing demotivates more than an unequal treatment.
6. Built Trust And Manage Change
A happy team equals a productive one. Three major barriers of a team’s happiness and success are change, loss of control and lack of trust. Team members need to feel reassured that you are looking out for their best interests. Therefore, managing major changes carefully is important. Employees need to trust their project manager that they are safe even when major changes are coming. To truly gain the trust of your team, you need to show that you are competent at what you do and that you care about your team and have their best interests at heart.
7. Communicate And Interact With Your Team
Good communication is vital in any organization. A team has to know exactly what is required and by when. Sharing problems and collaborating in real time is essential for groups. Communication can heal the atmosphere, help with crisis situations, solve conflicts and increase overall productivity of the team.
8. Prioritize Your Work And Your Team Work
Another thing is to limit the amount of work assigned to each team member. To work effectively, project manager should divide tasks among team members and set priorities. Remember the Pareto rule: 20% of activities gives you 80% of result. Focus on ones that are really important.
9. Evaluate Work
Control and analyze team performance. It will give you a great background for implementing improvements which will increase your team's productivity.
Visual Project Management Software Makes Work Easier
The visual project management software is a great help to all project managers. It can be based on Gantt's chart, WBS or Kanban method. Electronic applications significantly reduce time needed for planning, increase visibility, efficiency and productivity.
Online Kanban boards for managing projects are visually similar to physical boards and can be easily shared within your team in real-time. You can start with the simplest workflow. Just divide your board into 3 columns: To Do, Doing and Done.
If your project is more complex you can always add more columns and swimlanes to better map your workflow. Next step is to divide your project into smaller parts - tasks that you will assign to each team member. When all is set up you can start watching how the magic works.
Productivity increases because each team member knows what to do and what his co-workers are working on. The whole team is communicating in real-time more often than ever before. Everyone focuses on the most important tasks and identifies problems much, much faster. The process and progress of work is finally clear and visible to all. And thanks to visual project management software you have more time to focus on more important things.