So you’re the new project manager.
Did you get your first project? Can you manage it? Well, of course you can!
Managing a new project as a new project manager is going to be intimidating. You have a lot of new responsibilities in your job description, a lot of people are now looking up to you for guidance, and you’ve to bring everyone together to get everything done on time.
The whole situation can be frightening – unless you know what you need to do and how you need to go about your new role.
In this post, we’ve put together some of the best project management tips to help you plan, lead, manage, and deliver your projects in one piece. If you’re new at managing projects and teams, keep these 10 simple tips in mind to get through the day successfully, every day.
1. Take a minute to understand the difference between “command” and “lead”
“You “Protect” the project team, they do the rest.”
– Onur Karabulut
The kind of leadership style you chose will decide whether or not you are leading people and project to success.
Command and lead are two simple words that can create a lot of confusion in this case. Many new project managers fail to understand the difference between “leading a team” and “commanding a team”, as a result, things don’t work as they expect. Remember, as a project manager, your job is to lead the way to success – not giving orders.
2. Stop pretending that you know EVERYTHING
“You don’t have to know everything about everything — it’s ok to ask questions and learn from each experience.”
– Ann Lynne Dodson
Why? Because then you won’t be able to learn anything.
As a project manager, you want to seem competent. And that’s fair. But it doesn’t mean that you have to pretend to know everything or that you can’t ask questions about something new from your fellow employees. In simple words, the world won’t end if you didn’t know something.
3. Make excellent communication your #1 priority
“Precision of communication is important, more important than ever, in our era of hair-trigger balances, when a false or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden thoughtless act.”
– James Thurber
The power of good communication in the workplace is known to all.
In fact, good communication is one of the major factors that differentiate a poor leadership from the exceptional one. Having a strong communication system in the workplace means good performance and good leadership. When you create clear communication within teams and departments, you encourage a peaceful and productive work environment where work gets done quickly and professionally.
4. Always be the person who keeps everyone organized and focused
“Always keep a track record of the work being done.”
– Pietro Cecere
You’ll have a lot on your plate as a new project manager. Accept that.
From keeping multiple projects on track, tracking every individual’s performance, giving clients and stakeholders timely updates, to ensuring successful delivery of every project, you’ll be in complete control of a lot of things at work. This is where staying organized and focused becomes necessary for you.
Explore ways to keep your projects, files, teams, clients, project communications, etc organized and focus on what matters to you most at the moment. Don’t waste time – recognize your priorities, keep them organized and stay productive.
5. Use technology to optimize performance and avoid burnout
“44% of project managers use no software, even though PWC found that the use of commercially available project management software increases performance and satisfaction.”
– Price Waterhouse Coopers
Technology can be a great help in managing workload and helping teams achieve more productivity without any burnout or stress.
From free applications to a subscription based project management software solution, there are plenty of options available to you when you’re looking for ways to fill the productivity gaps in your everyday work life.
Just make sure that you pick the kind of software or tool that directly meets your needs and makes you more productive.
6. Beware of the role creep
“Your ultimate role is always to deliver what is in the WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) and project plan, use a designated process for scope change, risk monitoring, and issue management, and maintain good communication.”
– Michael Ayres MS
First, what is role creep?
Role creep is a common workplace ailment during which the project manager keeps assigning additional responsibilities and employees tend to accept them without any questions. This practice results in confusion and highly unwieldy job descriptions.
As a project manager, it is important that you create a work environment where both you and your employees explore innovative ways to accomplish the desired goals within the regular work principles and hours.
7. Make time your best friend
“It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?”
– Henry David Thoreau
As a project manager, your schedule is going to be pretty tight. That’s why it is important that you keep clear track of where and how your work hours are being used across various projects and teams. Plus, you need to encourage your teams to do the same. Find a reliable time tracking or time management software and inject it into your daily work process so that you can use every minute at work efficiently.
8. Be clear about the project objectives, assets, & risks – and communicate the same to your teams and clients
“Understand the project — so the planning, objectives, results that the project wants to achieve, and of course know the monitoring plan: what are the indicators, its tools, etc.”
– Marta Acero
Never start a project without knowing it inside out.
We know you want to finish big projects fast so that you can make a strong first impression as a new project manager. But this approach won’t work in the long run. You as well as your team needs to have a clear understanding about the objectives, assets, associated risks, etc in order to finish a project without sacrificing the quality of the work.
Always get to the finish line with a result that makes you feel proud.
9. Manage expectations along the way via 1-on-1 project feedback sessions
“Manage the stakeholders’ expectations within given limits. That would encompass all the necessary requirements such as deliverables, scope, etc.”
– John Mpungu
Being a new project manager is not just about managing a new team or a new project, it’s about living up to the expectations of the new clients as well.
How? Well, you’ll have to start communicating like crazy. Let your clients and stakeholders know exactly what’s happening in their projects. Additionally, allow them to share their feedback and suggestions directly with you and your team via a reliable review and approval process.
10. Never fear from the failure
“Don’t be afraid of mistakes — learn from them. They are the building blocks for future success in this challenging and dynamic profession!”
– Susan Kirkpatrick
Failure is a part of the success.
Everyone has failed and they will fail again at some point in their life. All that matters is what you learn and how you plan to become better prepared for similar situations in the future. Don’t get overwhelmed. Don’t resist yourself from doing something new. See every failure as a potential opportunity to learn an important lesson and apply that lesson in your life to make your management and leadership more successful.
Now that you’ve become familiar with these ten incredibly easy yet highly effective project management tips, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. With so many great insights, where do you even start? This is where you’ll have to trust your gut feeling.
Just take a quick scan before you make your debut as a project manager, find out the above tips that would be most helpful, apply them to your project management style, and keep adapting to what works best within a situation.
Would you like to add something to this post? Share your advice and thoughts in the comments below!
Cover image via Stocksnap.io