No matter whether you are new to project management or you have handled many projects over the years, life as a project manager is ever-changing and you should never stop learning. With that in mind, read on for 100 project management tips that can help you to be more successful in your role.
|Respect other cultures when managing remote teams. More and more project managers have to handle remote teams. It is vital to respect their culture and way of life when doing so.
|Never stop learning. Project management training courses aren’t just for beginners; they are for seasoned professionals too.
|When dealing with change, you need to be sympathetic to people’s emotional resistance to it. However, you need to make sure you continue to move things forward.
|Go beyond email communication. Nowadays, there are so many different ways to communicate, with project management tools being more advanced than ever before.
|Leverage the collective strength of your team.
|Encourage collaboration within your team.
|Stop having a reactive mindset. You need a preventative approach.
|Learn how to delegate tasks efficiently. One of the biggest mistakes that project managers make is spreading themselves too thin.
|Pull ideas from everyone on the team, no matter their role.
|When assessing project failure, remember that it never just comes down to one thing. Looking for the single root cause of failure is not the correct way to approach analysis.
|Don’t take anything for granted. You need to be prepared for anything.
|Don’t lose your cool or overact. Yes, projects can be challenging, but losing your cool will rarely solve anything.
|Identify the strengths and weaknesses of every team member. This will help you to delegate more effectively and manage your team with greater success.
|Review and learn from every project.
|Always explain why the due date for a task is the due date. This will help each team member feel accountable for the task that they are responsible for.
|Make a stakeholder management plan.
|Deal with scope creep. Scope creep is one of the most difficult elements project managers need to deal with.
|Remove distractions. For example, turn social media and email notifications off.
|Work on your interpersonal skills.
|Show gratitude. Feedback should not only be negative; you need to show your appreciation and give positive feedback too.
|Establish shared beliefs.
|Create a schedule template for your clients.
|Set realistic expectations to avoid project delays. Many project managers are guilty of setting their team up for failure by imposing deadlines that are over ambitious.
|Make the most of time management software to keep your team organised.
|Make sure you handle change requests by establishing clear expectations. This is especially important when you are dealing with challenging clients.
|Create standardised templates for your methods, processes, and systems. This will ensure that time is not wasted while also helping you to avoid mistakes.
|Learn to accept criticism and become more self-aware.
|Sort out any problems at the earliest opportunity.
|Empower other people on your team to fix problems themselves.
|Make sure your risk management plan is discussed with your team on a continual basis.
|Be transparent. If you are caught in a lie or you have failed to disclose important information, your team will lose trust in you, as will the client.
|Communicate more than you think is required. It is always better to over-communicate than not communicate enough.
|Filter information that is trivial or irrelevant.
|Listen first. Don’t just listen for the sake of waiting for an opportunity to speak. You need to truly listen to what people are saying.
|Have a communication plan.
|Create a feedback loop. This is important so that all team members can experience how their contributions have an impact on the project.
|Make sure everyone is aware of the steps they need to take to secure the project. The last thing you want is for your project to derail because of a data breach.
|Maintain accurate records and files.
|Know what everyone is doing.
|Communicate as you collaborate. Some project managers make the mistake of assuming that communication and collaboration are the same thing. They aren’t, but they do go hand-in-hand. You need to make sure you schedule regular check-ins with your team and choose the right medium for communicating with your team.
|Gather all of the materials you need. This includes a draft budget, a draft schedule, and a Statement of Work (SOW).
|Be honest when things go wrong.
|Don’t schedule yourself at 100 per cent. If you work for nine hours, it is impossible to work for every minute of those nine hours, so don’t schedule every minute of them.
|Decompose tasks. It can be incredibly difficult to work efficiently when you have a mountain to climb. All projects should be broken down into smaller more achievable segments.
|Use historical information. If a previous project has done something similar, you can use it to make sure you do not repeat the same mistakes again.
|Use resource calendars.
|Don’t be scared to fail. If you are, you will never succeed.
|Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you do not know why senior management has done something, ask them. You may be surprised by some of the answers that you get.
|Make every step clear to your employees. When something goes wrong, it is usually because people do not know what is expected or how to go about it.
|Track project status honestly and openly.
|You should only count tasks as complete when they are 100 per cent complete. We often like to give ourselves partial credit for tasks that we have begun but not finished yet.
|Plan contingency buffers.
|Treat all team members equally. You can’t have favourites as a project manager.
|Use estimation tools and techniques.
|Record estimates and how you derived them.
|Build training time into your schedule.
|Don’t schedule multi-tasking. Working on one task at a time is a much more efficient way to go about it.
|Do not estimate based on calendar time. Estimate based on effort.
|Plan to do rework after a quality control activity.
|Define product release criteria.
|Define project success criteria. This means defining measurable and clear business goals. Some examples include achieving certain customer satisfaction measures, reaching a specified revenue or sales volume, and increasing market share by a certain amount by a specified date.
|Maintaining a good relationship with the owners of the project is critical to success.
|Stay positive. If you have a negative vibe, it will rub off on your team members.
|Technology has changed project management dramatically. You need to stay up-to-date with all of the latest technology if you are to be effective in your role.
|Read project management quotes to inspire yourself. There are lots of great quotes online that you can use when you are feeling a lack of motivation.
|Know what you want to achieve with every project.
|Develop emotional intelligence. You need to understand how people on your team function and interact with one another. This ensures you can tailor your approach to get the best out of your team members. And, of course, people actually need to enjoy working for you.
|Make sure you start every meeting with a goal.
|Only invite team members to meetings who are impacted by what is being discussed. So much time is wasted in unnecessary meetings.
|When dealing with remote teams, you need to make sure you have a plan in place for dealing with the team difference. This includes people leaving updates for the other team to collect when they get into work. If you need to have a video call, make sure you take turns in terms of who is going to need to stay late because of the time difference.
|Have an escalation strategy.
|Set up calendar reminders for milestones.
|Turn every mistake into a learning opportunity.
|Avoid playing the blame game. It does not help anyone. Instead of looking for someone to blame, look for ways you can make sure the same mistakes do not happen again in the future.
|Make sure that stakeholders do not only believe in the budget, but that they believe in the goal.
|Hold one-on-one project feedback sessions.
|Think about all of the outside forces that could have an impact on your project. This includes both negative and positive impacts.
|Understand your own role first. You can’t delegate effectively if you do not understand your own role to begin with.
|Whenever someone makes a suggestion, you need to ask follow-up questions.
|There is no room for egos in any project. Not only do you need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team, but your own strengths and weaknesses too.
|Build a culture of innovation and sharing to build a strong team.
|Think outside of the box.
|Challenge ideas. This is the only way you are going to make them better.
|Respect every opinion as if it were your own.
|Make sure you keep detailed project notes to share. Everyone on the team needs to be aware of what is going on.
|Establish Key Performance Indicators. These are metrics that should help you to determine the progress of your project.
|Communicate delays as soon as possible. Some project managers attempt to keep delays quiet in the hope that the team will catch up. More often than not, things just end up getting more out of hand.
|Offer help to your team members on a frequent basis – not just when they need it. This shows that you are a people person and it cultivates good faith in your workplace.
|Always be specific. It helps to avoid confusion and stops people making assuptions.
|At the start of every project, outline the SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.
|Use a responsive to-do list. Flexibility is a must, especially if you are working to a deadline that is several months away. This is why responsive tools are beneficial.
|Make sure you create accountability for yourself. This includes tracking your own progress and sharing your progress towards goals with others Involved on the project.
|Encourage regular breaks. Both you and your team members should take breaks regularly to ensure optimal working efficiency.
|Create a reverse to-do list for your projects. When you are working to a deadline that is a month or longer away, it always helps to start from the delivery date and work backwards.
|Always update the software you use to the latest version. This is vital for security reasons.
|Having project management software is only useful if people know how to use it effectively, otherwise it is just another task to complete.
|Speak to your team – you are never going to know what’s going on if you do not catch up with your team regularly!
|Take the time to reflect on the project and it’s over-riding purpose.
|Learn from other project managers. The Internet enables project managers to connect and share their tips. Make the most of this, as well as looking at project management themed blogs too.
So there you have it: 100 tips that can help you to become a better project manager. If you follow the advice above, you should be better equipped to handle any project and any challenge that is thrown your way.