All project managers constantly seek to improve their skills for the benefit of their projects. Without knowing all the inside tips and tricks of project management, a project manager can get lost in the weeds and the project can subsequently suffer.
You could fill an entire book with everything you don’t learn in school about being a project manager ( you could probably fill several books. In fact, I am sure someone already has…). In the interest of providing you with some free advice, here are just some of the steps you can take to become a better project manager that you can’t simply pick up in a class.
1. Think of the big picture and think in detail.
These may seem like conflicting ideas but as a project manager you need to be able to accommodate both mentalities. To think big picture, you have to keep events in perspective. You need to know where you want to go and how you want to get there before a project starts and be able to adhere to that as you work to complete the project. Thinking at a higher level will allow you to see how actions will affect current and future efforts. On the other hand, as a project manager, you also need to think in detail to be able to effectively share your vision with your team members. Thinking in detail allows you to be thorough and will enable you to share details with your team without being too vague. You can define your intended work and clarity reduces the chance of mistake.
2. Assign tasks according to strengths.
You need to make sure you know everyone’s talents, whether you have a predetermined team or you can assemble your own team. A project manage must be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of all their team members on an individual level. Knowing this information will help you assign the right task to the correct team member and your projects will have success. If you fail to determine each teammate’s strength, the project could be a complete failure as tasks will be assigned incorrectly and team members will not perform to their highest ability.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
We all know the old saying about making assumptions. Generally the rule of thumb is, DON’T. This is especially true when it comes to project managements. As a project manager, you really do not want to make the mistake of assuming everything is on track. To avoid this, make sure that you follow up with your team members to make sure all completed tasks are actually complete when they say it is. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t trust your team members. You should trust your team members, but you also need to verify that everything is getting done. This will help keep everyone on track to complete the project.
4. Assess once the project is complete.
A leader’s job isn’t finished when a project is complete. Once the project is complete, a project manager needs to take the time to review the project overall. Taking the time to review will help you see what was successful, what was problematic, and what could be improved. Meet with your team after the project was completed for feedback. After you do this, you can make a set of actionable ideas to be used to improve future projects.