Project management is an invaluable skill in any business, whether you’re building apps, creating innovative products, or offering services. Creating a project plan and following it from beginning to completion create consistency, measurable progress, and accountability.
Becoming a better project manager is a worthwhile goal. Here are seven tips to help you improve your project management skills.
Invest in Professional Development Courses
It takes a certain mindset to be an effective project manager. While there’s value in learning by doing, investing in training and professional development courses will accelerate your path to success. These courses can give you an overview of different approaches to project management, the tools, and how to navigate cross-functional teams.
In addition to general project management training, you can also take specialized courses for project management within your field. Fortunately, taking project management courses in the digital age means having access to high-quality training from anywhere. For example, you can take a Six Sigma certification online, adding value to your resume without disrupting your schedule.
Invest in the Right Project Management Tools
Finding the right project management tools for your team is another integral consideration for success. The challenge here is the endless cloud-based project management software options to choose from. In many cases, team leaders get stuck in choosing a platform, delaying productivity further.
When choosing project management software, look for something that’s intuitive and user-friendly. All the extra bells and whistles don’t matter if people struggle to use the platform. Make time for training once you make your choice.
Empower Your Team
When you take on the role of project manager within your organization or department, you’re taking ownership of the process. However, it’s not reasonable to expect that you’d know or understand all the contingencies and processes from various functions within the business.
Assemble your team and draw from their knowledge and expertise. Empower them to take ownership in the process, to speak up when they know something won’t work, and share in the success.
Become a Taskmaster
The term “taskmaster” tends to have negative connotations. But, when you’re a project manager, you have to babysit the timelines and delegate tasks to your team.
Communication is the key to success with any project. Clarify to whom tasks are assigned and when they’ll be completed by. Ensure that everyone understands how delays impact the overall project and disrupt work for other team members. Being polite, considerate, and understanding is important for managing a team. It’s also important to determine where progress is getting bottlenecked and creating plans to move ahead.
Reverse Engineer Your Goal
Rather than mapping out the project from step one, start at the end and work backward. The goal is the ultimate destination; you’ll need to reverse engineer it to create actionable steps.
Reverse engineering your goal can help identify your project needs and timeline. Consider this method an actionable approach to visualizing success.
Create Feedback and Evaluation Checkpoints
Milestones are smaller goals within an overall project that indicate progress. In addition to milestones, it’s also important to incorporate feedback and evaluation checkpoints— both for the project and yourself.
Create opportunities to re-evaluate the merit of the project. Have costs or priorities changed to indicate the project is no longer feasible? If so, there should be evaluation methods in place to determine whether a project should move forward or be killed.
You should also open yourself to feedback from your team. Ask them to tell you what they need, what barriers they’re facing, and how they view their role within the project.
Hold Post-Mortem Reviews and Celebrations
Finally, don’t forget to hold a post-mortem after each project failure. Every failed project is a lesson that shapes future successes. It’s important to take some time to review what went right and what went wrong while celebrating the effort.
Being a great project manager means being detail-oriented, organized, and driven, but it also means being thoughtful, compassionate, and team-focused. With these seven tips, you can become a better project manager.