Becoming a successful project manager takes time. Many people train for years to learn the ropes, get the experience and skills necessary to manage projects of all scales. However, project management skills are relevant in multiple job roles, helping you to manage your time, productivity and working with others.
Take the initiative and improve your skills with these steps to better project management.
1. Get to know the ins and outs of your project
Working on projects often involves bringing several components together. If you only understand part of it, how can you ensure the project’s success? Take the time to get to know every element of your project and the work that’s involved in delivering it. This can help you to set deadlines more effectively and build relationships with everyone involved. This initial research takes time, but it’s worth doing to ensure the best for your project.
2. Be a better communicator
Communication is the key to successful projects. Not only do you need to communicate what’s happening, but you also need to be prepared to have some difficult conversations along the way. Becoming a better communicator involves several elements, and with practice and experience, you can develop your skills in this area. If you’re particularly nervous about speaking or communicating clearly, you should consider some public speaking or communication courses to help you develop your confidence.
3. Get yourself some formal training
Some additional training to boost your role is a good way to feel more confident, as well as help you secure promotions due to your enhanced skills. The good news is that you don’t even have to go back to university or college full-time to boost your prospects – online learning is the future. Click here to find more about earning a lean manufacturing degree or research other degrees that could be relevant to your industry and career. Online learning is flexible and manageable and could be a great solution to help you grow your skills.
4. Use project management tools
Technology can be your best friend when it comes to managing projects, so why not take advantage of what’s out there? There are some top project management tools that you don’t need to be a qualified project manager to use to your advantage. Different online tools allow you to collaborate, communicate and curate, giving everyone access whenever and wherever they need it. For helping you to keep track of your deadlines and uploading documents, plans, etc., you can’t beat an online project management tool.
5. Stay up to date
As a project leader, it’s your job to have your finger on the pulse at all times. You need to know what’s happening, what progress has been made, and so on. Staying up to date on each stage of your project requires some effective planning on your part, as well as making sure that others communicate their progress too. Get into the habit of planning regular progress report meetings to help you tackle issues head-on and establish deadlines and expectations for project workers. The more you know about your project’s progress the better, so be sure to decide on the frequency of meetings that will suit your project best.
6. Learn how to delegate
When you take ownership over a piece of work or a project, it can be very difficult to let go and delegate to others. Developing a strategy for delegating will help you entrust tasks to those with the right skills and experience to do them, freeing up more time for yourself. You have skills available at your fingertips, so learn to let go – it’ll be much easier to oversee the project when you’re not caught up doing too much of it yourself.
7. Improve your organisation skills
It’s difficult to manage a project and keep it organised when you’re disorganised yourself. Becoming more organised both at work and outside of it can help you hone the skills that will make you a better project manager. From starting your day a little earlier to making the most of to-do lists, etc, you can find hacks and time-saving tricks that will make project management as easy as riding a bike.
8. Champion and motivate
Part of being a project leader involves motivating your project team to deliver their best work. Be your team’s cheerleader and champion their work – it can pay off more than you know. Celebrate the achievements and the things that have gone well, and ask for input and feedback around key decisions. It also helps to celebrate the end of a successful project. Get the first round in, arrange a celebratory lunch and congratulate your team on a job well done. Finding ways to motivate your employees is important, and they’ll be pleased to work for someone who inspires them and champions them to deliver their best performance.
9. Don’t over-promise
When you’re planning a project, it can be easy to promise too much, which can make it difficult to deliver. Managing expectations is a key trait of a skilled project manager, as well as communicating issues when there are possible delays or work won’t be delivered as expected. Setting clear aims and expectations in advance is a must – start off small to keep stakeholders happy and prevent added pressure being placed on your team.
10. Push yourself
While you don’t want to push yourself to the breaking point, it’s important to have some ambition as a project manager. Put yourself forward for larger, more ambitious projects and thrive on the challenge – it’s a good way to enhance your skills. Sticking to the same types of projects can soon make things dull, which could lead to you being complacent or bored and not paying as close attention to your work as you should. Keep chasing bigger and better things to help you reach new heights in your career.
Project management skills are useful for many types of jobs, helping you assert your leadership and use planning skills that can benefit your work. Work on developing your project management experience to help you achieve further success with your career.