Guess what? You’ve been chosen as Project Manager on the next big project for your organization. Congratulations!
Whether you’ve led a lot of projects or this is your first time, there’s always something new to learn. Check out our list of what leadership skills you need to set yourself up for success the next time you take on the role of Project Manager.
Each part of a project is going to require you to handle things differently. Not only will each stage look different, but you’re going to have to adjust and rework the plan on the fly as things change.
Prepare yourself as much as possible by planning ahead and discussing what you want the project to look like with your team at each stage. Having a detailed and comprehensive understanding of what results you want will make working as a cohesive team easy.
For more tips and tricks about how to manage each phase of a project like a pro, check out Understanding Your Role as a Project Manager in Each Phase.
A good rule of thumb for most things is to make a note of something you don’t want to forget. When you’re working on a long-term project with several people, there will be a bunch of different minds working on a bunch of different tasks, even if it’s all for the same project. Keeping notes of everything you decide on and what you’ve delegated to everyone is going to be essential for keeping things running smoothly.
Encourage your team members to come prepared with questions they have that need clarifying and assign someone to take notes for the meetings, look them over afterwards, and then distribute them to the rest of the group so everyone has the same notes.
I touched on this point in the last part, but I can’t overstate how important it is for everyone to be on the same page when working on something collaboratively. Eliminate confusion by making sure everyone has the same information and follow up often.
Be realistic up front with everyone about what is expected and what constraints there might be on this project. What’s your budget, timeline, who do you need to get in contact with, and what for?
If you have people assigned to specific aspects of the project, do your best to keep those roles consistent the whole time to avoid confusion and losing progress and time catching people up on roles they aren’t familiar with.
You may be the leader, but asking for help and suggestions from your teammates makes you a better leader than one who will just tell everyone what to do. If team members have collaborated together before and had great results, you’ll want to know that so you can use that teamwork, too! Check in with team members on what they enjoy. Team members that are heard and getting to work on things they like doing will produce great results.
Ask for feedback on how you’re doing as a leader. They’ll be happy you’re listening and you’ll definitely want to hear how you can improve.
If there are delays or unforeseen obstacles, communicate them to the team. Don’t wait because you’re worried they’ll freak out or get angry. It’s much better to pull the band-aid off and brainstorm solutions rather than hope it doesn’t affect you TOO bad.
No one’s perfect and sometimes things aren’t going to go the way you want. Plan for these contingencies, have a backup plan for each stage to help course-correct, and be flexible.
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