4 Tips For Becoming A More Effective Project Manager
As a project manager, you are responsible for planning, organizing, and directing the execution of company projects. You work closely with your team, clients, and management to ensure these initiatives are completed within scope, on time, and on budget. It’s a big job, and coordinating all these moving parts can quickly become overwhelming without the right approach. This limits your ability to take on projects for new clients. Fortunately, there are a few tricks to becoming a more effective project manager that will help you scale up your project management capabilities. I’m going to share four of these with you here.
Plan in Detail
Planning is essential in your role as project manager. Before each project commences, you should produce a written plan detailing the project’s scope, activities, team responsibilities, and final deliverables. The more details you include in your plan, the easier it will be to keep everyone on the same page.
The first stage of planning is to determine the project scope, which should be captured in the statement-of-work section of your project plan. The project will be accomplished when all of the tasks and deliverables required for the project are completed.
Having a project scope that is clearly defined, controlled, and documented keeps everyone on the same page. We use Teamwork to organize our projects at Tulip Media Group. Projects can change and grow, sometimes uncontrollably, after the project commences, driving the cost of the project up and diminishing your company’s return on investment. If the client or a team member requests a change that falls outside of the project scope, no matter how minor, it should be reviewed with both the team and the client. If approved, timelines and budgets need to be adjusted accordingly. Teamwork provides us with the ability to adjust our projects quickly and easily as they change.
After determining the scope of the project, you should develop a set of steps and a timeline for completion. This will make up the project scheduling section of your project plan. You can then go about choosing the right team for the job.
Be sure to assign each task to one or more team members in your work structure breakdown. This ensures all team members understand what they are—and are not—responsible for. When you give each person on your team a clear set of tasks, it also makes it easy to determine if someone’s activity is outside the scope of the project once the project commences.
The final consideration in the planning process is risk assessment and mitigation. To mitigate risk, you should develop a detailed risk plan that describes areas of risk within the scope of the project and the measures that are being taken to address potential obstacles.
Good and ongoing communication between team members and the project manager is the key to project success. At the project presentation meeting, you should work with team members to come up with a communication plan that accommodates their needs while keeping everyone adequately informed about project changes, issues, risks, scheduling, and progress. If you haven’t done so already, you may enlist the help of a communication tool like Slack.
Stay on Task
Keeping your team on task is critical in completing projects within their required timelines. This has become significantly more challenging since many of us began working from home, but there are a number of digital solutions available for project management software.
Digital collaboration tools like Teamwork and Slack are an excellent way to keep in touch with your team when you’re not working in the same office. As a project manager, you can use these tools to do things like send reminders, review your team’s work, verify progress, and collaborate. This makes it easy for you to know what is expected of each team member for every project, when their deadlines are, and how much progress they’ve made toward project completion.
Monitoring results on an ongoing basis plays a vital role in the successful execution of your projects. If a team member is falling behind, you need to know right away so you can remedy the situation and get the project back on track. To monitor results effectively, you should consistently collect and verify scheduled progress updates from your team, assess the need for change requests, review deliverables for quality, and regularly request feedback from both your team and the client.
Being an effective project manager plays largely into my role here at Tulip Media Group. My team and I are constantly juggling deadlines for our Client-Partners’ digital and print marketing initiatives. By incorporating these tips into our project management, we’ve effectively increased our capacity for onboarding new Client-Partners.
If you are interested in improving the effectiveness of your own project management team, I’d love to sit in on your next strategy meeting to discuss the best ways to apply these tips for your company. You can email me at [email protected] to let me know you’d like to learn more.