Being an effective project manager in the ever-changing project management landscape requires more than just having the right combination of personal traits and a dedicated skillset.
Even seasoned project managers experience difficulties in successfully overseeing projects, because every assignment brings with it new challenges and different criteria.
Project managers who have been in the field long enough will agree that this profession needs a delicate balance between science and art.
For those who often find the project management process daunting, we’ll simplify what you need to know and do to help you become an effective project manager.
So, what does a project manager do? It's more than you think.
A project manager is a person who well, you guessed it, manages projects, even though that may not be their official job title.
A project manager is a role that requires a lot of flexibility in the way you think. As a project manager, you need to know how to include many different details all at once and know how to work with the people needed.
Every project is different, so you need to be able to learn different things very fast. You need to know what to be able to effectively prioritize, and what not to focus on since time matters, so be smart with your time and resources, including your team.
7 important tips to becoming a better project manager
1. Utilize your team members!
Good project managers are often accorded great respect for their leadership abilities and, as a result, soft skills are of great importance. To be an effective project manager, you must be able to bring out the best performance from all project team members. They might need to take up the role of a coach, helping everyone else work together, or perhaps they may need to engage in tough conversations with the stakeholders and team members. All this will require a bunch of soft skills.
Besides, the success of a project will significantly depend on the skills of your team members. Effective managers will often make efforts to know each of their team members’ inherent weaknesses and strengths so as to allocate work accordingly. Prioritizing soft skills and tapping into the strengths of your team members will ensure prompt task completion and better time management. And with every team member putting their best foot forward and utilizing their strengths, the project will experience tremendous success.
2. Leverage project management tools
Technology has been helpful for most project managers, with online project management software being at the top of this list. Typically, the project management tools like monday.com serve as a store-house for all critical project information. From documents to files, giving feedback to file sharing, and seamless collaboration to effective communication, project management software serves as a centralized platform not only for the project manager but everyone else on the team.
3. Hone in your skills with project management training
While you might have the right balance of soft skills, the truth is that effective project management will also require a bunch of technical skills, many of which you can acquire from various PM certifications. Also, many people assume that project management training is for new/junior project managers, which is certainly not the case. There are numerous project management courses available that can improve your skills for effective project management.
With project management training, you can also fill any skill gaps you might be experiencing or refresh a few of the methodologies and key project management principles you learned some years back. In most cases, project management certification is often associated with high performance.
4. Communication is key
Besides being an important leadership trait, communication is also essential in effective project management. To run your projects smoothly, consistent and effective communication must take place between the relevant stakeholders and clients, and most importantly, your team! Besides, new changes must be relayed to team members to prevent “surprise attacks.” As a successful project manager, the greatest step you can take towards effective project management is ensuring that all communication lines between your team members and yourself are always open so that anyone can come up to you with any questions or doubts.
Ineffective communication could result in project failure. As a result, ensure everyone has the necessary information to make good decisions and push the project forward. Project status reports are also great for keeping everyone in the loop and updating them about all new project developments.
5. Learn from other project managers
Effective project management isn’t all about relying on a single skill set. A significant step you can take towards being effective in your role is taking project management as a learning experience by studying the more experienced project managers, as well as the different approaches and techniques they use.
You could also seek professional development in different project manager networks to learn how other project managers are effectively managing their teams, projects, budgets, and time. You will be surprised by how much you can learn by comparing notes with other project managers, including those operating in an industry that’s entirely different from yours.
6. Always set (realistic yet ambitious) deliverables
After outlining the goals of your project, specific metrics should be set to keep track of your progress. In project management, these metrics are known as deliverables and they could be a tangible milestone towards achieving an objective. To be a productive project manager, you must always settle these deliverables in advance, particularly when you have more variables to consider.
A project manager should obtain as much agreement as they can upfront regarding what the deliverables should be, and when they will be completed.
7. Evaluate project performance
Once the goal is achieved, it is easy to skip the final and arguably the most crucial step to being an effective project manager; evaluating the project performance.
If you’re looking for an opportunity for future improvement, or even just another reason to give your team a pat on the back, evaluation is vital.
This could be broken down into two stages; how the project turned out, and a review of the deliverables. These evaluations are helpful not just for a project manager but also for the client, especially if they will take on something similar in the future.
There are many ways to become an effective project manager. Incorporating these seven tips in your life and them translating them to your project management project will translate into great benefits in the final product, more respect from your team members, and a great adventure towards project management success.
Tips and insights from a monday.com PM: planning is #1
Because every project is very different, you need a flexible platform. As a PM at monday.com Dror Adi has just that —
So how does Dror get started with his projects? First, he tailor a board for each.
This helps him achieve the two most important things in PM: planning and collaborating.
1. Planning is key: think of all can fail
This may sound a bit pessimistic but when planning your project, think of every area that can fail. Think a few steps ahead.
Use your board to plan every detail as much as possible. This will also help you think of other areas that can go wrong and cause delays.
2. Collaborate with the experts: they will help you
You cannot think of everything so you need to be able to get help from the right people.
You need to identify the people who can really teach you fast and what you don’t need to learn. A project is defined by time. Start and end so you need to learn everything to the best and the fastest.
Understand who can help you with the project and onboard them with the relevant KPI’s (key performing indicators).
At monday.com, after we come up with the project, we plan all of it on monday.com. That means creating the board that is best for the project.
If you don’t have time to create a board, you can also rely on our templates to help give you the foundation.
Create the automations, which columns you want to have, and go from there.
How long in advance do you plan a project?
Because every project is very different, and you don’t know everything, so you need to know how to understand all the moving parts, and fast.
In other words, there is no perfect formula for how much time the planning stages should be completed in advance. Just have enough time prepped that if unexpected surprises arise, you can bounce back from them.
Who thinks of the projects at monday.com?
These initiatives come from all different directions. they can come from our CEO, Roy Mann, from a department manager, or from any team member. It can really come from anywhere.
Steps of a creating project: using monday.com from A-Z
- Think of the project (A project can come from the CEO, a lead manager, or yourself.)
- Plan the board for the project (or use a template)
- Translate the project details onto a board
- Remember: the board needs to be understandable to anyone
- Create integrations/automations
Check out this video to learn how we planned a conference using monday.com’s Twilio integration.
TL;DR – we took the number of all event signups and sent them a phone message to remind them of the event to get them to RSVP. Then, with an automation, the status column was updated with who RSVP’ed.
On monday.com, you are able to not just talk to those in your company, but also to anyone outside your team. This means that you can really watch all the pieces of your projects come together on a PM platform like monday.com.
Unleash you project manager abilities as you create your first monday.com board!