As a project manager, the transition from academic learning to real-world application can be a daunting endeavor.
The methods and strategies you’ve studied may not always align with the dynamic challenges of managing projects in a professional setting.
In this article, we present ten crucial tips that every project manager should keep in mind when navigating the complex landscape of project management.
Lesson 1: Begin with the End in Mind
One of the fundamental principles of effective project management is to start with a clear vision of your project’s end goal. Visualizing your destination and working backward allows you to set a natural course towards success. Keeping the end in mind serves as your internal compass, guiding you proactively throughout the project’s lifecycle.
Lesson 2: If You Fail to Prepare, Then Prepare to Fail
As Benjamin Franklin rightly said, learning, practicing, making, or planning something without proper preparation will not end in success. Similarly, your project will unlikely succeed without adequate planning and preparation.
Lesson 3: Battles are Won Before the Fighting Begins
Planning and preparation are the deciding factors in project success. For example, you have a big presentation to make with higher management, and you fear there might be some disagreement that could block your project’s flow. Deliver the presentation decks to these groups, collect their feedback, record them, note them on the presentation, and reiterate them in the meeting. That way, you can get a consensus before entering the discussion.
Lesson 4: Preparedness for Contingency—The Story of David vs. Goliath
The story of David and Goliath teaches us a lesson about preparedness for contingency. In the story, David picked up five stones from a creek but only needed one to defeat the giant, Goliath. He had other stones ready to go in his pouch in case he needed them. As project managers, we need to wear different hats. Depending on the situation, we must be organized and great communicators. At times, we need to be agile, adapt to change, yet other times we need to influence others to comply with us.
Lesson 5: Try Not to Bite Off more Than You Can Chew … but You Will
The only real constant is change and you have to prepare to face change all the time. Not everything will go according to plan. So you should always have a buffer in your schedule to handle any unanticipated changes.
Lesson 6: Stay Calm and Carry On, but Do Escalate to Your ‘BFF’ (aka Your Sponsor)
Your ‘best friend’ is your sponsor. Whenever you call upon them to get their support or to have them escalate should a problem arises. There needs to be an authentic partnership built between the sponsor and project manager. The level of trust between the project sponsor and the project manager must be high. From the beginning, the project manager and sponsor define expectations and decide on the formality of their relationship. They need to set up a safe way to resolve differences and tackle issues to enable each other to pivot when plans change.
Lesson 7: Ordinary People Who Do Extraordinary Things
Another key information that project managers should know is that there are many different people on your team. These are extraordinary superstars who work with others to deliver impact. Engage the people on your team and you will be surprised at how much they do to make the project a success.
Lesson 8: Pressure is a Privilege
Whenever something feels overwhelming because there are a lot of expectations, it’s important to remember that you earned the right to be able to have that. Your experiences along the way put you in the position to feel that pressure. And if you weren’t doing something important, you wouldn’t be experiencing it.
Lesson 9: Your Attitude Will Determine Your Altitude
Your attitude determines your ability to succeed. How you respond to challenges, approach change, and deal with difficulties—even how you think about yourself—are critical factors in success, both in life and business. Thus a project manager needs to uphold a positive attitude to overcome the project’s challenges.
Follow these essential tips to enhance your project management experience.
Lesson 10: Choose The Right Weapon
The last tip that project managers should know is that choosing the right project management software is as important as all PMs’ decisions.
To successfully overcome the challenge of managing simultaneous projects, opt for a good project management software like Averroes Software, which will boost your efficiency and facilitate your way to success.
In the dynamic world of project management, these ten lessons are invaluable. They provide a roadmap to navigate the challenges, uncertainties, and opportunities that come with overseeing projects.
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