5 Tips to Become a Successful Project Manager

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The author spent the first part of her career working in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects involving the management of outsourced project teams. She now runs a digital marketing company with particular expertise in technical SEO and Content Marketing.

Project management is a role that requires a diverse set of capabilities and skills, backed up by knowledge and experience. To deliver a project on time, within budget, and to a high standard, you will need to possess skills across a range of disciplines including time and budget management, team leadership, client relations and prioritisation to mention just a few. With a few tips however, your approach to project management can be transformed for the better – here are our top 5 points for consideration.

project risks

1.       Make sure you understand the brief

Whilst this may seem obvious, it can be tempting to dive headlong into a project without taking the time to fully understand the project brief. Clear time in your diary to read through the notes from the sales team, noting down any questions as you go along. If you’re unclear about any aspect or have any particular concerns, make sure you voice these at this early stage to avoid confusion down the line. Only when you’re comfortable with the brief will you be able to pass on this information to your project team in a clear and concise way.

2.       Take a unique approach to every project

Whilst you may be working within a specific project framework such as PRINCE2, for example, it is important to remember that every project is different. Time constraints, budget considerations and team members change, so you must adapt your working methods accordingly. Whether changing your leadership style to ensure you meet tight deadlines, or altering you communication methods as suited to the individuals in your team, try not to get stuck in your ways.

3.       Assess and reassess

If your project gets off to a promising start, don’t assume it will continue in this way. Constantly assess your project status and deliverables – ensuring you are delivering what was originally outlined in the project brief. Some project management styles such as Agile will allow for client involvement, helpfully ensuring that their expectations are met as you go along. This will save time and budget by avoiding the need for fundamental changes following one ‘big reveal’ at the end of the project.

4.       Raise your concerns

Whilst you are the project manager, it is not always your job to resolve problems. If one of your team members has a bad attitude and is not delivering work to a high enough standard, it may be better to involve his or her manager instead of dealing with the issue yourself – disciplinary measures are not within your remit. Likewise, if you are experiencing a high-level problem, you should relay this to your manager. The more you communicate and the better you are at raising genuine concerns, the easier it will be to resolve problems as they arise.

5.        There are always lessons to be learned

No matter how long you have been a project manager, there are always lessons to be taken away from each project. Whether it is new communication strategies, feedback for management or training opportunities, take the time to reflect in a constructive way and form an action plan for your own personal development.

By bearing these five points in mind, you will be able to accelerate the learning process and grow as a project management professional, whilst delivering successful projects along the way. Although qualifications, knowledge and experience are key, these five simple tips will help you improve with immediate effect.

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Project management has developed into a fully-fledged chartered profession since the granting of the Royal Charter in the UK to The Association for Project Management (APM) in 2017. Training courses for project managers were already available and highly popular to help people gain professional project management accreditation, but with this wider recognition of the profession it is now seen as a desirable career path for many. Whilst the APM has the coveted Royal Charter and continues to develop its APM PMQ (formerly the APMP) programmes, there are also other internationally recognised qualifications that continue to be highly regarded such as PMP and PRINCE2.

Organisations have become increasingly project-focused in this era of rapidly emerging new technologies and they value the expertise that comes with experienced and fully qualified project teams and managers. By investing in their project management capability businesses can be confident of delivering their new projects in time and on budget more often and more successfully. Many major corporation are now training their people to have the right project management qualifications as well as relevant experience, through internal Learning & Development (L&D) programmes; or by using external project management training providers.

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