The Secret of Successful Project Management

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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.

Getting good, honest advice from someone with business acumen and years of experience is always a welcome event whatever stage of your career you are at. I consider myself lucky when I’m on the receiving end of such advice so here are some of pieces of advice I’ve been given over the years. They are obvious points really but we all need to be reminded of the obvious from time to time. In essence, these are 5 sound pieces of advice it’s simply a matter of employing them well.


It’s the People Who Matter

You can get too carried away with your own enthusiasm for a project and fail to take into consideration the real people who will need or use your product at some point. Novices in project management can get tangled up in all sorts of unnecessary activity. They might think they’re doing a great job formulating ideas but are shocked when others working on the project disagree. The golden rule is – go and speak to the stakeholders and end users. Ask them their opinion and listen to their responses. If you forget about the people you are meant to be helping then you have very little chance of making the project a success and that could also blight the good work of others involved.

Professionalism Rules

A laid-back, informal attitude may work well in brainstorming situations and may even lead to innovation; a bit of humour may work in certain situations to resolve or prevent conflict but humour and informality are not typically the right attitude when it comes to good project management. If you are carrying out a valuable and useful piece of work for a client then you will be expected to take a professional approach.

Patience is a Virtue

Never rush the decision-making process no matter how urgent the deadline – remember that old saying – ‘act in haste, repent at leisure.’ Project managers who tend to take an analytical approach will have an advantage; for others, the best advice here is simply to be patient and not come up with any answers before you have fully considered the questions. This might meant curbing your natural urge to get a rapid solution but it will certainly ensure that you get the best long-term solution. Be absolutely clear you understand  the outcome and effect of all decisions that are made.

Ask the Right Questions of The Right People

Knowledge is everything and the direct route to becoming an expert in any subject is to ask the right questions of the right people. It’s one of the first pieces of advice you should take in during a project situation. When starting out on a complex, new piece of work it is crucial that you seek the help of those who fully understand the situation. Otherwise, you’ll start to come up with solutions before you’ve even worked out everything that you need to know for a successful completion. You can’t change something for the better if you don’t have an in depth knowledge of how the existing status quo works.

Benefits of an Open Mind

Don’t restrict yourself to only one type of solution or cling to what you have done in the past because it worked well when each new project is different. Instead, you need to keep an open mind and make sure that you consider every possibility. Most importantly, don’t rule any solution or approach out too soon. Be aware of the benefits of not closing off your mind to possible solutions.

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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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