Project management is an essential skill for entrepreneurs as well as managers and executives of large companies. Many come up with new ideas for ways to be more efficient or make more money, or a whole new product or service. But, ideas won’t do you any good if you can’t execute them, and execute them well.
Think about project management like juggling. You have to be well rounded, skillful and precise. To be successful in project management you need to have what are called hard and soft skills. Hard skills include time management, assessment of risk, finance and people allocation and organizational skills. Soft skills include verbal and non-verbal skills, listening and communication skills, conflict management skills and leadership skills. These are all critical factors of an efficient project leader for projects.
Want to meet your deadline? Then learn to manage your time. This includes managing your own time and also that of your team members. Remember, a timeline should be created only after it is broken down into its component tasks. Each task should be given clear timelines too, with enough buffer time incorporated. This will help prevent delays and distractions when new tasks arise.
It is very important to integrate what are called “indicators” into your plan, and make them clear to all team members. Indicators help everyone understand the priorities for each project. For example, if budget savings is the most important element of your plan, create lead indicators that phase in incremental savings to your project. If your deadline is the highest priority, create lead indicators that focus on achieving completion of your project on time.
Having good hard or technical skills takes care of only part of the project. Getting your team to work together, exchange information, and incorporate openness is equally important. Here’s where your soft skills come into play. Keeping the lines of communication with your team open, and remaining available to feedback from them at all stages of the project is vital to a project’s success. Being polite, honest, and respectful will motivate them to do their part in completing the project. Conflict resolution skills will be essential as well as you deal with many different personalities to achieve your goals.
Open and regular communication about the project will help you steer clear of many stumbling blocks along the way. The best way to do this is check in with your employees regularly. Ask them how they’re doing, if they’re having any problems with the project, and help them troubleshoot. Opening the lines of communication builds trust among your employees, and helps them be motivated to do a great job on your project.
You can create a strong, professional working environment by genuinely helping your team members grow and explore their potentials – not just for the benefit of the company but also for their own personal growth. Share your personal experiences with similar projects, be there for them in times of personal crisis, build them up during times of success and you will build a foundation for a dynamite team.
Never embarrass an employee in front of his colleagues. It affects morale for all employees, not just the one who’s made a mistake. Poor morale will affect the success of your project negatively. One thing you can do in public is praise. Being quick to praise builds your team up, and makes them want to work for you, instead of needing to work for you. Letting them know how they’re doing on the project regularly will help them feel secure in their job and important to the task at hand. Helping your team members to own the project will make them take pride in their specific part.
Make it happen. Make your dream come true. Ensure that your work succeeds against all odds. Below are a few tips to ensure a successful project outcome:
“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” - Sam Walton, Founder, Wal-Mart
Ultimately a successful project manager must possess a variety of technical and interpersonal skills—a Jack of all trades so to speak. You must be a psychologist to figure out the people working for you, an IT specialist to troubleshoot technical problems, and an organizational wizard. But, with all these skills in hand, your project is sure to achieve unending success.