5 Things Successful Project Managers Do

5 Things Successful Project Managers Do

Millions of projects are started and ended every day. Some work and some don’t – so what’s the difference between the successes and failures? And in those cases where it is the project manager who has made a crucial difference, what did the successful ones do to make their goals happen?

Before a project is even started, successful managers will aim to have all the essential facts and resources available, with past metrics to help establish realistic targets and deadlines, a great team to carry out the various tasks, and a carefully structured budget.

If the project is client related, managing scope and expectations is a large part of a project manager’s job. And when changes are made as the project continues, a successful project manager’s understanding of that scope ensures that tasks remain focused on the agreed goals, or that a renegotiation of fees and budgets is required.

Communicate efficiently
One of the most common reasons for why a project under-delivers is a lack of successful communication. When reading project management software reviews online, it soon becomes apparent that many software solutions don’t tick the boxes in this department, and fail to provide a simple, efficient way of keeping lines of communications open and up to par.

Receiving updates from teams and individuals, condensing these into a report for clients or management, getting input from partners and implementing their contributions while relaying what’s necessary to the team, are all steps that have to be completed according to an agreed schedule. This complex web of dialogue and negotiation has to be smart, fast and effective.

Lead and manage
Management skills are not the same as leadership skills, but successful project managers need a bit of both. Leadership focuses more on why a goal should be reached, and usually of the big picture variety; management on the other hand focuses on the how’s of day-to-day work.

Leading is required to motivate and inspire teams, while well-developed management skills come into play when coordinating daily tasks assigned to staff. Being able to switch between the two types of characteristics paves the way for success.

Acquire knowledge
A lack of knowledge of the processes and operations in place at an organisation will create problems with both client communication and planning.

The best project managers look to continually improve their knowledge and improve it for the good of the project, team and business. Knowing what is possible and how long things take is essential to good planning. Also, being aware of how others in the same area of business do things can be very informative.

Take calculated risksChanging a project once it’s underway can have disastrous consequences for deadlines and client expectations. While things never go exactly according to plan, sweeping changes are normally best avoided. But there are times when additional tasks have to be included or removed, and this may require a calculated risk.

Having the confidence to make the right choices (and being able to defend them to clients or managers if deadlines are missed) is a quality that all managers need. With experience, careful consideration and logical thinking, we can identify the possible pitfalls, the areas of strength, and plan and organise with success.