What should you avoid?
Being a project manager is a great responsibility because if things go wrong and deadlines are missed, it could be down to poor decision-making. It’s important to be the best that you can be for the success of your team, so before you get into poor habits take note of the following tips so you can bring your A game every day.
1. Be a bad communicator
Speak to your team daily to keep them informed and motivated. Keep in touch with your customers every few days to keep their trust and interest. With so much going on that they don’t see, they’ll want to know the project is progressing well.
2. Forget to keep records
Keep a project plan with a project schedule included, and keep budget information to hand. Make a note of any actions taken and details of items discussed in meetings and telephone calls. This evidence will help if something major changes and you need to change tack.
3. Overuse templates and checklists
Although templates and checklists can improve productivity, the temptation is to get over-reliant on them and forget to observe what is actually going on in real time. Pay attention to what your team is telling you. If you’re told that a delivery is coming in late, this could be a risk to the success of the project. Don’t forget to think and record risks as they happen.
4. Be a people pleaser
Although the contentment of your workforce is important, being too focused on their happiness is a mistake. Are they actually getting the job done? Of course being a good manager means appreciating that sometimes peoples’ personal circumstances can alter their productivity, but being too nice doesn’t pay off. Singing the praises of a team who are not pulling their weight enables them to underachieve.
5. Constantly churn over the figures
This depersonalises your role in the project. If you are seen as a manager obsessed with the statistical output, it will make your team feel faceless. The numbers don’t always give the full picture. There may be factors out side of your control affecting the output, and sometimes these can’t be changed.
6. Take on everything yourself
It simply isn’t possible for you to do everything. Try to delegate as much as possible. This will free you up for managerial duties and give your team more responsibility and professional development. Asking your team to complete tasks will make them feel trusted, but subtly check in to make sure everyone is on task.
7. Put off making decisions
Decision-making can be tough, especially if it might make you unpopular with some of the team members. Learn to weigh up the pros and cons and make the best decision for the project and the team overall. You can ask for advice but ultimately you need to make the decision, and often the quicker you can do this the better.
8. Manage time badly
Everyone one has the same amount of time; it’s what we do with it that counts. Productivity is largely linked to having a constant awareness of time marching forwards. Plan in at the end of every day to assess how far forwards the project has moved and what needs to happen next. Keep a to-do list at hand that can be edited depending on what the priorities are.
9. Not mark the beginning and the end
The beginning of a project should always be marked by a meeting to set expectations and motivate the team. Similarly, the end should be noted as well. This may be in the form of a meeting or a celebration, but always praise the team and go over what has worked well. Discuss any lessons that have been learned and factors that could be changed to make the next project even better. It’s important for the team to feel like they’ve done a good job and feel motivated to start the next one.