Even if you’re not a project manager it’s likely that you will come up against the need to project manage at some point in your career. This is increasingly the way that organisations seek to improve effectiveness and productivity so it’s an essential skill to learn. Project management can involve a whole range of responsibilities, from putting a team together to handling budgets and timelines. If you’re a non-project manager then this is what you need to know about approaching this vital business function:
● Focus on the finish line when you’re at the start. If you have a clear idea of your goal when you first begin the project then you’ll be able to stay focused, avoid distractions and ensure that you don’t accidentally get off track.
● Spend some time getting to know the goal. There is often time pressure in a project management situation and you may be tempted to just dive in and get started. However, it’s essential to make sure that you understand the goal and why it’s necessary before you begin, as this will influence everything that follows.
● Educate yourself on some project management methodologies. These are the tools, techniques, processes, and best practices that can help you to improve where project management is concerned.
● Remember the need for work-life balance. If you’re working to a deadline then everything else - family and friends, health and wellbeing - can end up being sacrificed. It’s essential that you don’t do this. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance even during the pressure of project management will ensure that you stay effective throughout and don't end up burned out at the end.
● Be fully across the risks. It’s key to have a solid understanding of the risks involved and to develop a risk response strategy that you can put into place if things don’t go the way that you’d hoped they would.
● Avoid the tendency to focus on perfection. Success is going to be determined by meeting the goals for the project and also the expectations for stakeholders. Getting weighed down by every single little detail and trying to make everything perfect could not only cause tensions with others on the project but also slow everything down.
● Multi-tasking doesn’t work. In fact it can cause a 40% drop in productivity. Instead, focus on one task at a time and work as efficiently as possible.
● Use project management tools to make things easier. A whole range of apps and software exist to help you in this - start by analysing your needs and then find the tools that are going to meet those best.
● Time management is a big factor in success. That applies to the way that you manage your own time, as well as the timelines for the project. It will be essential to have a clearly defined project plan in place to ensure that you keep to the timelines you’ve set. Remember to factor in communication with stakeholders, as this can be a big factor in slowing a project down (e.g. if they need to be involved in decision-making).
Project management is a skill that anyone can learn with the right resources. Find out more by booking onto our Introduction to Project Management training course…