Manage Like A Pro!

By Siew Ching

Be the best project manager your team has ever known.

Just like an orchestra, every work project needs a great conductor. Someone who keeps everyone in sync to ensure the end result of that is a beautiful symphony.

And just like an orchestra, there are many elements to it. Horns, percussions, strings – account execs, the backend guys, creatives, IT if you put it in work sense.

If you find yourself in a project management role, breathe. It may seem like a lot at first but if you dissect it and lay out everything in detail, you can do this! What you need to know is that a good project manager sees the bigger picture and brings in the details to make things work.

The first thing is your duty as a project manager. Typical duties include estimating project work, building project plans, monitoring the scope and the progress. Along the way are also check-ins with team mates to make sure everyone’s clear on their role, the project expectations, and what needs to be done. Also, having to organise work, facilitate meetings, and should it ever happen, think of solutions for unexpected curveballs.

Sounds like a lot? You bet it is. But it’s not impossible. There are really two sides to project management – the planning and the execution. To plan well, you need to know what is required of your team. To execute well, you need to know how to manage the relationships with the people involved in the project so that they bring out their best.

Here are some qualities of a good project manager:

#1 A great organiser
Good organisation is the key to all great projects! Can you imagine a project manager with no checklists or notes on what needs to be done and in which order? Chaos! To first be a good project manager, you need to create a productive work environment that will allow you to keep track of what’s done and what’s next on the list. Being well organised will help you retrieve the information you require on the spot instead of being unsure of the status of the project.

Fortunately, there are many great applications out there that can help you be a great project manager. Sync it up with your teammates so everyone has a clear picture of their roles and what’s due when. Some good ones to use are Trello, Asana or even just Google Drive to get everyone up to date.

#2 A good communicator
You can’t project manage without communicating. That is the most important role of a project manager, which is to communicate clearly what needs to be done so everyone is on the same page. You will also need to be able to communicate expectations and feedback – it’s a complete package when it comes to being a good communicator as a project lead!

Remember, communicating isn’t just a one-way street. A good communicator is also someone who is a great listener. While you are the project lead, you should also encourage your team members to share their ideas, suggestions, concerns and issues. Give them opportunities to share in weekly meetings. Facilitate open communication between team members and encourage each other to speak up if facing an issue. Having a clear way to communicate at every project stage will leave less room for confusion.

#3 A good leader
That’s your role essentially – to lead the project. You’ll need to know how to deal with different personalities in your team, you’ll need to know how to inspire and motivate people to do their best. A great project manager sets the tone and provides a clear vision of the objectives – just like a leader would in any situation. You’ll also need to have foresight, to foresee any challenges that you may face along the way and what to do should that crop up. At the end of the day, as a project manager, you want your team to look up to you for guidance.

#4 Experts in decision making
You decide what needs to be done, you decide the deadlines, you decide who gets to do what and how! And that’s just at the start of the project. Along the way, you will be making a lot of decisions to help keep the project on track. And if there are issues along the way, you’ll need to think quickly and decide on the best course of action.

Adding to this quality is also being a great problem solver! Because let’s get real – there will be some bumps along the way and you’ll need to think of how to carry the team forward to still execute the project successfully.

#5 Ambitious… but also real
You can’t have a successful project if you’re not ambitious! Ambition is what will make you want to project lead like a pro and drive the rest of your team members. But there is a fine line between being ambitious and a dictator. Sure, as a project lead you’re there to lead but don’t take it as a green light to be bossy. You need to keep it real as well – manageable deadlines, executable responsibilities, and most importantly real expectations for both your team and the client.

What else do you think makes a great project manager? Share it with us @Graduan!

Photo by rob walsh on Unsplash.

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