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8 Essential Tips for Success-Oriented Project Managers

As a project manager, you have an imperative role in your organization. Especially if it’s becoming more global, digitized, and uncertain. You’re also in high demand, a fact confirmed by PMI which states 88 million professionals will be required for project management-oriented roles come 2027. 

But with great power comes great responsibility. You need to constantly learn new things to maintain your (and your employer’s) edge. 

So, in addition to the knowledge and skill you get through project management certifications, here are eight great tips to empower your career. 

1) Be Open to Hybrid Project Management Approaches 

For a long time, project managers and even organizations typically followed a single project management methodology. However, the recent years introduced a shift towards hybrid, more adaptable approaches. 

Project managers now merge different methodologies to best address the needs of specific projects. The arrival of Kanban, Agile, Scrum, and Lean as well as the demand for increased flexibility accelerated this change. 

Now this doesn’t mean you’re at a disadvantage for specializing in a single framework. It just means you should be open to change to evolve according to the project management industry. 

2) Make Sure You Have the Right Set of Soft Skills 

Your role doesn’t end after completing the project scope and budget documents. Your job entails understanding people and managing them to get the best results. Therefore, you need to have a solid set of soft skills which complement your hard skills. 

Some of the skills you should especially sharpen are:

  • Leadership Skills – As a leader, you’re expected to make decisions in the best interest of your team and business. You should also be able to motivate your team, allocate the resources team members need, and offer direction throughout a project. 
  • Communication – Project managers need to be effective communicators. Only then can they efficiently share information and be engaged listeners. 
  • Critical Thinking – With this skill, you’ll be able to prioritize projects according to the business’ overall needs and effectively address risk management. 
  • Time Management – Projects can end up in chaos if your time management skills aren’t up to the mark. You need to be an expert to be able to manage yourself and your team. 

3) Develop Your Emotional Intelligence 

Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ) is one of the important soft skills you need as a project manager. Especially since it can improve project performance

By definition, EI is the ability to sense, control, and evaluate emotions. Experienced project managers use this skill to motivate, connect, and influence their team members. They can further use it to develop social awareness and stronger relationships with stakeholders. 

You yourself will benefit from a stronger EQ. Not only will you become more self-aware, you’ll gain more control over yourself. As a result, you’ll be able to distribute your energy and feelings according to circumstances and tasks. 

4) Strike the Right Balance While Managing Team Members

Minimal direction can result in major issues. On the other hand, micromanaging every single aspect of a project will prevent your team from feeling empowered. Therefore, you need to find the right balance between these two approaches. 

One way to achieve this is by ensuring everyone understands the objectives you’re all working towards. You also need to facilitate the information and resources they need for their tasks. And while doing all this, encourage them to make decisions rather than wait for senior managers. 

5) Understand Your Own Limitations and those of Your Team

You need to be realistic. Even the best methodologies fail if you forget that you and your team are human beings. Therefore, understand your and the team’s strengths and limitations before taking on tasks. 

Focus on what sets you apart. That way, you can allocate roles accordingly and ensure the success of the project. But at the same time, make sure everyone leaves their ego behind and develops a thick skin to embrace changes. 

6) Look Out for Scope Creep 

Scope creep, or the increase of a project’s requirements over a project lifecycle, has become quite common. Now more than ever since project managers work with remote teams and need to adapt to new changes quicker. 

You need to be able to talk about scope creeps with your team. Not only does this remove the taboo label associated with it, it’ll also make your team more comfortable dealing with it. Moreover, your team will be ready to take action and ensure the project runs smoothly. 

7) Be Ready to Facilitate AND Participate When Need Be

Most project managers find it challenging to facilitate a project while being key players who contribute as well. And for good reasons too –

  • Timekeeping is negatively impacted. 
  • Your ability to jot down notes or have everyone contribute is affected. 
  • Team members may feel left out as you didn’t address their needs. 

While the ideal scenario is to have someone else act as a facilitator, you may have to do things yourself. In that case, delegate some aspects such as timekeeping to team members. You should also organize yourself by using agendas and online tools that support your activities. 

8) Be a Project Manager who Doesn’t Fear Failure 

Failure can be scary, but it may be inevitable in some cases. The trick is to fail fast and recover even faster. But make sure to do so after learning from your mistakes as they can act as building blocks for future success. 

Another thing you should do is reflect on what caused a failure. In most cases, projects fail because they didn’t deliver what an organization needs. Therefore, you need to identify gaps and bring everyone on the same page to avoid repeating the same mistakes again. 

 

Need more help on becoming a great project manager? Check out our comprehensive guide on building a career in this field. You’re also welcome to discuss your formal training needs with our Training Advisors so we can guide you on the right certification for you.  

About the Author

Ikram Khan is CEO of Business Beam and LearningCert. In a career spanning 22+ years, he has successfully completed 110+ performance-optimizing consultancy assignments. Over 5,000 professionals from 800+ organizations have attended the 260+ training sessions he conducted in various countries. Ikram is an accredited trainer for COBIT, ITIL, DevOps, PRINCE2, PRINCE2 Agile, P3O, AgileSHIFT, ISO 27001, ISO 20000, ISO 9001, and ISO 38500. He also holds certifications including CGEIT, CISA, CISM, TOGAF, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSM, CSPO, MoP, MoV, and Six Sigma Black Belt. You may connect with Ikram at ikramkhan.info, and LinkedIn.

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