Don’t underestimate the importance of project management. If you’re a very small business with simple, easy to manage tasks, you probably won’t be thinking about that matter. But as soon as your projects become a bit more complicated, project management becomes something important.
If you find yourself having to take on the responsibilities of a project manager, read on to learn a few tips to help you succeed and keep business on track.
Be a real leader
An obvious role of a project manager is the project leader. As such, leadership is a vital skill to develop, because you’re basically the team captain. A project manager must cultivate positive team dynamics, constructively handle conflict, and act as a coach or mentor to team members.
You will also need to take point when getting input from the team and major stakeholders, as well as getting their buy-in. You will need to motivate your team during difficult times, keep projects on track, and make tough calls when the time comes.
If you’re unsure of your ability to be a leader, don’t worry, everyone has their own leadership style. You just need to find yours, embrace it, and shine.
If you’re still over-whelmed about having to take charge, a project management course should help you get equipped and build up your confidence.
Avoid Scope Creep
Scope creep is something you need to watch out for. Scope creep happens when new elements are added to the already approved project, drawing things out and making the project more complicated and drawn out. However, the budget, available resources and time schedule isn’t properly adjusted.
There are always going to be changes along the way, but you need to make sure it doesn’t get out of control. You need to make sure you keep everything together and hold out as far as possible against scope creep.
It can happen though that the project’s scope actually needs to be revisited, in which case you can engage in the rescoping process. Be sure to have all the proper documentation to show why rescoping is necessary, and make sure all the stakeholders sign off on the changes before go ahead.
Keep communication lines open
If a project gets messy, delayed and off track, one of the biggest culprits could be ineffective communication. It seems like such a little thing because it’s so easily prevented, but effective communication is vital when you have many people performing various tasks, all working together for the same aim. Thus, the communication lines need to be kept open at all times. Communication should be consistent, open, sincere and clear.
An important role of the project manager is being the operator of the communications system. Work out a communications plan, make sure everyone understands it, and stick to it. You as the project manager need to communicate with the project team leaders as well as the stakeholders. The team members need to be able to communicate with you, and with each other.
Finally, make sure everyone stays on the same page by creating status reports based upon the project information and updates.