How to Be a Great Project Manager

See also: Action Planning

Project management involves applying processes, skills, methods, knowledge, and experience to achieve specific project goals. Since projects have a finite timespan, project managers require a wide range of excellent business awareness, along with management and technical skills.  They play a key role in the planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and of closing projects.

Project managers are accountable for the entire project scope, team and resources, budget, and the success or failure of the project. They meet with company leadership to define an upcoming project's scope, pitch their budget needs to the finance department, outline the project charter, and develop a risk assessment report. Additionally, project managers manage and reassign tasks, so no one is overburdened by work, and update the calendar to reflect timeline shifts.

Here’s how to be a great project manager.

Project manager skills montage.

1. Learn resource allocation

Resource allocation, also called resource scheduling, involves assigning and managing assets to support a company's strategic goals. It allows you to plan and prepare for project implementation. Besides helping you schedule resources in advance, resource allocation gives you insights into the team's progress. Project resource allocation significantly lowers project resource costs, maximizes resource productivity, enhances employee engagement and satisfaction, facilitates client satisfaction, and helps you achieve the best outcome within existing resource constraints.

Using resource capacity planning software, project managers get a clear view of the road ahead, identify under capacity on time, help with data-driven decision making, insightful reports, and lower burnout due to effective workload planning. It also helps to track vacations and sick time, and determine individual availability.

2. Avoid micromanagement

Project managers can get overly observant and controlling when a project is assigned to them. This could be because of insufficient time, irrational deadlines, underestimating their resources, or wanting to prove their position, leading to micromanagement. The manager constantly monitors, controls, or reminds employees of their duties. This deprives employees of their workplace freedom.

Micromanagement destroys employee trust and morale, increases employee turnover, invites burn out, discourages creativity, hinders productivity, and develops dependent employees. To be a great manager, set metrics that define a project’s success and delegate what should be done. Introduce an open-door policy so the team can seek guidance and set deadlines for every stage of the assigned project.

3. Create time management strategies

Time management is a vital component of project management that helps you break down projects, assign tasks, and complete projects on time. Some of the processes involved in time management include creating a project plan, project schedule management process, defining project activities, determining dependencies, sequence activities, and estimating duration and resources.

Implementing effective time management practices may include creating task lists, prioritizing, avoiding distractions, delegating, and avoiding bottlenecks in your workflow. Don’t forget to leverage time management tools for easier projects and time management.

4. Be a good communicator

Active and engaging communication can inspire team members, enhance morale, build confidence, and produce better project performance. Without strong communication skills, you can find it difficult to effectively manage your teams and harmonize efforts for a project’s success. Some of the communication skills a great project manager needs are active listening, non-verbal communication, open-mindedness, friendliness, trust and respect, feedback, and collaboration.

A detailed communication framework should include purpose, outline the project's needs, communication methods, timelines, frequency, dates, roles, and responsibilities. This ensures effective communication with stakeholders, team members, clients, and executives.

5. Leverage risk management skills

Effective risk management skills allow you to determine your project’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. For a project to succeed, determine how you'll deal with potential risks so you can identify, mitigate, or avoid issues when you have to. To assess and reduce risks, you can use technology to understand, monitor, and control risk.

Things that may disrupt business operations include changes in financial markets, natural or human-made disasters, legal liabilities, and threats. Suppose you can identify and prioritize business risks. In that case, the strategies to handle them include avoiding the risk, transferring the risk, reducing its negative effects, or accepting the consequences of the risk.

6. Understand and utilize your team members

Effective, agile project managers have great leadership skills. A great project manager brings out the best performance from their team members throughout the project’s cycle. Consider understanding each of your team members’ strengths and weaknesses so you can determine the tasks to assign them. This will ensure prompt task completion and improved time management.

7. Consider honing your skills with additional training

Through project management certifications, you can acquire technical skills that help you balance your set of soft skills. Whether you’re at a junior or senior level, additional training will help boost your skills for effective project management regardless of how much experience you may have. Thanks to technology, the concept of project management continues to evolve, and regular project management training courses will help you refresh and acquire new skills that align with technological advancements and trends.

8. Learn from successful project managers

To be effective in your project management role, avoid relying on a single skill set. Consider learning the different approaches and techniques that the more experienced project managers employ to boost your success chances. You can also join project manager networks to learn how other managers manage their teams, budgets, projects, and time. This will help you determine what you aren't doing right to improve and stick to what you've been doing right.

9. Take advantage of project management tools

Project management tools help teams and individuals to organize and effectively manage their tasks. They help with effortless project planning, ensure balanced resource management, and offer pipeline forecasting. Additionally, project management tools improve team collaboration and enhance real-time budget management and reporting. They also promote effective internal and external communication and enhance customer satisfaction.

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A great project manager constantly improves their qualities, skills, and abilities for constant project success. They also find ways to make their projects less complicated for streamlined processes and motivate their project team towards achieving project objectives. Great project managers set and stick to realistic goals that each team member can seamlessly work to achieve.

About the Author

Harry Wilson is the Head of Digital Marketing Department at Globex Outreach. He helps clients grow their online businesses and occasionally writes blogs to share his experience with other professionals.