Project Management: Advice You Can Use
Obtaining your project management degree is only the first step towards an ultimately successful career in the field of project management. Whether you’re a recent graduate or an experienced project manager, whatever your specialization may be, there are a number of areas of expertise that are sure to indefinitely improve your performance. Ready for some advice you can use to your advantage? Pull out a pen and paper and get ready to take some serious notes.
For project managers, management skills take shape in a variety of forms. There are a number of things that project managers manage in their busy hands: people, projects, costs and schedules. Consider that effective management comes from an in-depth understanding of the goals of projects and people and the ability to bring balance, make decisions and create solutions in those interests. Management from a textbook will only take you so far; take advantage of your own experience or rely on the experience of others, to carefully learn the right management skills. People are most assuredly your most valuable resource; using interpersonal skills like communication, leadership and problem solving to manage them effectively is often one of the greater challenges of being a successful project manager.
90 percent of a project manager’s position is spent communicating; this skill is an invaluable device. It’s a project manager’s job to keep everyone involved in a project “in the loop” with details and deadlines of a project, as well what, specifically, is expected of them. Therefore, project managers should have a strong handle on communication—sharing information clearly and concisely—and various methods of communication. The way in which people on a project communicate can vary from company to company and office to office. If you rely heavily on e-mail, phone or an internal website to communicate with a team, make sure you understand the ins and outs of the technologies you use. Otherwise, what good will it be?
By the nature of the position, project managers are leaders. In any leadership position, the ability to motivate others is crucial. Making demands doesn’t call others to perform at their best. That’s why the most effective leaders are those who others willingly follow. Have you mastered your own ability to inspire others? Effective project managers have the ability to motivate others to work more effectively and efficiently; they create a sense of teamwork and, based on individual and cultural differences, a system of recognition. Effective leaders apply their communication skills to create action. They are mentors, inspirational speakers and team players
Rarely does everything happen to go as planned, professionally or otherwise. So, naturally, successful project managers are problem solvers. Effective problem solving requires positive and flexible thinking. Evaluating situations and implementing creativity to solve them can yield synergistic solutions. Synergy surpasses a compromise; rather than meeting a problem with a mid-level solution, synergy creates a solution produces high-level results. Project managers who can solve problems and orchestrate synergy get results. That makes them valuable company resources and ensures them a successful career in the long run.
Driven to Improve
Professionally and personally, there are always bountiful opportunities for growth. Given that project managers often work in business and information technology-related fields, which advance especially quickly, successful project managers have come to appreciate continued learning more than most. Project managers must continuously be eager to improve and accepting of change. This requires enthusiasm, flexible thinking and a positive attitude. Additional training and continued education (consider a Master’s in Human Resources or project management) can help you to stay relevant and forward-thinking. Do you raise your own bar? Are you driven to improve? A little ambition can go a long way in the field or project management!
This article was provided by Kim Summers. Kim has been a human resource professional for the last decade, and has made it a habit to keep abreast of the latest developments in her professional field. In the past, she has also volunteered as a motivational speaker.