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How to be an Effective Project Manager?

What is Project Management?

Project management is the usage of allocated resources, of all forms, to achieve specified goals within a finite timeline. Project management can be used to bring about organisational change, which is becoming increasingly important in a rapidly changing environment. This includes projects to come up with new policies, processes and products.

Naturally, such tasks require a wide range of expertise to handle the nuances of the functions. This calls for project managers to have strong technical skills and more importantly, excellent interpersonal relationship skills to handle internal and external interactions for decision making.

Here are some tips to be an effective project manager.

5 Tips to Effective Project Management

1. Be Clear

First and foremost, it is crucial to be clear of the project goals. This will determine the scope of work, the budget and the timeline. These three factors are also known as the project management triangle, where a project can only emphasise 2 out of the 3 factors. If not, it will compromise the quality. For example, a project that demands short timeline and low costs will not be able to cover a large scope of work.

Project Management Triangle

On top of these factors, being clear of the goal also helps in deciding who to choose for the team. Subject Matter Experts as well as teamwork are crucial in every project and it is important for project managers to choose the right people for each function. The team must be clear of the short-term and long-term goals so that they can make decisions that are aligned to these goals.

2. Communicate

This leads to the second key factor. With a finite timeline, a lack of communication can result in poor coordination between the team in deadlines and resource allocation, eventually leading to the failure of the project.

It is also important for team members, most importantly the project manager, to understand the constraints of each function of the project, so that different functions are able to streamline their work and reduce inefficiencies.

Build a culture of communication, challenge the team to make sure everyone knows the progress of the project and their roles in succeeding.

3. Create Processes

Projects can be very dynamic at times and thus processes are to be put in place. This can include updates from individual functions and problem resolution processes. This reduces inefficiencies and ensures that the project manager is constantly kept aware of the matters in a timely fashion.

It allows the project manager to manage the matters as the project progresses rather than dealing with sudden changes which can be shocking such as deviation from the scope or lack of resources. Having processes also frees the project manager from needing to micromanaging each individual function which is a common mistake many project managers make.

However, project managers must also be flexible to change processes when they deem fit to ensure the success of the project. For example, when the project manager believes that a certain member is better suited to take over a certain task, the project manager should quickly make the change as it can be necessary for success.

4. Use Frameworks

There are also several frameworks such as PRINCE2, CCPM (Critical Chain Project Management), Lean, Scrum and etc. that have been created by past professionals. These frameworks are targeted at different projects based on the nature of the project and can be used as a helping hand in going through the project lifecycle.

Project Lifecycle

5. Be a Good Leader

Ultimately, the project manager is the team leader with a mission. Being a good leader is never easy but is essential in capitalising on the strengths of the team to achieve the goals despite the constraints present. The project manager is not just hired to complete the project, but to steward the resources given in order to achieve the goals.

This means listening to team members who are Subject Matter Experts, monitoring and controlling progress to ensure that the constraints are adhered to in the pursuit of success. A good project manager is able to assess all available information and make adept decisions without being distracted from the goals.

This comes with experiences, learning from personal ones or others. Read books that others have written, talk to people that have taken on such roles, understand the potential challenges that can surface over time and learn the effective solutions.

The Future of Project Management

As data rules the digitalised world we live in today, project managers are treated to much more information than ever before. This means the project managers today have to learn how to obtain and process data to help them in their decision-making processes.

The exploding interconnectedness between devices today also provides an avenue for the project managers to use more effective and efficient management tools to work together with their teams in creating workflows and communicating with one another.

As technology continues to advance, project managers will be required to think how they can capitalise on advancements. Learning to implement new technologies into the team culture and processes is a requirement of all project managers to keep their teams effective and efficient in accomplishing goals.

About BlackStorm Consulting

BlackStorm Consulting is a boutique growth consultancy firm that specialises in corporate strategy, profit management and investment management. We mainly serve clients in four sectors: FinTech, Gaming, Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT), and manufacturing.

Our clients and connections are internationally present and range from small and medium sized businesses, MNCs, to government agencies.