Project management success depends largely upon vision. In a very real sense, the project manager is the fulcrum upon which the various components of a given project are balanced, so an individual in this position must be able to see the big picture, recognize priorities and hone his or her ability to communicate effectively.
Effective project management hinges on a leader’s ability to:
- Identify a specific goal
- Map out a plan for accomplishing that goal
- Stay abreast of the team’s progress toward the goal
While this may seem simple enough, like a lot of things, it is easier said than done.
To keep your projects running smoothly and on schedule, look to the best practices of seasoned project managers and start by implementing these five secrets to project management success:
- Develop a Rapport With Key Stakeholders
The first step to project management success begins with developing positive relationships and open communication with everyone who is contributing to the project. Project managers work with many highly skilled and talented professionals, and these individuals expect to be recognized for their expertise—both by the project leader and their fellow team members.
A good project manager will engage his or her entire team throughout each phase of the project, creating an environment that encourages cooperation and the sharing of ideas to arrive at the best possible solutions. Successful projects rely on teamwork and mutual respect among collaborators, and this is best achieved when the project manager is regarded as a positive and supportive figure who fosters communicative and open working relationships.
- Provide Leadership Without Micromanaging
On any team, it is important for all members to understand their roles and responsibilities, and for the project manager to allow them to carry out their duties with minimal interference. If a project manager attempts to control every aspect of the process, team members may feel as if their leader doesn’t trust them or doesn’t value their contributions. This can be detrimental to project management success. You don’t want to “micromanage” or get involved in the work of team members unnecessarily.
Project management is a complex field that requires a specialized skill set and a familiarity with many areas of the business. It also requires an understanding of when to rely on the judgment of others with different skills, knowledge and functional expertise. Successful project managers understand that their role is to provide leadership and guidance, while empowering others excel in their respective roles. Allow the project to come together organically, and step in only when it is necessary and appropriate.
- Do Your Homework
While a project manager is not expected to have a comprehensive understanding of every specialty within the organization, the more you know, the better you’ll be able to lead. Project management success requires research and a working knowledge of industry best practices. Also, you can’t effectively lead your team members if you don’t have a clear understanding of what they do. Prior to the start of a project, learn everything you can about your team and what each person will be contributing to the project. This will help you gain the confidence of your collaborators and enable you to manage the workflow more effectively.
- Learn How to Identify and Use the Right Tools
In today’s technologically advanced project management environment, it’s critical to have an understanding of the different software and web-based project management applications available. Your project management solution should streamline your processes, save steps and help collaborators avoid duplication of effort.
Once you have identified a project management solution that fits the size, scope and focus of your company’s initiative, you will need to become proficient in using the software in order to maximize its capabilities and achieve project management success.
- Enhance Your Expertise Through Continuing Education
The key to ongoing project management success is to ensure your knowledge and skills are as comprehensive and current as possible. The best way to achieve that is through professional education. By undertaking training that is relevant to your work, you’ll bring greater value to the organization while enhancing your résumé.
Look for training through an accredited university, and seek out programs that will help prepare you for industry certification. When exploring your options, consider the project management certificate program offered 100% online through Villanova University. Villanova offers a variety of project management certificate courses through its acclaimed video-based e-learning platform. A multi-course certificate program is also available in Applied Project Management.
As the field of project management continues to evolve, stay at the forefront of industry developments—and several steps ahead of your competitors—with the training you need to achieve project management success.