It goes without saying that project management is a challenge, even for the most seasoned managers. Of course, every project manager has his or her own unique way of making sure the job gets done, but most can agree there are a few key elements involved in keeping any project on track, on budget, and on deadline. Here, we explore 5 tips for project management excellence.
• Leadership is paramount. It's not just about making accurate projections – it's about leading your team down the right path. In addition to keeping channels of communication open, the project manager must act as a mentor and foster positive team dynamics. Don't be afraid to take charge!
• Avoid scope creep. Change is inevitable during the course of a project. Chaos is not. If new elements are added to the project without consideration for budget or time, it's time to step back, address the matter with necessary superiors, and rescope.
• Never underestimate the importance of critical thinking. As most project managers know, a project is never smooth sailing from beginning to end. If you've hit a dead end, don't throw in the towel—get creative! You may be astonished by what a little out-of-the-box thinking can do for your deadlines.
• Remove the roadblocks. Remember that project management isn't about you – it's about your team. Every member of your team has a unique personality and specific skills that landed him or her on the project. Focus on removing the roadblocks for individual members and watch how efficient your team becomes.
• Make sure everybody knows what they're doing. It may seem obvious, but part of a project manager's job is to ensure that everybody—including senior management—knows what's going on and how everything ties together. Ask yourself, "What are the goals of this project, and how will we measure success?" If you don't know, your team won't either.