Managing a one-off project is not the same as managing a company department that does the same thing day in and day out. It requires a special set of skills and a more direct approach. Whether you are an experienced project manager looking to brush up on your technique or just about to start your first job in such a capacity, I sincerely hope that the following tips prove to be useful to you.
1. Delegate – the art of delegation is important in all management positions but especially so in project management, owing to the fact that you will often be working to very tight deadlines. If you cannot delegate responsibility for certain tasks to your juniors, you are bound to run into difficulties at some point during the projects that you manage. In order to be able to delegate effectively, you will of course need to have some trusted deputies at your side. Whether this is the case or not will depend to a great extent on your ability to follow the advice contained in the next tip.
2. Recruit the right people – the only way that you will be able to ensure the successful and timely completion of the projects that you manage is by having an efficient and capable team in place right at the very start of each one. The people that you hire not only need to have the necessary skills to do their particular job, they need to be completely trustworthy too. If you focus on this point during interviews, it will be easier to put together a team that works together well and that you can trust to manage things whenever you are absent.
3. Be approachable – this is often more of a problem for new managers than it is for old hands. If you are currently applying for project management jobs and you want to impress your interviewers with your suitability for the positions in question, concentrate on being open to suggestions and ready to listen to new ideas during the interviews. New managers often try to establish their authority in a rather heavy handed manner and can come across as close-minded individuals who are not prepared to listen to others. If you want make sure that you are always kept abreast of the latest developments concerning the projects you are managing, you need every member of your team to feel comfortable approaching you whenever they encounter a problem.
4. Keep it real – don’t fall into the trap of promising senior managers the world and then failing to deliver. You will make a much better impression if you are honest and direct with your superiors about what is and what is not possible concerning each of the projects that you manage.
It may be difficult at first to adapt to the different demands that project management places on you but as you gain in experience you should be able to alter your approach to deal with these demands more effectively.