The world of project management is one of constant motion – the pieces of the puzzle move this way and that, and sometimes things are thrown off completely by factors that are out of your control. This faced-paced game is something I love about being a project manager, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. For PMs near and far, there are a couple tips and tricks to help simplify your life and make your teams more efficient.
1. Organization, organization, organization!
I cannot emphasize this enough. As project managers, it is import to have all your ducks in a row before you can help your team do the same. Whether that means creating checklists, tables, or carrying around “To-Do” sticky notes, being organized will absolutely always pay off. (Pro tip: if you can’t deal with clutter I’d avoid the sticky note strategy, but if it works for you then go for it!)
2. Embrace Change
Although many of us project managers avoid uncertainty at all costs, when you’re working at an agency change is simply par for the course. It is important to adapt as needed, and when if you are required to change get organized as quickly as possible (see Tip #1). This will help immensely with smoother transitions and happier teams.
3. Be Open to Learning
As you manage each of your accounts, it is important to not only grasp internal goals and expectations, but to foster that curiosity and drive to understand the goals and background of your client. We all have our own internal deadlines and pressures, but sometimes it’s a nice to get some perspective by looking at the situation through the lens of the client. Plus, learning something new along the way never hurts.
4. Learn how to read people
Now I’m not saying project managers also need a degree in Psychology, but in my experience the qualification “life coach” should also be included in project management job descriptions. Being able to read your team is crucial. Knowing that your team will have ups and downs throughout the course of a project will help you as you make decisions and keep things on track. Also, quite frankly, the reality of working with multiple people is that not all personalities blend together well. When building a team, do what you can to avoid putting two people together who have clashing personalities – you’re are planning for the long-term success of a project, so every little bit helps.
5. You can never go wrong with being a team player
This is great advice for just about any position, and project management is no exception. Yes, as a project manager you are managing a project and a corresponding group of people, but when the going gets tough you may be called upon to lend a hand or work together to figure out a problem. Like they always say, two minds are better than one!
6. Take initiative to solve problems
Inevitably, problems will arise, no matter how much planning you’ve done. This can be hard to admit for any project manager, but it’s true. This can be your chance to shine, so don’t be afraid to put on your thinking cap when it’s time to figure out a solution and resolve a problem.