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6 ways to be a better project manager

Sharon Florentine | June 6, 2016
Project management is a complex -- and critical -- function. Here are six pieces of advice to help project managers improve their craft.

“It’s easy to obsess over time, budget, and scope management -- after all, that’s our job! But beyond all that, project managers are there to help people. We help both our teams and our clients stay on track, prevent them from getting overwhelmed, and protect them from opening cans of worms,” says Rosie Brown, creative project manager and Kickstarter/corporate video producer, Sterling Communications.

To be a better project manager, you must be intimately familiar with each team member’s strengths and weaknesses. David Revees, project manager at Luxe Translation Services, takes time to familiarize himself with the unique talents and strengths of each person on his team so he knows who would and who wouldn’t be good for particular jobs. By doing so, he can better predict what challenges may arise and how to overcome them, according to the survey.

Management tools

Finally, take advantage of the technology available to help you do your job effectively. From project tracking software to file-sharing services to team collaboration tools, find the solution that works best for your teams and put it to work for you.

With so much time- and project-tracking software and solutions out there, it’s easy to keep a close eye on projects to make sure they are on track. You can also adopt a few protocols to help keep those chronically late team members on track by building in extra time for approvals.

Use a variety of reminders, sending one by email, including things like Outlook task reminders, or setting a short appointment time in team members’ calendars with “No Meeting—Reserved for Project X Approval,” says Gwendolyn Kestrel, digital analyst with Digital Advertising Works.

“For the stakeholder who typically misses deadlines, if they’re not central, include ‘Please review by the end of the day next Monday. If I don’t hear from you by then, I’ll assume we’re good to move forward.’ If you absolutely need their approval, state what’s at stake: ‘Please review by the end of the day next Monday. If I don’t hear from you by then, the project can’t meet the publication date,’” she says.

 

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