Beginning a new career as a professional project manager (PM) can be difficult, especially for those who have had no prior training in project management. Being a PM can be rewarding and interesting, but without the proper project management training courses, individuals are ill-prepared for all the difficult tasks and decisions that can arise in the workplace. When starting out in this new career, individuals should implement certain tasks that will help them effectively manage everyday project management frustrations.
Six Things PMs Should Do
Chances are those who are reading this are either interested in project management or just starting out in this career. The very core of project managers revolves around setting and meeting business goals, with some goals being short term and others being long term. When these goals are broken down into designated tasks and steps, they become projects to be completed. Managing these projects requires not only intuition but also PM skills that can be learned through the proper training courses. From effective communications skills to documentation consistency, every new project manager should do the following six things to make their careers a success.
1. Learn to Communicate at All Levels.
Communication is key to a successful project completion, and learning how to communicate comfortably with executives, team members, and shareholders is considered the top-needed skill for project managers. PMs need to be able to tailor their message to the various levels of the organization as well as to the individual. Some executives require specific project details, while others insist on just brief overviews. Whether it is business or personal, project managers need to take interest in whatever the executive wishes to talk about, which allows them to utilize this information later on. Communication with stakeholders is imperative early on in projects, building trust and gaining invaluable insights on project success. The more comfortable people become, the more they are willing to cooperate to get the project completed.
2. Learn to Speak in Public.
Even though the main role of a project manager is to lead the team to a successful project completion, project managers need to be proficient in presenting their project ideas and updates to company stakeholders. PMs should be able to put the project information in an engaging and understandable format, which will increase the positive engagement of those impacted by the project. Most public speakers are not born with this skill but need to invest in the time, training, and practice needed to present their message clearly and confidently. Templates can help the presentation flow smoothly and consistently every time, but PMs should still maintain some sort of creativity when forming new presentations.
3. Implement Earned Value Management Systems (EVMS).
At some point during the project’s process, the project sponsor will ask questions to see how on track the project is. Implementing an EVMS helps project managers to keep track of the necessary data to answer questions and keep their team members on track while increasing their credibility with stakeholders. Project managers need to fully understand how to read the metrics data on the EVMS; otherwise, the information will not be conveyed correctly, affecting the project and workers at all levels. When reviewing an EVMS, project managers need to take into account the following questions their project sponsor may ask throughout the process:
- How far along is the project?
- Is the project on schedule?
- Is the project within the designated budget?
4. Implement the Right Resources.
Some managers have a natural skill for finding the right resources, while others need to work hard to get everything in order. Implementing the right resources for effective project management takes a tremendous amount of work, requiring project managers to get to know people, find their niches, and tap into the correct networks for experience and knowledge. Resourcing works hand in hand with communication, involving conversing and connecting with people every day. Once project managers build a rapport with clients and stakeholders, these people will want to help collaborate to get the job down within the designated timeframe and budget.
5. Apply the Critical Skills Needed to Get the Job Done Well.
Project managers who have a narrow technical focus will not succeed in this career. Applying a balance of technical focus, verbal and written communication, decision-making, and negotiation skills is imperative to doing one’s job more effectively. These skills help project managers cross the appropriate organizational boundaries when forming project decisions and obtaining proper support, but most PMs need to learn these skills before entering the workforce by taking the appropriate project management courses. With continual practice, these skills will become second nature to project managers, making their job easier and more effective.
6. Hold Regular Team Meetings.
When taking on new projects, professional project managers need to make sure to hold regular team meetings. Meetings allow for project information distribution, time line setting, resources allocation, feedback solicitation, and stakeholder updates. When it comes to effective meetings, project managers should note to:
- Have an agenda
- Stay on track
- Follow up after the meeting to avoid potential misunderstandings
Benefits of Project Management
With the ever-increasing competition of business around the globe, project management is becoming an essential component of successful business ventures. Individuals who are contemplating a career as a professional project manager should take the necessary project management training courses to gain a core understanding of leadership, communication, and dedication. New skills that can benefit those taking project management courses include:
- Negotiating with Customers
- Lending a team
- Managing contracts
Project managers are measured by their ability to get their teams to work together and accomplish their goals. By following these six steps, new project managers have a greater chance of succeeding and flourishing in their teams, companies, and careers. For more guidance on courses for project managers visit Parallel Project Training