As we get up to speed in 2014, you might be thinking about what you want to do this year to become an even better project manager. Just as we resolve to take more exercise or eat healthily in the New Year, we might also think about what resolutions we can make in our careers too. Here are five key resolutions every project manager should be considering in order to make 2014 a year of excellence in project management.
1. I will communicate better
Flawless project communications are a must for any professional PM. Without a robust project communications plan in place, projects are doomed to failure from the start, but remember that a good plan must also be well-executed. As well as thinking about how you can communicate better with your project team, consider how you will manage stakeholder communications and upward communications to the management of your organisation too. Make sure everyone knows what communication to expect and when, so that expectations are managed and engagement is maintained.
2. I will manage everyone’s expectations
Following on nicely from communication management, you also need to manage everyone’s expectations in regards to your project deliverables too. You should not be working on a project that does not have a written and approved scope of work, as without this it will be impossible for your team to set out what needs to be delivered and when. You may have to explain why certain things require the investment or time that you know they do, but by making this clear to your client from the outset, they will understand your scheduling and be more relaxed about their project.
3. I will collaborate better
Collaboration might take place within your own project team, but you might also have the ability to draw on the knowledge and experience of a wider range of people to assist with the delivery of the project. To collaborate better, build up your networks of industry experts and contacts, and feel free to bounce ideas off people who aren’t even working on your project, so you can get some additional insight and investment in your ideas.
4. I will know my stakeholders, and so will my team
Getting to grips with who the project stakeholders are at an early stage in the process is critical to allow you to manage these individuals and groups most effectively. Stakeholders may be contractors, your client, other organisations and even the general public, so having a quick brainstorm at the start of the project to identify these people will help you build a communications plan that really works. Letting your team know who the project stakeholders are will help them work to the expectations of their stakeholders and bring improved communications and understanding throughout the project.
5. I will be my teams biggest champion
Your team need to know you’ve got their back, and that means appreciating and praising what they do when they get it right and offering only constructive criticism if they do slip up. Project management should not be about playing a blame game, instead it should be about working together to solve issues and problems, and inspiring confidence in your team members so that they know you are on their side.