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How to Stay Popular in Project Management Field?
The success of a project manager lies in the success of the projects. And successful projects are not built using lavish budgets and excess resources. It is made with the help of effective project management strategies implemented by a team of professionals with years of practice and experience.
So, what makes a successful and popular project manager? What are the attributes that define an effective project manager? Most importantly, if you are someone who is starting a career in the field of project management, what are the key factors to quickly grab the opportunity and prove your worth?
We have come up with the most recommended tips to ace a career in project management and ways to develop them. Let us have a look at them.
What Is Project Management?
Project management is a set of practices aimed at optimizing the available resources to achieve set deliverables within the identified constraints. Project management involves utilizing personal experience, industry knowledge, and the right set of tools and techniques to deliver the expected results.
Who Is a Project Manager?
A project manager is a person responsible for planning, organizing, and executing projects in accordance with the scope, budget, and time. The role of a project manager is holistic with respect to a project since they are involved at all stages starting from defining project goals to handing over a project post-successful closure.
Due to such high importance, project management professionals must be a jack of all trades. They must possess a highly qualified skill set in order to lead a group of people and manage the stakeholders in addition to ensuring that the project gets delivered on time.
Let us look at some of the characteristics that build a successful and popular project management professional.
Top 10 Characteristics of A Successful Project Manager
The characteristics of a successful project manager entail everything right from being an excellent communicator to being organized and motivated. As we earlier said, a project manager needs to be the jack of all trades. One single character trait cannot be considered to be more or less important than the other. Depending on the problem at hand, one or more of these characteristics should be exhibited by an effective project manager.
If you want to be successful in the project management field, try to develop these characteristics at your own pace. Rome wasn’t built in a day. So is any management skill. Let us look at the top 10 characteristics that popular project managers possess.
A significant portion of project management is involved with the management of human resources. Although a team might be strong technically, project managers must act as enablers, supporters, and motivators in order to optimally leverage the varied skill sets for the successful completion of a project.
Leadership qualities include negotiation, integrity, coaching, consistency, dependability, strategic and critical thinking, open-mindedness, and vision building.
A project manager acts as a bridge between the organization and its employees. So it is important to master communication techniques right from being a good listener to delivering information in a clear and concise manner. A part of being an excellent communicator involves suspending biases, focusing on what the other person has to say, encouraging responses through open-ended follow-up questions, etc.
This is one of the core competencies that is expected out of a project manager. Planning involves breaking down a project or business goal into manageable tasks along a realistic timeline. In a nutshell, project planning involves understanding project requirements, identifying and categorizing stakeholders, assembling necessary resources, and documentation of required paperwork.
Successful implementation of the planned deliverables relies on a solid framework to act upon. Breaking the tasks into accomplishable units and attaching a realistic timeline to them covers a major part of project management. There are a lot of techniques and tools that aid in the project scheduling part. So in order to be a popular project manager in the current era, you have to be technologically savvy as well.
Understanding planning and scheduling software and tools, leveraging them for on-time completion of the project, deriving key insights based on the outcomes, and updating the schedules as the project progresses are highly important.
The most common scheduling tools and techniques include GANTT Chart, schedule network analysis, critical path method (CPM), and Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT). These can be accomplished using software tools such as Microsoft Project and Primavera.
No project or business is without risks. But what makes a difference is how well the company’s project management strategies can mitigate or address them. A successful project manager must be able to identify the risks associated with various stages of the project.
Some major areas of risk include project scope, legal, market risk, cost and resources, communication, and stakeholder mismanagement. In order to be successful, a project manager should analyze the potential impact and devise response strategies for all the risks involved.
At the end of the day, the project deliverables must be achieved. So it is the project manager’s responsibility to overlook that the team members are working efficiently. In order to help them stick to the timeline, the project manager can set clear expectations, find ways to improve focus time and understand the factors leading to the team’s productivity.
Understand the Team
Everyone is human and humans are bound to get distracted, make errors, and fight back. So as a project manager, it is not only important to know the project in and out. It is equally important to understand the team, its potential, and its limitations.
Stakeholder management is a crucial and risky business. Messing up slightly might lead to cascading issues in a project. In order to effectively manage the stakeholders and meet their expectations along the way, the project manager is expected to follow these steps: Identification of stakeholders, mapping of stakeholders based on interests and influence, devising communication strategies for every stakeholder, getting feedback, and working on it.
This is a very important characteristic that acts as armor against uninformed and hasty decisions. Projects can be fast-paced and stressful and hence project managers are required to take quick ad-hoc decisions. But that shouldn’t tamper with the overall objective or scope of the project.
Hence critical thinking must be wired into the brains of a project management professional. Critical thinking can be improved by a lot of activities.
A project is not the reflection of a single person’s effort. A lot of people’s interests and investments are at stake. Hence a project manager must continually ask questions to better understand the existing processes and updates and communicate the same to the respective people.
Project management is both an art and a science. Hence a project manager should be both technologically strong and creative. A lot of soft skills come into play when we think about the characteristics that build a popular and successful project manager. After all, project management is about managing people, interests, budgets, and schedules.
Although it might seem like a daunting task, nothing comes easy. Hence continued efforts combined with ample experience will definitely boost one’s career in the project management field.
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