Back to Work Special
Part 3 of 5
Project Management for Leaders Cheat Sheet
As the world reopens, studies suggest that by 2027, most of our day-to-day work will be project-based.
Successful project management is key to driving the organisation forward and, with more and more of our work revolving around projects, more and more leaders are finding themselves in charge of projects even if they aren’t typically project managers.
Because of this, now is a crucial time for leaders to really get an understanding of how to successfully manage projects.
What are Some of the Signs of Excellent Project Management?
Projects have many uses, including conducting research, developing new products, and implementing change.
When done well, project management can have endless benefits for individuals, teams, and the organisation as a whole, including:
- Teams can focus on the work that matters most
- Employees are more motivated and therefore productive as they see how their work contributes to the overall project goal
- Fantastic results are delivered on time without having to overspend and consequently exceed budgets
Consequences of Poor Project Management
Whilst the obvious consequence of poor project management is that the project won’t be a success and its goals won’t be met, there is more to it than that. For example, poor project management can result in:
- Work having to be redone - research shows that 80% of people spend at least half of their time on rework
- Unhappy and disappointed customers and stakeholders
- A stagnant organisation that doesn’t grow, improve or keep up with the ever-changing environment that it’s in
What are the Qualities of a Fantastic Project Manager?
The success of a project depends heavily on the leader who is overseeing the project. Successful project management is composed of many different abilities and aptitudes, including:
1. Communication and Interpersonal Skills
To truly be a good project manager, you need to be able to effectively communicate with others at every level of the organisation, both with internal staff and with external stakeholders. It’s also important to remember that communication is a two-way street:
Not only do you need to be able to give messages, you need to be able to listen to others.
This is also essential in terms of feedback; it’s equally as important to be able to receive and take on board feedback and constructive criticism as it is to be able to give it. Having these core communication and interpersonal skills will make collaboration, a key aspect of any team project, much easier.
2. Conveying a Vision
As part of being able to communicate effectively, you need to be able to convey your project vision in a motivating and engaging way, relating it to individuals’ roles and responsibilities. Making staff aware of the bigger picture can really drive them to work harder as it shows them that what they are doing is important and contributes to the greater success of the project. Gaining buy-in and getting people on board not only motivates them more in the first place, it can also make them more resilient when things don’t quite go to plan as they have greater interest and investment in achieving the project’s overall goals.
3. Integrity and Decision-making
Integrity, transparency and honesty are all key to gaining trust from staff. Showing your commitment to your organisation’s values and ethical practices instills confidence in your team that you will always act in their best interest and treat them fairly. Once you build that trust and confidence, you need to make sure you maintain it by keeping to any promises you make instead of over-promising and under-delivering. Integrity is also a key part of decision making.
As much as you can try to make the best decisions, being an excellent decision maker doesn’t necessarily mean making the right decision 100% of the time - it also means holding yourself accountable when wrong decisions are made and taking responsibility for putting it right.
4. Remaining Level-headed When Problems Arise
With any project, it’s more than likely that not everything will go according to plan and you and your team will face some challenges. When things aren’t going as planned, it’s important to, as a team leader or project manager, remain level-headed and tackle the issue with a positive attitude. Not only does keeping a cool, calm disposition show your team that you know what you’re doing and are in control, it also enables you to better recognise, analyse the cause of, and find solutions to problems.
Ultimately, what successful project management comes down to is competence, and having the required knowledge, skills and abilities. There are many ways to improve competence in project management, including training. If this is something you are interested in, you can click here to view our professional Project Management training course which covers many core aspects of project management, including:
- The generic project lifecycle
- Stakeholder mapping, management, and engagement
- MosCoW Prioritisation
- Identifying risk, threat, and opportunity
- Gantt charts, kanban boards, the Tuckaman model
… and much more!
Project Management for Leaders Cheat Sheet
Project management can be quite daunting to get started with, so we have created a fantastic Project Management for Leaders Cheat Sheet to help you out!
You can download this cheat sheet by clicking here or following the link at the bottom of this article.
In our next Daily Dot article, we will be looking at how to build high-performance teams capable of delivering your strategy and operational plans to a high quality.
Until next time...