What is it that makes a successful Project Manager?
How do you survive all the challenges and hurdles?
Most successful Project Managers follow the Seven key secrets to successful delivery every time.
1) Learn to be flexible – A key quality to have is the ability to be flexible in any given situation. Sometimes, in order to keep the project on track, a Project Manager will have to think creatively and be flexible to come up with solutions to problems. Being rigid makes it harder to find a “win-win’ solution. Basically, the options are to “make do” or adapt. To survive however, the Project Manager needs to be flexible and adapt. The key factor here is the ability to find a solution ‘whatever it takes’. When early assumptions made turn out to be wrong, there has to be an attitude of finding a solution, not dwelling on the problem.
Do not be too rigid and learn to bend the rules occasionally. Highly constrictive rules and plans will create their own problems and ultimately lead to frustration and inefficient processes. Remember red tape and rules tends to stifle creativity.
2) Keep the prize in mind – Be crystal clear on your final objective or goal. A successful delivery depends heavily on understanding and agreeing requirements right from the start. Then you can use these as the eventual success criteria for successful sign off of your project. Delivering on time and to budget is good, but the real art, the real skill, is in delivering a project as the user originally envisioned it.
3) A Positive Attitude – Generally the Project Manager has to be an active figure, a decisive leader, a good ‘people person’ and not a bystander. A Project Manager has to deal with a variety of situations, working with lots of people and experiencing a myriad of issues and risks. To see light at the end of the tunnel then it is important to have a strong personality that is both proactive and positive.
4) Look ahead – You cannot see every problem on the horizon, but you can anticipate common problems. Practice the good habit of looking ahead, speak to other Project Managers who have been there before you. Read up on lessons learned reports from previous projects. In many cases you will see common problems crop up time and time again. Anticipating them will put you in a much stronger position to deal with them when they eventually do arise.
Remember to ask lots of questions. Making the assumption that you know everything about the project is a dangerous path. Instead, try to have a clear understanding of the process, experiences and issues. That way you are in a much stronger position to deliver a successful project that users will stand behind. Do not accept things at face value. Look for hidden agendas and conflicting objectives, identifying these can help the Project Manager identify potential areas of conflict or resource problems. Go beneath the surface and find out where the pain lies. Work closely with stakeholders and at the end of the exercise you will have a list of the main areas to solve. You might also consider setting up visualization groups to make sure you are on the correct road to delivery.
5) Avoid misunderstandings – Clearing up misunderstandings quickly can save much pain later on in the project. One of the most common problems a Project Manager encounters is that of misinterpretation. Several people can and will agree to set of requirements or specifications, however, they might have slightly differing interpretations of the detail included. Unless you can identify and clear these up early, you are storing up problems for yourself later on in the project. Again a working group or visualization sessions often help to clear these up.
6) Control Project time – Be a good time manager. A good Project Manager must personally be good at managing time. If you are not punctual and prepared how can you pass these qualities on to your project.
7) Use the best tools available, but do not be ruled or distracted by them – Understand the basics of Project Management Tools. A good Project Manager requires a good rudimentary knowledge of the tools out there. ( or have a team that does). These tools can give the advantage that means the difference between success and failure.
Follow these seven key secret principal’s and you will find you are well on the correct path to successful projects over and over again.
Here’s to your future success!