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Project Management Tips Share by Top Project Managers

Project Management Tips Share By Top Project Managers, Project Management Blog
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Project management is a dynamic and challenging field that demands effective leadership, strategic planning, and efficient execution.

Successful project managers possess a wealth of experience and valuable insights gained from years of managing diverse projects.

In this blog, we will delve into the project management tips shared by exceptional project managers, providing invaluable guidance for aspiring project leaders.

Contents

1. Start with Clear Objectives:

Top project managers emphasize the importance of defining clear and specific project objectives. These objectives act as the foundation for project planning, helping the team stay focused on the end goals throughout the project lifecycle.

2. Craft a Robust Project Plan:

Project Plan, Project Management Blog

(Source: www.proprofsproject.com)

A well-crafted project plan is essential for successful execution. It should outline the project scope, timelines, tasks, resource allocation, and potential risks. A comprehensive plan ensures everyone is on the same page and minimizes uncertainty.

3. Communicate Effectively:

Effective Communication, Project Management Blog

(Source: upraise.io)

Effective communication lies at the heart of project success. Top project managers prioritize open and transparent communication with stakeholders, team members, and clients to foster collaboration and address challenges proactively.

4. Build and Empower a Skilled Team:

Skilled Team, Project Management Blog

(Source: rightmindedteamwork.com)

Assembling a team with diverse skills and expertise is crucial. Top project managers focus on empowering team members, encouraging autonomy, and allowing individuals to excel in their respective areas.

5. Manage Risks Proactively:

Risk Management Process, Project Management Blog

(Source: mha-it.com)

Anticipating and mitigating risks is a top priority for successful project managers. They regularly assess potential risks and develop contingency plans to handle unforeseen challenges.

6. Adopt Agile Methodologies:

Agile Methodologies, Project Management Blog

(Source: litslink.com)

Top project managers embrace agile methodologies to promote flexibility and adaptability in a rapidly changing business landscape. Agile practices allow teams to respond quickly to evolving requirements and deliver incremental value.

7. Monitor Progress Regularly:

Project Progress, Project Management Blog

(Source: amoeboids.com)

Keeping a close eye on project progress is vital. Regular status updates, progress reports, and meetings help identify deviations from the plan early on, enabling timely interventions.

8. Foster Collaboration and Teamwork:

Team Collaboration, Project Management Blog
                                                                                 (Source: beforesunset.ai)

Cultivating a collaborative environment is key to enhancing creativity and problem-solving within the team. Top project managers encourage open discussions and idea-sharing to drive innovation.

9. Celebrate Achievements:

Celebrate Achievements, Project Management Blog

(Source: slideteam.net/)

Recognizing and celebrating project milestones boosts team morale and motivation. Top project managers acknowledge the hard work of their team, fostering a positive and productive project environment.

10. Be Adaptable and Agile:

Experienced project managers understand that projects are dynamic and subject to change. They are open to adapting plans when new information arises, maintaining a focus on the project’s objectives.

11. Learn from Past Projects:

Reflecting on past projects provides invaluable insights. Top project managers conduct post-mortem reviews to identify strengths and weaknesses, allowing continuous improvement for future projects.

12. Set Realistic Expectations:

Transparently managing stakeholder expectations is essential for project success. Top project managers are honest about project limitations, risks, and potential challenges.

13. Delegate Wisely:

Delegating tasks based on individual strengths and capabilities is crucial. Effective delegation allows top project managers to concentrate on strategic aspects and fosters team growth.

14. Encourage Growth and Development:

Nurturing a learning culture is vital. Top project managers provide opportunities for professional development and skill enhancement for team members.

15. Stay Focused on the Big Picture:

Amidst the day-to-day details, top project managers never lose sight of the project’s overarching goals and the broader organizational impact.

Most Coveted Project Management Skills

Project Management Skills, Project Management Blog

(Source: projectcubicle.com)

As the role of a project manager becomes increasingly vital in today’s complex and fast-paced business landscape, certain skills have emerged as particularly coveted and essential for success.

Top Five Most Coveted Project Management Skills:

1. Effective Communication:

Excellent communication skills are a cornerstone of successful project management.

Project managers must be adept at conveying complex information clearly and concisely to stakeholders, team members, and clients.

They should excel in active listening, negotiation, and articulating project requirements, updates, and challenges with transparency and confidence.

2. Leadership and Team Management:

Strong leadership skills are indispensable for project managers to inspire and guide their teams effectively.

They should be able to build and lead diverse teams, provide direction, motivate team members, and foster a collaborative and positive work environment.

Effective team management includes recognizing and leveraging individual strengths, resolving conflicts, and promoting a sense of ownership and accountability.

3. Strategic Planning and Decision Making:

The ability to think strategically and make informed decisions is a highly valued skill for project managers.

They must be adept at analyzing information, considering risks, and devising plans that align with organizational goals.

Strategic planning involves setting priorities, allocating resources wisely, and adapting plans to changing circumstances.

4. Adaptability and Agility:

In a dynamic business landscape, adaptability is essential. Coveted project managers can respond swiftly to unforeseen challenges, changing requirements, and shifting priorities.

They embrace agile methodologies, allowing teams to deliver value and make adjustments throughout the project.

5. Risk Management and Problem-Solving:

Successful project managers possess exceptional problem-solving and risk-management skills.

They proactively identify potential risks, analyze their impact, and develop robust mitigation strategies.

When issues arise, they demonstrate resourcefulness and analytical thinking to resolve problems efficiently.

Why Learning is Important for Successful Project Management?

Capturing lessons learned is an important activity within the Closure phase of the project management life cycle. Successful or not, as a project manager, you must carry out a detailed lessons learned process and document them formally.

The lessons-learned approach is about shaping the future. As they say, you cannot make all the mistakes to learn from them. You must also learn from others’ mistakes and prevent them from occurring.

It is more about optimizing the existing way of doing things based on the learnings from each project, especially from the ones that failed or did not meet the expectations entirely.

What Is A Lessons Learned Process?

Lessons learned, in a broader view, is about:

  • Reviewing the outcomes of the just-concluded project.
  • Identifying what did not go as planned.
  • Recognizing what worked well.
  • Determining what needs improvement.

Now, note that it is not a one-man activity. All the key stakeholders, such as the project lead, customer, team, vendor, suppliers, etc., must be involved as applicable.

Also, there are various aspects of project management that need to be reviewed with an open mind during the lessons-learned process:

  • Existing processes across the spectrum.
  • Workflows and standard operating procedures.
  • Communication practices.

With a single objective: to ensure that “the same mistakes aren’t carried forward from project to project; rather, execution and operations are strengthened across the organization.

And to achieve that, all findings must be documented in an actionable manner.

The exercise is not to meet, greet, and forget!

How To Perform The Lessons Learned Exercise?

Depending on the nature of your projects, this can be a regular ongoing activity or at the end of the project.

  • Regular & ongoing – e.g., Sprint retrospectives.
  • End of the project – e.g., PIR – post-implementation review or Post facto.

Consider you have projects running over multiple quarters or years. Then you must schedule a lessons learned cadence so that the team can:

  • Remain in sync.
  • Identify mistakes early on before they become major limiting factors for the project.
  • Prevent repeating mistakes for the entire duration of the project.
  • Detect risks at the initial project stages.
  • Gain an understanding of what change in approach and strategy is required.

Let us now look at the various steps included in conducting a thorough lessons-learned process:

  • Identify
  • Record
  • Review
  • Socialize
  • Refer

Identify:

Irrespective of your lessons-learned approach, it must be done in an organized manner.

As project managers, you must spend considerable time reaching out to your teams and stakeholders to educate and generate awareness of the lessons learned exercise.

Depending on the nature of the project, the team needs to share:

  • Challenges faced
  • Issues with time and quality
  • Areas they think have scope for improvement
  • Areas that are non-value add and may need to be eliminated

The idea is to trigger thoughts and give them a sense of what is expected.

Project managers must also conduct reviews and interviews with the customers, send out feedback surveys, etc.—basically whatever works for your team and organization.

But the key is to do it in a coordinated and organized manner.

Identification is a crucial step in the lesson-gathering process.

  • Schedule a session with the entire team.
  • Establish ground rules and a timeline for the session.
  • Set an agenda for the session, e.g., a specific aspect – budget issues, time management, etc.
  • Be a timekeeper during the session.
  • Ensure the team does not get into deep dive sessions of individual issues.
  • Capture the issues brought forth for further action.

Record:

This is the step where you formalize all the issues reported by the team. The use of a project management tool is recommended here.

Some of the identified issues may need immediate attention and action. So log them and assign them to the right people to get them addressed.

For the rest of them, log them with proper categorization.

Set out a template or format to have them captured.

Assign the key team members to log and capture details of their respective issues for ownership.

Once all issues are recorded, make a central report for the next steps.

Review:

This is an important phase where you bring the lessons learned to the management’s attention for review and action.

Prepare a detailed report.

Work with the management to review them and plan for their resolution.

Some may be low-hanging fruits with minimum disruption to existing processes or workflows.

Some may need minor tweaking or fixes.

Categorize the issues in terms of strategic and tactical buckets along with their expected resolution actions.

Note that not all issues can be fixed immediately and may not be legitimate either.

Those will need a detailed deep dive.

Make sure your report includes probable solutions and recommendations.

The idea here is to get the management’s buy-in and approval on how the resolution would be applied and socialized with the relevant departments or team members.

Only once the list is vetted and approved do we move to the next step – Socialize!

Socialize:

This is where the wiki management comes into the picture. A detailed knowledge base is created and updated with all the relevant lessons learned.

The records are made public for other teams to access, understand, and refer to for their ongoing or upcoming projects.

Run it like a mini project.

Make sure the agreed items are duly assigned, and status updates are done as and when there is progress.

This will keep the momentum, the teams will be updated, and will also lead to greater contribution from the team.

Mainly, there will be greater awareness within the team, which will make them watchful of issues that may crop up in their projects and adept in preventing or handling them just in time!

Refer:

This is very crucial! If the data remains in a silo and cannot be accessed or referred to, then the whole exercise is in vain.

Hence, the use of a robust project management tool is critical to the success of the lessons-learned process.

Right from the issue listing to resolution to sharing as a wiki, project management tools like Orangescrum have proven to be very effective.

  • You can have a “Lessons Learned” Task Group within the ongoing project.
  • List out all issues as tasks, and sub-tasks, and add checklists.
  • Use Custom Task types and custom labels for appropriate classification.
  • Have a proper assignee, due dates, and custom status workflow to track the life cycle of these issues from start to end.
  • Once successfully closed, create a Wiki and share the articles with the other teams.

Teams can access the lessons learned when needed, and most importantly, they know what to access, when, where, and how.

When you have a tool, it becomes easier to centralize all the knowledge and enable collaboration.

Wrapping Up:

The lessons-learned process is very helpful in identifying pitfalls across your operations.

Right from:

  • Project Management Office
  • Product development and engineering
  • Customer support and success
  • HR, Payroll, Finance
  • Vendor management
  • Procurement
  • Sales, etc.

Conclusion

The project management tips shared by top project managers reflect their expertise and the lessons they have learned from managing diverse projects.

By incorporating these insights into their own project management practices, aspiring project managers can enhance their leadership capabilities.

This further increases the chances of project success and creates a positive and productive work environment for their teams.

Remember, successful project management goes beyond just technical skills; it requires effective communication, strategic thinking, and a relentless commitment to achieving project goals.

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