The 5 Things you Must Do as a Project Manager

If you’d like to learn the 5 things you must do to become a top notch Project Manager then read on…

The 5 Things you Must Do as a Project Manager

It’s a tough job, managing projects. But if you can do these five things really well, then you’re likely to achieve project success…

1. Set the Roadmap
Every Project Manager has to set a clear roadmap for the team. This includes a crystal clear project plan, goals, timeframes and deliverables for the team.

Start by getting your boss to agree on the Project Goals and Timeframes. Then run workshops with your team to plan the road ahead. This gets their buy-in to the timeframes and deliverables at a detailed level. Then present your project plan to your boss or the customer to get it approved. By creating a clear roadmap ahead early on in the project, you’ll make sure that you kick-off the project on the right foot.

2. Time-box Everything!
You project plan will describe the general timeframes for the project, but you need to make sure that within this plan, every individual task has a clearly defined start and end date. Then make sure that resources are assigned to tasks and they know what must be complete and when.

Absolutely everything in the project must be time-boxed, and not just tasks. If you run meetings, then set dates for when you expect the minutes to be written up by. If you run workshops, make sure that the actions that were generated have due dates. Anything that isn’t time-boxed becomes an “operational task” and you have no way of knowing if it’s on time or not.

3. Blow the whistle regularly
As a Project Manager, you need to actually check that everything you delegate is completed on time – otherwise you need to blow the whistle at them! You can’t simply trust that people will get work done on time and move on to other things. You need to list everything you’ve asked to be done, who’s going to do it and by when – and then check that it’s completed. That way, you can ensure you proceed according to plan.

Also, don’t be afraid to be the “busybody” who is “always poking their nose into work that others are doing”. In fact, that’s actually your job! Find out who is working on what, where they are at and how long it’s going to take to finish and compare that to what you expected in the first place. Do this every day, for every member of your team. Remember – you need to control the work, not just monitor it.

4. Be Strong, but Supportive
As the Project Manager, it’s your butt that’s in the firing range! So don’t be afraid to be strong with your team. It’s a tough balance to strike (being strong vs. supportive), but all great leaders have found the balance and achieved the right results.

If you need to have a terse word with staff, then do it personally rather than in front of the team. Speak openly and honestly, never “fluff it up”. Tell them straight, but always be professional and constructive. They will respect you for it. One great tip is always to start with a positive and end with a positive, to ensure you get their buy-in.

5. Review
Your job is to lead, coach, manage and review. So keep a close eye on progress and where things are at. Use tools to see if you’re on track daily and take action if you’re not. Review everything – time, deliverables, quality, budget, suppliers etc . You’re the watchdog, who makes sure that it’s all done according to plan. But remember—the watchdog is always the first in the office, the last to leave and buys the morning tea to keep the team motivated!

So that’s it. If you can set the roadmap for your team, time-box everything, monitor and review progress, while finding the balance between being strong and supportive, then you’ll achieve success and be a great leader in the process.

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