10 Productive Tips for New Project Managers to Ace their Jobs

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Productive Tips

Scores of bodies were found in the debris amid chaotic scenes in the rural areas near the city of Brumadinho in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. And hundreds are still missing after a tailings dam broke down. The mud flow, in the wake of the disaster, virtually buried an entire village and the nearby facilities of the mining company, Vale, which owned the dam. The incident took place on the 25th of January 2019 and has so far claimed 121 lives with 226 people still missing, as of 2nd February 2019.

The deadly video of the dam collapsing will send shivers down your spine. People walking around the dam, going about their daily tasks, oblivious to the imminent catastrophe, can be seen in the video before being washed away by the mud and sludge. As the rescue efforts are still in full swing, the people who reside there and everyone else in Brazil want to know exactly what went wrong and how to prevent these mega-disasters in the future.

Apt Project Management for the Rescue

Disasters and project failures of catastrophic proportions, just like the one mentioned above, make us think of ways of preventing these incidents. Projects need to be managed right from the start as the scope of project management is very vast, which is why the person at the helm of the affairs, that is, the project manager, has to be an experienced campaigner. This is why a person who is starting his career as a project manager initially faces a tough time coping with the situation.

To make the task easier for the newcomers in this field, there are many ways. One can get the assistance and help in this regard quite easily from many online resources. But when it comes down to starting a project and making it count, there should be guidelines or tips, clearly defining how to go about the task. In this blog, I will try to list the top 10 tips that are proven to be really effective for a person new in the project management field.

1. Listen and Engage

A good listener is always a good learner. At the start of your career as a project manager, you need to ask everyone around you about the problems they are facing and then think what you need to do. You need to study the clients you’ll be dealing with and the previous project manager’s work for quick reference. Listening will give you food for thought and valuable data/information for starting the project with full confidence.

Now comes the engaging part. You need to get down with your team and engage them in a positive activity to start off a project on a light note. As you are a novice in this field, don’t press people around you too hard. Once you are familiar with everyone in your team, you can go on in a more professional manner.

2. A Problem Solver

There are times when a new project manager is of the opinion that using a task management software will solve the lion’s share of his problems. Of course, this is not the right approach as you need to analyze the dependencies and identify the risks involved in making certain that you and your team are on the same page. You need to be proactive in your approach in this regard.

For a new project manager, more often than not, things will go wrong, and the project may turn out to be a failure. That person should initiate the investigation as to how, what, when and where things went wrong so that they can be avoided in the future.

Further Read: Project Management Do’s for Effective Project Managers

3. An Effective Team Player

you may be wondering why on earth a project manager needs to be a team player when he is the manager. It pertains to the people a PM leads, right? This is a totally wrong assessment. You need to learn how to boost the confidence of your team members, while feeling comfortable with inquiring into anything that is bothering you related to the project at hand. You need to be there for your team members when they need you.

4. Know your Project Management Tool

It doesn’t matter whether you are overseeing the project schedule or collaborating the project, you need to focus on how you can use a task management system/PM system to the fullest. You need to find ways to use it while optimizing the platform to your advantage. You need to find a product, either a free productivity software or a premium one. As a new project manager, you must know how to use the tool inside out so that you can lead from the front.

5. Know your Clients Well

While you should have an idea about your employer and the top management, equally important is to know your customer for whom you are creating the project. Know them as an individual and also as a company so that when you interact with them for a follow-up or feedback, you know who to talk to or how to deal in a tricky situation.

In addition to that, understanding the client’s goals, visions and mission is the ideal situation that can put you and your team on top. In this way, you can react to any question quickly and in a meaningful way, thus giving your client a pleasant surprise.

6. Reading the Mind of the People

Your people’s skills come into play while you start your career as a project manager. You may call it emotional intelligence as you need to act smart and always remain one step ahead in any situation. This not only holds true for the client, but also the people whom you work with. You need to learn about human behavior and develop a deep sense of anticipation about what’s going to happen next, to come out triumphant each time.

7. The Role of a Mentor

For a newcomer in any field, the role of a mentor is extremely important. So, for a project manager as well, it’s imperative that he finds a mentor. Any person within the company with the relevant experience can fit in to the role, e.g. a top executive, operations manager, a colleague, etc. Even a family member or a friend can also come up with some bright ideas. So, you basically need a role model who can help you out and motivate you at the same time for making your job easier.

Further Read: 7 Deadly Sins of Project Management You Should Never Commit

8. Taking on Responsibility with Authority

It can be tough to designate yourself to a task and take full responsibility for it as a project manager who has just started his career. But in the long run, it will be seen as a bold and confident move. One day you’ll take the big decisions too regarding the company’s future so better make some inroads regarding it right from the onset. For this, you have to think out-of-the-box and with a firm commitment to do the job at hand with full authority and accepting the mistakes or failure with dignity.

9. Embrace Change

In every business, you need to anticipate that anything can go wrong or unexpected that can ruin the project or make an irrecoverable loss to it. This can lead to making your role as a project manager less significant and your presence less authoritative. So, you need to think positive, be flexible, adaptive to change and simply to look forward to a situation in which you can show your mettle and prove you are not a novice, but a professional.

10. Certifications and Diplomas to Stay Ahead

New advancements in the field of project management do happen regularly. New concepts and ideas take over old ones and if you are not adaptive to change or don’t have the required qualification, you’ll be in hot waters. Make sure you are right on track concerning all the emerging trends and new practices and get certified to have an edge over others.

Final Word

A person starting a new career as a project manager can be in for a shock while facing tough situations. I am sure these ten tips are important for you in case you are also a novice in this field. If you need further information in this concern or want to offer your valuable feedback, please use the comments section below.

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