Ten ways to be more strategic as a project manager – Be that power behind all the success!
The role of a project manager is significant in today’s business world, a thousand times more than it was a decade ago. Today, it’s the project manager who oversees every project that is being carried out in an organisation, and all the scopes, budgets, and production details are decided by him/her.
Project managers, in addition to their bachelor’s and master’s, do PRINCE2 Certification Courses in the UK and many other additional qualifications so that they can stay ahead of the competition. Yes, the benefits of PRINCE2 Project Management and other qualifications can make you a better project manager, but there are also some other qualities you should have if you want to become more strategic in your job role. As a project manager, these qualities will not only help you to improve the planning stage of any project, but also to adapt to changes wherever necessary, manage the team effectively, and drive the team to achieve one specific goal.
1) Know your goals and communicate them to your team
Those who have completed PRINCE 2 foundation and practitioner courses know the core importance of one specific goal for a project manager. Before starting on any project, the project manager should define the goal of the project, get it clarified with the other stakeholders and then communicate the same to every member of his/her team. Every process of the project gets designed to achieve this goal and this is important when allocating the resources as well.
Sometimes, there might be instances where this goal has to be modified as the project progresses. Therefore, the project manager should be smart enough always to keep the goals adaptable. At the initial stage, when you are making plan A, keep in mind that there can also be a plan B happening if things change. As a project manager, you will have to expect such sudden changes, and it’s better if this anticipation is present in your team members’ minds as well.
2) Have a deep understanding of the project scope
Project scope basically means the size of the overall project. The project manager strategically should understand the scope before he/she decides on the budget, manpower, and the other allocations. As well-taught in the PRINCE 2 Foundation and Practitioner Certification Training, larger projects need more manpower and material, therefore, a stronger project leadership.
Only if the project manager is well-aware of the project scope, can he direct the interests of all stakeholders (the team, client, and the company) to one goal.
3) Maintain effective communications
Needless to say, project managers should be effective communicators. They have to maintain regular communications not just with the members of his/her team, but also with the clients and external parties such as the media (sometimes).
A project manager should be able to explain the project status and challenges he/she faces politely to anyone who inquires. He/she should always provide honest feedback and use positive body language when doing so.
4) Promote teamwork
It’s the project manager who has to be the leader of the project team. In a team, there can be diverse characters and the project manager will have to deal with all of them equally. Keep no space for doubts or misunderstandings because they can harm the bond of unity in the team. This is why communication is of utmost importance for a project manager.
While being professional with the teammates, you, as the project manager should also have friendly discussions with your project team. Frequently ask if they have any challenges in the work environment and when dealing with the project requirements. If the project is a long-term one, you can take your teammates for an outing and enjoy a day with them and their family members for a change.
5) Do a risk evaluation
It’s not a secret that every project has some inherent risks. It’s the responsibility of the project manager to identify risks through a risk analysis before he/she initiates the project. Once the risks are identified, potential solutions can be created and the team can get an understanding of the potential damage that may happen if the risk happens.
6) Follow the WBS model
Any idea as to what this WBS means? Well…, to those who are not new to project management, WBS is a familiar concept. It’s the Work Breakdown Structure where the project manager breaks down the entire project into small tasks. This is a common strategy followed by project managers, especially when dealing with large-scale projects.
7) Don’t forget proper documentation
As a project manager, it’s always better if you can document the processes of your project. If you have systematic records of a project that you have handled, reviewing it is easy in the end. You can get a clear picture of how the project went, what challenges you faced as a team, and how you came out of those challenges with the resources you had.
These documents become very important for you when you undertake a similar project in the future.
8) Manage time
Time management is an important strategic skill that every project manager should master. Project management experts suggest analysing the ‘critical path’ of each project to effectively manage time when a project is carried out. They say some points in this path have to be tightly managed by the project managers and that it’s crucial.
9) Think visionary
In an instance where you get to save time or money from a specific project, make sure you admire the efforts of your team members. Reward them financially or non-financially and let them feel valued. You can also utilise the saved money and time for the training and development of your teammates. Reinvest the savings on a development session that focuses on communicational skills or even software competency. You may first see this as an expense, but in the long term, it really is an investment.
10) Make use of the latest technology
Ever-evolving technology also has made project management easy and efficient. Today there are multiple software programs and apps to track projects and also to share files with project mates. These innovations save a lot of time for project management teams and indeed offer a strategic benefit.