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Top Tips for Project Management

“What advice would your project management students give to those just starting out in this discipline?”
Geoff Crane asked me the same question as other project managers to compile his top tips and tricks for his students. It was difficult for us to come up with tips as there were so many things we could share with new project mangers. This is where I ran out of space.
New project managers should show that they are flexible, willing, and able listen to their team members and are willing to learn. Project management experience is not necessary. You can instead find other ways to help.
In my first project, I didn’t know how identify a stakeholder group. I didn’t even speak to them. I called the head to inquire about what had happened and why she was so overwhelmed with extra work on go live day. Communicate more than you think you should. You will find additional stakeholders when you least expect them. This does not necessarily mean that you should send mass emails to all employees. This means communicating with specific stakeholders in a targeted and relevant manner. But there are many of them. Call people and invite them to lunch or coffee. People worry about not knowing all the details, especially if they are involved with large projects. This is your responsibility.
Another rule of project management is to keep your project team members safe from politics and grief so they can do their jobs. If it helps, you can accept responsibility for the problems. It’s a great way to diffuse tension and move forward with constructive problem solving. It is very difficult for someone else to shout at you after you have apologized.
Remember that you are also a stakeholder of the project. Even if it’s only 6 months of work in an area you love, you should always be able to get something out of a project in terms of career development.
Geoff has created a complete ebook. It is available for download here. It is a PDF file, so no sign-up necessary.

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