Become a More Effective Project Manager in Five Simple Steps

By Michelle Symonds

Good project-managers not only need to be experts in their chosen project management methodology, they also need to be able to effectively inspire action in their teams. Becoming an effective project manager is not just about knowing how to do your job; its also about doing the very best by your company, your team and ultimately, yourself.

To become a more effective project manager, you’ll need experience, expertise and the ability to learn from your mistakes. For a bit of a short cut around these requirements, here are five easy steps you can take which will improve your project-management performance.

  1. Eat, sleep and breathe project managementTo become a better PM, and to stay on top of your game, you’ll need to keep your eyes, ears and mind open to new information. The world of project-management is constantly changing and evolving, so make time to develop yourself as a person in order to stay in touch with the industry. Attend seminars, read online articles and subscribe to a project-management magazine to keep abreast of new developments.
  2. Spend time with those more experienced than you

    Stay in touch with the peers you have available to learn from. Whether these are in your own organization or working in other places, keep in touch via social media, intranet and email to see whats going on in their careers. See if you can work shadow more experienced PM’s from time to time, and learn from their methods and organizational strategies.

  3. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

    Sometimes making a mistake can be just as valuable as getting everything right first time. When you are trying out new ideas, new strategies and new tools, sometimes things won’t always go as you expected. In this situation, it is important to not only forgive yourself for making a mistake, but also to learn from that mistake and use your experience to better yourself in the future.

  4. Get feedback

    To improve anything, you need to know how it went in the first place. Just as you would ask for feedback from team members and stakeholders on how a project went, so you should seek feedback on yourself. For personal improvement, nothing is as valuable as the brutally honest opinions of those working with you and those you work for. Focus on where you can make improvements, and try not to let opinions cloud your judgement.

  5. Keep improving your education

    Keep seeking to further your education and qualifications to stay on top of the project management game. You should aim to take at least one new certification per year, even if it is simply a day course or an online learning program. Keep up to date with your project-management certification too, and see what you can do to grow more as a professional.

So don’t just sit back hoping to become a better project manager over time; instead be proactive in improving your project management skills and your career prospects. Take these five steps today and start making some simple changes to improve yourself and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards.

Michelle Symonds is a qualified PRINCE2 Project Manager and believes that the right project management training can transform a good project manager into a great project manager and is essential for a successful outcome to any project.

There is a wide range of formal and informal training courses now available that include online learning and podcasts as well as more traditional classroom courses from organizations such as Parallel Project Training.

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