A lot of people fall into the role of project manager by accident. They never planned to get into project management, and they weren’t originally employed to do project work, but somehow they have found themselves leading and directing projects as part of their role. If this sounds familiar, we have five tips that will help you on your career journey.
1. Take a project management training course
There is only one place to begin, and this is with taking one of the available project management courses to enhance your project management skills. There are many different options available, including online courses and quick five-day courses. This will help you to have a more structured approach to project management. You will learn different techniques and methodologies that you can use in order to manage projects better. Plus, you will gain a qualification. Project management qualifications look great on a CV, especially as they indicate skills that are transferable and beneficial in a wide number of jobs. You may want to look into emotional intelligence coaching and other specific areas of project management to hone in on certain skills.
2. Keep your promises
When it comes to project management, one thing that is easy to do is over-promise. When you have senior managers and stakeholders asking for ‘x, y, and z,’ you want to make sure you deliver. However, you should never agree to something that simply is not possible. Selling the hard truth will be rewarding in the end, as executives will respect you for being direct and putting your foot down.
3. Create a milestone plan
Creating a milestone plan is one of the most crucial skills you should master early on. After all, let’s say you have a year to build an e-store. You can’t just say in 12 months the store will be ready. You need to break this down into smaller chunks. So, how do you do this? Firstly, you will need to gather the full project team, so that you can brainstorm everything. Once you have done this, you should have around eight to 12 milestones that cover the entire project. You should then sequence these milestones so that you have a high-level plan that flows from left to right with a timeline at the top.
4. Focus on the needs of your customer
It is important to remember that your goal is always to deliver exactly what your client needs and to add value to their company throughout the project. It can be easy to lose sight of this with everything else that is going on.
5. Don’t do everything on your own
Last but not least, one of the biggest mistakes that almost all project managers make is believing that they need to plan everything on their own. This could not be further from the truth. If you plan in isolation, you will cut yourself off from some of the best thinking from your team, and you will alienate yourself. Instead, planning with the team ensures that everyone is engaged and it motivates everyone to work together for the good of the project.
So there you have it – five top tips for anyone that has ended up in a project management role by accident. If you follow the advice that has been mentioned above, it will feel like you have had your sights set on being a project manager your entire life.