Whether your formal title is Project Manager or you’ve naturally assumed the duties of a project manager as part of your current role, there are always ways to improve and become better at your job.
Unfortunately, most people procrastinate doing so.
It’s time to buck this trend and become a better project manager in 30 days or less, starting with these helpful tips:
Related Article: Which Team Member Are You? Identifying Your Project Management Style
Become a Better Project Manager Starting Now
As you know, project management has undergone dramatic growth over the past decade.
Thanks to an influx of new tools and the growing demand for real-time problem solving, current project managers are much different than their past counterparts.
If you want to modernize your efforts and become part of the evolving industry, then you need to heed the following advice.
1. Choose the Right Software
While it would be unfair to say that a project manager is only as good as the software they have access to, you know better than anyone else that there is some truth to this statement.
Good software can make your job a lot easier, whereas bad software can derail your efforts from the beginning.
If you’re currently working with an outdated solution, you can revolutionize your role by shopping around for a superior option.
Just make sure you know what you’re looking for. There’s a lot of misinformation out there and you need to reference multiple resources before making any decisions.
2. Never Stop Reading
Whether you’re a project manager or a poet, you can always learn more about your profession by reading. Whether that means picking a physical book or downloading an ebook to your tablet, you need to continually expose yourself to new ideas and strategies.
Related Article: The Best Project Management Tools to Boost Employee Performance
The good news is that there are a lot of great books out there for project managers looking to invest in continual education. Here are two worth considering:
- The Project Management Body of Knowledge. Often referred to in the industry as the PMBOK Guide, this book by the Project Management Institute is a must. Not only does it provide a common set of terms and language for you to use and implement in your organization, but it’s also a helpful tool for studying for the MPM certification exam. It’s not the most interesting read, but it has some very important content.
- Leadership in Project Management. Leadership is obviously a major component of project management, but it’s not discussed as much as it should be in the industry. This book by Mohit Arora and Haig Baronikian does a nice job of discussing ethical leadership and how it pertains to project management in particular.
There are plenty of other great books out there, so be sure to browse Amazon or head to your local library. It’s also important to note that you should be reading general business books, too, as they are helpful in understanding the bigger picture.
3. Adopt These Characteristics
“The more experienced project managers understand that if you don't get the people side of project management, it doesn't matter how good your methodology or your tools are,” says Fumi Kondo, the director of a management consulting firm.
“If you're not managing your users, sponsor or stakeholders, you could deliver on budget, but you might not meet their needs, and they'll say they're not satisfied.”
In other words, if you don’t have the right soft skills and personality, you aren’t going to go very far. Here are a few attributes worth adopting:
- Precise organization. While it seems obvious, organization is critically important to being a successful project manager. Make organization a habit in every aspect of your life and it’ll become natural in the workplace, too.
- Good communication. There is nothing more important in project management than facilitating good communication with those around you. If you don’t do anything else, focus on enhancing your communication skills.
- Very practical. If you aren’t careful, you can get bogged down in project management theories and technical practices. Unfortunately, these don’t always work in the real world. Good project managers are pragmatic and understand the importance of being practical.
If you can grasp the importance of these attributes, you’ll see a lot of growth in your career. However, if you suppress them, you’ll end up scrounging for the leftovers your peers leave behind.
4. Be Good at Taking Advice
The irony of advice is that we love to give it but we generally hate to accept it. While your job as a project manager is to give advice to those around you, try flipping roles and allowing yourself to be receptive to advice.
You’ll learn a lot about who you are and how you can improve by taking advice from those who know you best.
Related Article: 9 Most Effective Apps for Internal Communication
Focus on Improving Day-by-Day
In order to become a better project manager, take things day-by-day and step by step. Consider these suggestions and identify areas of improvement.
You’ll find that you can change a lot in just 30 days.