Posted by Ariella Saucier on July 13, 2017
In previous posts, we’ve covered some of our top project management tools and skills of successful account managers. Today, I wanted to share a few quick top tips on how to “power up” your project management performance.
Get Really Clear
“Fuzzy” details are the downfall of many a project. You know you need to do something by some time…but you can’t really articulate what or when. A project with loose definitions and loose deadlines is one that’s doomed to fail. Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions and nail down the who, what, when, where and how. The answers might change over time, but at every step, you need to know the current expectations.
Other people involved in the project might forget to take a step back from their individual piece and look at the big picture, and that’s exactly where you can have a huge impact. As a project manager, you are your team’s guide, and having clear answers to the big questions will help make everything feel more comfortable – and help you keep an eye out for potential problems.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: communication is key. Clear expectations and transparent ownership sets the tone for not only your team, but also for your stakeholders. Consistent communication ensure that issues are addressed early and quickly. By acting as a liaison among and across teams, you create a smoother and more effective project flow. Open communication guarantees that everyone is working together towards the (same) established goal.
Truly looking ahead means more than just predicting future projects (yes, you know that you have an annual event every year), but actually anticipating the needs of those projects along the way. For example, we have clients who exhibit at the same trade shows each year. By paying attention to their schedule and tracking requests from previous years, we can predict what they’ll need and when, so deadlines are never missed.
…By Looking Back
Learning from the past helps you better position yourself to move forward intelligently. Learn typical turnaround times from colleagues or vendors, and pay attention to how long it takes to reach milestones. There’s nothing more impressive than correctly forecasting your stakeholder’s (or boss’) needs, especially when they’re busy working on another part of the project or business.
Don’t forget to nurture relationships not only with your clients or customers, but also with business colleagues, vendors, contractors, and even other businesses within your community. Part of nurturing those relationships is understanding their needs, position in their industry, and, most importantly, their goals. Then you can help them achieve their goals, whether they’re a paying customer, a partner or a vendor – and nothing builds relationships quite like getting a “win” together!
The bottom line: it’s all about being proactive. Don’t wait for a client, colleague or stakeholder to bring up issues – check in with them first and they’ll appreciate knowing that you’re paying attention to what they really need.