How Busy Is A Project Manager?
DON’T READ THIS PIECE if you are a successful Project Manager with a lot of free time thanks to all of your thriving projects going smoothly and as planned. You obviously don’t need our advice and probably do not exist.If you are a successful Project Manager with a lot of free time, you obviously don’t need our advice and probably do not exist. Click To Tweet
One of the signs of an actively developing company is its high level project management constantly facing numerous challenges at once. Negotiations with contractors, balancing resources between two concurrent activities, reporting to stakeholders, identifying business bottlenecks… These and many other tasks are what PM has to deal with daily. However, even though it is de jure their job, amount of challenges can sometimes get overwhelming.
Are you a project manager or a product manager deluged by works at hand? Or are you considering to take this interesting job and want to know the potential pitfalls in advance? Keep reading then, you will learn about the major challenges lurking on this road and how to avoid them! We also have a few handy tips by the end of the piece.
Long Road Ahead
First of all, it has to be said that specific challenges and problems that PMs face differ a lot and depend heavily on the nature of the business. Because of that, in this article we will solely concentrate on fundamental problems and their reasons.
- Defining goals in a clear and transparent manner. If not executed properly, team’s productivity suffers and a whole project is in danger. It is your duty as a PM to a) ask the right questions to make sure you understand the project’s goals, and b) communicate this understanding to your team from the outset.
- Building effective communication. You should provide direction on all steps of the project so that your team knows what’s expected of them. This boosts team’s morale and ensures everyone is on the same page.
- Having skills adequate for the project. It is common and absolutely understandable for a PM to lack certain knowledge or skills required for a project. It is okay as long as you are eager to identify such blank spots and fill them. Project management training or courses can help you determine lacking competencies and either obtain them or hire new staff possessing them.
- Imposing accountability. PM’s leadership qualities will only be useful and effective if each team member understands his role and takes responsibility for it. It is important to direct your team toward the common goal. Make them learn from their mistakes rather than avoid blame, and you will soon see your team members accepting their responsibilities willingly.
- Keeping scope creep at bay. The project scope is it’s parameters and restrictions, such as a budget. Scope creep occurs when a PM fails to weigh incoming project development ideas correctly and to disapprove them if needed. This can result in exceeding the budget, missing deadlines and overall retardation of the project. To avoid this, the PM must carefully define the project scope and then adhere to it.
- Proper risk management. Whether you’re leading a small startup team of 5 people or a huge product development with lots of departments, things rarely go according to plan. This is why it’s so important for a PM to know what can go wrong and plan for it. A huge aspect of risk management is identifying the business’ bottlenecks – most vulnerable and unstable parts. Another important part of risk management is building contingency plans for different scenarios.
A Few Shortcuts
So, you’re still there, despite reading about all the challenges and pitfalls of being a PM? Good, then you are ready to learn a couple hints that will make your project go a bit smoother, and your life – a bit easier.
Ask the right questions
Usually, your clients want the project or a product to be perfect and are eager to provide you with any information necessary. However, they usually are not professionals and cannot be expected to give you the correct and specific information at once.It is your job as a PM to ask the right questions and stick with customers until you get the right answers. Click To Tweet
Knowing the answers to these will ensure that you understand the essence of the project:
- Why are we doing this?
- What problem are we solving?
- Who makes the final decision?
- What is the budget?
- What are the deadlines?
Build a strategic roadmap
The need of having a strategic vision of a project seems self-explanatory at first, which is probably the reason why so many managers fail to actually utilize it. There is a helpful app called Roadmap Planner that will allow you to easily build a useful and practical roadmap. Strategic roadmap is basically a guide of how you are going to achieve your goals. Building a roadmap with this app is quite an easy task and doesn’t require much expertise. Strategic roadmap gives visual transparency to the timeline, helps finding bottlenecks, lets you identify concurrent activities or lack of resources. It’s a simple way to make sure your team is developing the right things in the right order.
There are always more tasks than there is time, and more ideas than there are resources. What you need to realize as quickly as possible is that it’s impossible to do everything, and it’s PM’s job to make difficult decisions. Sometimes you just need to release a product before you get to implement all those cool features you’ve come up with during brainstorm sessions.
High-level project management is definitely not an easy job. At the same time, it’s incredibly fun and allows you to develop an array of useful skills. We hope you found the information in this piece helpful and wish you luck with leading your projects to the top!