Project management is a delicate venture that requires significant experience and a specific set of skills. Many professionals grow into the role because it takes time to truly flourish and understand the intricacies of the task.
That’s not to say that new project managers are completely unprepared to handle their responsibilities. In many cases, inexperienced supervisors know what their employers and clients expect of them, but have trouble truly thriving because they’re just finding their footing.
There are a few basics that every project manager should understand, especially when they’re taking on their first projects. Additionally, some veterans may need a refresher course in order to keep their skills sharp.
In an article for the Project Management Institute, Anele Ncube argued that everyone should review the basics before implementing cutting-edge techniques. She notes that there’s no point in using a new strategy when it’s difficult to consistently capitalize on easy solutions.
Anele points out that musicians and athletes routinely emphasize the importance of sticking with the fundamentals and that project managers should use that same approach. Below is a look at the core lessons that every project should have learned on day one.
The importance of risk management
A large component of project management is identifying risks. The ultimate objective is to flag any potential issues that will hamstring a team as it works to progress through an assignment. The issues can range from the simple to highly technical.
Without risk management skills, supervisors likely won’t be able to help their staff succeed in both the short and long run. The ability to find risks and minimize them is essential because it ensures that projects can be completed on time and meet client expectations.
Perhaps most important to note about this task is that managers can’t completely eliminate risks. There will always be challenges and issues that threaten to derail production. Whether it’s limited staffing or lack of subject-matter expertise, risks are constantly present. Minimizing them is how the best project managers, from rookies to veterans, deal with them.
How factors are linked
According to an article that Anele wrote for the Chronicle of Higher Education, projects managers should understand how quality, time and costs are related. All three of these factors are inextricably linked, making it impossible to change one without affecting the others.
At the beginning of every project, a budget and timetable are created. These are the parameters between which team members have to work and the ultimate quality of a project depends on sufficient funding for resources and adequate time to produce an excellent result. When there isn’t enough time or capital, quality usually takes a hit.
For project managers, this means that they have to understand how to optimize these three factors. By adjusting these elements, leaders can ensure that their employees have everything they need to do strong work that will keep clients highly satisfied.
The intricacies of personnel management
Finally, project managers must have outstanding people skills. Leading and monitoring a staff aren’t exact sciences, but they are necessities for ensuring that assignments are on track and that every employee is giving his or her best effort.
Staff members are the most important resources that every supervisor has. Without a strong group of contributors, it’d be impossible for projects to be finished at all, let alone on time or under budget.
That’s why project managers need to know how to connect with their employees and help them flourish professionally. Giving workers the tools that they need to develop their own skills while progressing through a project is an intricate component of project management.