How to Be a Good Project Manager

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Modern day companies are commonly set up in a group of small teams or departments that are responsible for meeting specific goals for the business. For example, many companies have a marketing team that works towards the goal of bringing in new business. Because of this new team-centered environment, it is important for prospective and current managers to understand the nuances of project management and how to guide, reward and monitor their team members.

Hold regular status meetings to communicate with your team. Involve your whole team in every decision that will have a major effect on the project.

Keep a written record that tracks the progress of the project. Break the schedule up into sections: the beginning steps where you establish who is responsible for what (and when), the middle steps that are required to implement plans, and the final steps to bring the project into completion. Define deadlines on this project management plan. Keep the schedule posted in a public place where all team members can see the progress of the project.

Keep your team updated regularly regarding the progress of the project. A weekly or twice weekly update via email or a group message board should be sufficient, depending on the length of the project. You don't want to inundate your team members with messages, but you want to make sure that they are informed.

Stay calm, don't panic, when issues arise. The way that you, the project manager, deal with problems will determine the mood and morale of your team members. Allow yourself some time to process a situation (a day or more if at all possible) before acting to resolve it. Consult with a third party or another manager before making a decision, because another perspective could shed more light on the situation.

Talk to your team members in an even-tempered, friendly tone that will help them understand your points without intimidating or alienating them. Reward and compliment them when they go above and beyond their requirements for the project.

Put yourself into the shoes of your team members before judging their performances. Take the time to speak with each member of your team to understand his personal and professional situation before admonishing the team member for dropping the ball on a project. While you want to be understanding, you also need to be firm--let your team members know that while you understand that personal issues arise, they need to remain committed to the project and notify you ahead of time if there is an unavoidable conflict.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't hang over the backs of your project team members and pressure them. Allow them time to do their parts for the project and then evaluate them on a weekly basis.

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