One secret of being a project manager – you need to good at role playing! Quite often a successful project manager is playing 6 critical roles in the organization. What are they ?
As a project manager, the 1st job you have is to get shit done. You are not necessarily the one to do all the tasks. However, you are certainly the one responsible for making sure the tasks are completed in a timely fashion and the project moves forward according to plan.
Time line, Gantt Chart, Sprint, Milestones, Team board…No matter what your tracking mechanism is, you need to do a good job of tracking timeline. This roles applied from tracking program timing to daily project progress. In a grand scheme of things, a project is a bunch of deliverables created over a period of time. Timing is crucial for the project success.
A good project manager needs a strong sense of finance. Monitoring the financial performance is the project manager’s job. Why is monitoring financials so important? From an business perspective, a project is a commitment of a deliverable exchange for payment. The end goal is to make money. There are a lot of factors can affect financial performance, therefore financial review is something I recommend project manager do weekly. There are a lot of digital tools out there can help make the project manager’s job easier, such as: dashboards, project portfolio graphs, Mondays.com.
We have covered the “Hard skills”, now moving onto the “soft skills”. During a project, it it key that the project team are all pulling together. When conflicts occurs, the project manager must resolve conflict and resume collaboration between team players. During team building activities we often hear: “we are a team”, “This is team work”,” we can do this!”. Where does these quotes come from? The project manager! now you see why I say the project manager needs to play the cheer leader from time to time.
Projects all have their challenges no matter if they are technical or commercial. Project teams quite often have to walk the extra mile to resolve problems and get to the finish line. In an organization of hundreds of projects, how can one project get noticed by their executives? That is the project manager doing a good PR work. I am not suggesting that project managers should getting undeserved attention in order to get career advantages. But the attention and appreciation is needed for the team members moral. How the project manager communicates the achievements of the team are pivotal to whether or not the project makes it to the star list. If the team is doing a good job, it is project manager’s PR role to get them noticed, appreciated and recognized!
The most critical soft skill for a project manager is negotiation. Negotiation is not only for sales and purchasing. Everyone is living in negotiation everyday. No matter if it is about your job or with your children. Project managers apply this skill when they are in conflict with the team or client. Scope change, rejection of deliverables, project delay…all of those are topics that project manager needs to negotiate with the customer and technical team in order to reach agreement. The negotiation is often 3 dimensions: project manager, internal management, customer. Being in the middle of customer and management, you need to sharpen your negotiation skills to stay ahead!