Effective project management requires a particular set of skills to achieve. And yet some of these qualities can change, either as a result of the influence of technologies or broader societal trends.
Understanding what you need to do to steward projects successfully in 2022 is not always easy, so here are six strategies to pursue in light of this.
Give people the right incentives
Incentives can be purely financial, although this is not usually an impactful tactic. It is better to instead set down attainable goals and empower individuals with the tools and autonomy they need to achieve them together.
Appreciate the processes involved
Well-run projects require a number of different processes to operate in unison. As a manager, you should be well versed in the various procedures and workflows that are part and parcel of the overarching project ecosystem.
From determining hierarchies within a team to dealing with the delegation of duties, and even giving feedback, your task is to gain an appreciation for each process, ensure they run smoothly and fix issues if they become apparent.
Sometimes that means removing processes if they are obviously unnecessary, especially in the case of smaller scale projects.
Set realistic expectations
If you over-promise at the start of a project and then under-deliver in the long term, this will be far worse than if you are honest up front about what you can achieve and therefore have to refuse certain requests.
The same applies at whatever stage a project reaches. Be realistic about what you can do with the resources at your disposal, and if this means saying no in certain scenarios, so be it.
Use data to your advantage
In terms of actually making decisions, setting deadlines and adjusting expectations, you don’t just have to rely on guesswork or intuition.
There are ample data sources to help you plan and run projects, as well as project management tools which can extrapolate data and let you learn from what it tells you about team performance.
The things you learn from past projects can inform the path you take in the future, and if you have hard data to hand, it can also help you prove any points you make to colleagues in other departments or clients.
Be proactive in your approach to project management
Taking a back seat when you are responsible for running business projects is not helpful. Be proactive, rather than reactive, and have the confidence to make the tricky decisions which will inevitably arise as progress is made.
Once again it is rigorous planning that can assist you here. If you have identified pain points ahead of time, you will be better equipped to overcome them, rather than being blindsided.
Get your priorities straight
Managers have to be capable of prioritizing the right tasks in order to keep the wheels of a project turning.
This can be tricky if there are a lot of discrete duties to wrangle, and a large number of team members to shepherd in this context.
Luckily it is fairly straightforward to rank tasks according to a combination of their importance and their urgency. The more important and urgent a task, the higher up the list of priorities it should sit.
This feeds into the aforementioned ability to delegate to team members and trust them to work autonomously, without needing to be micromanaged every step of the way.