Those who know me will tell you I firmly believe a large percentage of our daily professional lives is allocated to managing projects.
Here are ten things GREAT project managers do differently.
1: Protect Organizational Resources.
Effective project managers protect the organization’s finances, time, equipment, and PEOPLE. This responsibility often overwhelms junior project managers newly placed in charge of project teams, but protecting organizational resources becomes infinitely more important as the world continues to change.
2: Own their calendar.
We all get the same amount of time to spend daily, and highly effective project managers are extraordinarily disciplined and ensure they use their time well.
Status reports, change requests, successes, failures, and more all drive the need for effective communication. Making it even more complex is that this communication has to occur 360 degrees across the organization to superiors, subordinates, team members, clients, and more.
4: Speak the truth.
Massively different from “communication,” – great project managers are forced to speak hard truths at times. Managing conflict, achieving objectives, putting the “good idea fairy” to bed, stopping unnecessary scope changes, and much more.
5: Manage change effectively
I’ve never been a part of a project without experiencing change. Even ensuring you’ve correctly initiated the project often fails to stop change from occurring. Many junior project managers fear and resent change and waste precious time fighting it.
6: Separate the wheat from the chaff
Projects are often complicated, and great project managers can succinctly separate the important from the non-important to prioritize those items needing immediate attention.
7: Embrace conflict (when necessary)
Conflict is an ugly word. To be blunt, I’ve seen conflict scare too many project managers. As a result, they waste unnecessary time and resources trying to prevent or hide it. When you have passionate and engaged team members fighting to achieve the outcomes you desire, trust me, conflict will occur. The good news is that conflict is more often productive than not, and it’s rarely fatal for a project.
8: Figure it out
This may hit a few of you hard, but too many of you like excuses and willingly accept failure. You see barriers and obstacles as more extensive than they are. Great project managers get things done. Period.
9: Understand its not about THEM
Great project managers willingly check their egos and focus instead on achieving the desired end-state. Ego has no place in project management. Once again, great project managers focus on achieving organizational outcomes while protecting resources throughout the project’s life.
I hate to say it, but I have to. Great project managers put in the work to win. They put their fingers to the keyboard, pick up the phone and make the (often tricky) calls. They adapt to change, they embrace the suck, and they work. They earn every penny of their paycheck because they GTD (Get Things Done).