What are the top qualities of an effective project manager? From setting clear expectations to having a comprehensive project management solution, we know a thing or two about what transforms a person from an ordinary project manager into an effective project leader.
Being a project manager requires planning, organization and a strong dependency on the team, among other qualities. A project manager has to lean back and see the big picture, constantly re-assessing and making changes as needed in order to keep a project within scope. Sometimes this process runs smoothly and the project runs its course without a hiccup. Other times, a lot of maneuvering has to happen, tasks get reassigned and the budget needs adjusting. In order to help you become a better project manager, we’ll run through a few of the top qualities of an effective project manager below.
- Gather as much information about the project upfront as possible. Creating a detailed project scope that’s signed off on by the manager, the team and any stakeholders is critical to holding everyone accountable. The scope should include the budget, due dates, milestones, resources and any other pertinent information. Allow each team member to review their responsibilities to ensure they can meet these deadlines before promising deliverables.
- Set very clear expectations. Vague instructions and fuzzy due dates set everyone up for failure. Each resource should know exactly what they need to do and when they need to do it by. If one task depends on another, this should be very clear. Set up weekly check-ins with the team in order to keep everything on the right path and to step in and correct any confusion before it can spiral out of control and ruin the scope.
- Have a comprehensive project management solution in place. For many companies, team members may work off-site or even across the country. Having a platform that keeps every part of the project in one easy-to-access place allows the team to collaborate with one another while maintaining a clear view into how the project is moving along, making it easier to identify any potential problems as quickly as possible.
- Build in a buffer. Projects change. Workloads are impacted by other projects or clients change their minds. Projects are almost guaranteed to face some kind of adversity throughout their lifespan. That is why having that buffer built in is so important. Give your team a little extra time to complete tasks whenever possible. This isn’t to enable procrastination, but to prepare for things that may not go according to plan.
- Be a good leader. Being a good leader means you keep an open line of communication, are clear about your expectations, keep your team engaged and regularly check in on statuses – all without micromanaging. Keep your team motivated by acknowledging a job well done and when milestones are met. It’s easy to only step in when things go wrong, but showing appreciation when things go right can be very effective for team morale.
Of course, other qualities and methods also help with a project manager’s success, but keep these top five things in mind when setting up your next project for optimal results.