The funny thing about information is that even though we may read it once or twice, it is quite different to apply it. Even so, have you ever read about others Professional Project Manager’s mistakes in project management only to make a similar mistake yourself? What am I getting at here? Knowing and understanding are two very different things. And let’s face it; as humans, we can be forgetful or very set in our ways. So, in an effort to touch on some key topics that many may forget (myself included), here are some quick tips in PM (feel free to read over and over again, and make practices to apply daily).
Tip 1: The customer wants a working end-result. Communicate with the customer frequently and clearly to understand what the customer wants. Put communication down in soft or hard copy form if necessary.
Tip 2: Monitoring and controlling a project is of paramount importance for a successful project. Take immediate action to control your project and project outcome.
Tip 3: The right project team is your key success-factor in your project. Motivation to learn and the drive to get the job done is required of each team member.
Tip 4: In EPC projects, the engineering and procurement portion takes up the most time, is often underestimated and in order to get this part right the right personnel needs to be in place to take care of these trades.
Tip 5: The PM theory may be boring but it is important in order to have the right guidelines for your project and to stick to a proper process and structure.
Tip 6: The project plan is the most important document for the project manager. Monitoring actual vs. plan is the most important activity for the project manager.
Tip 7: The circumstances in projects can be difficult. Just deal with it since you are the project manager. As a project manager you need to have a high level of respond-ability to challenges.
Tip 8: To clarify the scope of the project based on the real requirements from the client is important. Get the scope baseline (WBS) understood and approved in writing by the client. Make sure verbal agreements are written down for both you and the client’s sake.
Tip 9: Stakeholder management is essential. Understanding the client with his concerns and finding solutions together works only when all people concerned can sit around the table and talk actively.
Tip 10: Balance your life. Health is of the essence for a strong project manager. It is all about staying healthy, which includes eating healthy food and participating regularly in exercise to stay fit. When your body is right, it is easier for your mind to be right. When your mind is right it is easier to keep your ego and emotions under control. When your ego and emotions are under control, respond-ability to challenges within the project is high and effective.
Tip 11: Lead your team. Close your eyes and visualize your project and its end result daily if only for a few minutes. I call it Visioneering. I do this to solve problems, to provide lead and guidance to the team to get the project done.
Tip 12: Use the right tools. Today’s world is changing a lot. Take a moment and think about what tools you could use and implement to simplify your processes in your project.
Tip 13 (my tip): Project management is all about collaboration. Find the online tools you need and modify them per project needs.
In summary, these are just a few tips to remember, apply and remember again. When information goes from being information to being daily practice, anyone can master their current vocation. One very important thing for a Professional Project Manager to remember is that you are hired for your ability to respond to challenges with little-to-no emotional reaction from your part. You are a PM, you will have challenges, and when you can see it as a challenge and not as the end of the world, you can more easily respond to the challenge with favorable outcomes.