Project Manager - What does it take to be the best?
The first thing I have to confess is that I do not know, because I’m not the best. However, I can tell you a few things you should know if you intend to .
I don’t know if it has happened to you that sometimes you feel a little frustrated, that the last projects you managed did not turn out very well, either because you did not fulfill the agreed dates or the quality of the code was not good, that the time is never enough or that resources are a bit problematic, the requirements are changing or the customers, difficult to manage.
The truth is that to be a good project manager you must know how to deal with these issues on a daily basis. If you are one of the good ones, this will not cause you stress or take you too long. I tell you here some tricks to achieve it.
At some point, I could not say exactly when it was, I found myself leading the projects of my consultant. It was not something I would have chosen, at least not consciously.
I don’t know if that was exactly your case, probably not, but the important thing is that at that time I was in a position where I did not know with certainty how to act before certain circumstances so typical of computer projects, like the ones I mentioned before. It took me years to learn (researching, reading, taking courses or with the classic method of trial and error) and become a good project manager, something that nowadays I enjoy very much.
The first thing I want to clarify is that all the projects are complicated, because the nature of the project itself is that. Obviously, there are better and worse ones. Without further ado, let’s go to the .
Some of these “tricks” are rather habits you should acquire if you do not already have them by nature, others consist on the use of methodologies or the rigorous application of proven project management processes.
1.- An organized and structured nature
2.- Make decisions without hesitation
3.- Have empathy and a good team management
This does not mean that you should be liked by everyone (in fact, a lot of people doesn’t like me, since I am sometimes too direct and transparent, I do not like to waste my time or beat around the bush). What it really means is that you must integrate with your team, lead it, but also understand and help it.
The customer wants the plan to be fulfilled in times and costs, the users want a system that make them feel that they helped to design it, the developers will be satisfied with a well done system and with being recognized for it.
There is no project that ends well with a poorly integrated or led team. I dare to say that 70% of the success of the project depends on the team that makes it up. You must generate a climate of trust within the entire team.
4.- Commitment of the project
You must commit yourself conscientiously to the project. Try to understand the costumer and what he really needs. Many times even he will not know, but your role is to help him discover it and then build that solution. Never lose sight of the objective of the project. Every decision you make should help to achieve it.
5.- Risk management
Most projects are born with a series of risks in the planning very typical of the nature of a software development project: user resistance to changes, lack of resources (diseases, rotation), immaturity of technology, little control of quality, to name just a few.
You have to take these issues very seriously and perform an efficient risk management of the project, which includes a contingency plan for each possible eventuality (at some point I will write an article that deals with this issue exclusively).
Once someone was asked: ‘How is it that the project was delayed 3 months?‘ The answer was: ‘day by day‘.
Do not let this be your case. Control the planning on a daily basis. If today you did not reach the estimated goals, do not assume that tomorrow you will recover the time. Reschedule immediately, analyze the incident that occurred and try to include it in the risk planning.
6.- Use the appropriate methodology for each project
7.- Control the costs of the project
If you find that being at a 50% of the project in terms of time, you came to develop 40% of the total functionality and spent 60% of the budget, you are in a big problem.
Include an efficient cost management as part of your routine. Do not wait until it’s too late to talk about it. The user often asks for features because he does not take into account the costs or directly ignores the impact of the change.
8.- Use adequate management tools
9.- Changes management
10.- Continuous training
Anyway, I hope these suggestions make you think about your current way of managing projects. Surely, you were not applying them all. If you do, I assure you that you will have much more free time to devote to what you want the most.