To have a successful project, you must do the following: (a) deliver on schedule, (b) make sure to stay within budget, and (c) focus on making the customer happy. Regardless of your project, you must develop a plan, identify the right people to participate, overcome conflict when it occurs, and meet the objectives.
As the project lead, you will encounter obstacles, some that you anticipate and others that surprise you altogether. To succeed, you must do whatever possible to anticipate potential risk events, and prevent them from occurring. Even one unforeseen risk can be catastrophic to your project.
As the project manager, you are ultimately accountable for the success of the project. While you will need funding from the sponsor and commitment from team members, you must ensure that the final deliverable meets the requirements promised to the customer.
#1: Stay focused on the project requirements.
Your company was hired to develop a sales training course for 250 sales associates. On Wednesday morning, your manager approaches you, and states the following: “Jack, we have a sales training program, but not one specifically for sales agents working the floor of an electronic shop. I need you to take what we have and customize it to meet the needs of this customer.”
You now have a project on your hands. You should immediately schedule a meeting with the customer to determine the exact requirements. It’s important to learn the final outcome. What is the goal of the program? In other words, you want to know the metrics by which the sales team is measured. Once you have this information, you can roll out the project based on the requirements.
#2: Make sure your team understands the plan. Share the vision.
When putting the team together, look for people who have the skills needed to create the training program, the availability to stick with the work, and a positive mental approach. As the project manager, it’s your job to communicate the expectations.
To experience success, create a rewards program. A monetary incentive approach might work, but non-financial rewards are effective, too. Regardless of your rewards system, make sure to praise excellent work, and look for opportunities to improve the knowledge of your team members.
#3: Avoid making excuses. Do the work!
You were not given the position of project manager so that you could point fingers when problems arise. You were hired to get things done. When a difficult situation arises, take a proactive approach and resolve it. If the departmental manager denies your request for a specialist, try to negotiate with this person. If the manager is stubborn, go to Plan B. In your contingency plan, you listed another resource that can step in and do the work. If an internal employee is unavailable, consider outsourcing the work. In short, project management is solutions-oriented and not focused on explaining why things failed to work.
Becoming an effective project manager requires talent, creativity, hard work, and most of all, persistence. You must continually step up to the plate and take your best swing. By being prepared and having the right people on your team, the chances of making your way around the bases safely improves significantly.