Getting the Job Done: How to Be a Good Project Manager


Did you know that companies often find that their projects fail at a rate of 70 percent?

While this might sound surprising, it makes sense when you think about all the ways project management can go wrong. As a project manager professional, you have to frequently work to keep team members on track and ensure the project finishes on time and within budget.

Knowing these eight tips can show you how to be a good project manager professional and complete more projects successfully.


1. Set Clear Expectations for Your Team

If you want an easy way to be a better project manager, start with giving your team clear expectations.

Not only should you explain each deliverable that the project will create, but you should also go down to the task level. Your team should know each process you expect them to follow for each task. They should also have a clear timeline and understand project and task risks.

Further, you should give each team member a clear description of their duties on the project team. They should know who they'll work with and when and how they'll provide work updates. All of this will make your job as a project manager easier!


2. Think Through Potential Project Issues Early

As a project manager, you make assumptions about the project so that you can come up with a plan for tackling it. For example, you might assume that you'll get the funds needed on time and that your team members will work productively.

But no matter how well you plan, project issues usually do still occur.

So if you want to know how to be the best project manager, know that you need to closely examine every aspect of the project to find any potential risk. When you do, jot down some potential solutions or go ahead and add some leeway into your project schedule.


3. Know How to Motivate Your Team

Being a good project manager requires relating to your team and showing them respect and appreciation. After all, you count on them to do quality work and to meet your schedules.

To help motivate your team, develop a good relationship with each member. Learn about their preferences, weaknesses, and strengths. You can then assign them tasks that they'll excel at and provide appropriate development when needed.

At the same time, reward your team for good performance, even if it's just one tough task they have completed. When things get hard, your team will be less likely to let you down since they'll know you genuinely appreciate them.


4. Closely Track Progress

If you're like most project managers, you probably find staying on top of project timelines as a stressful part of the role. From monitoring team assignments to adjusting your schedule and budget, you can really have your hands full.

Having clear milestones and goals set from the start can help prevent headaches. But you also need to make sure you check in with your team members often to learn about any slowdowns or problems happening.

You also need to monitor deadlines carefully since many tasks likely depend on each other. Using project management software can make it much easier to track and adjust your project schedule and determine potential solutions.


5. Streamline the Project Workflow

As a project manager, you want to make your team members' jobs as easy as possible so they can deliver your work on time and within budget.

A messy project workflow will slow things down and cause frustration. So, take some time to streamline the project workflow to be a better project manager.

It helps to look at past project performance and to meet with your team members to ask for their input. Once you spot issues that slowed down projects in the past or caused conflicts with team members, you can start coming up with remedies. 

For example, you might find that poor communication led to a project's failure or that team members wasted time on nonessential tasks. You can then look into making a solid communication plan or automating repetitive work.


6. Always Collaborate With Your Team

While you have the job to lead your project team to success, remember that your team members can provide a lot of help that leads to project success.

Don't hesitate to brainstorm ideas with them and ask for their opinions. When you get the input of your whole team, you might find solutions to your project problems you'd never think of yourself.


7. Take Advantage of Project Management Tools

Project management tools like dashboards, timesheets, team managers, and project trackers can help you be a better project manager.

Not only can they save you time and help you with organization. Some software can even offer intelligent solutions using your project's data.

For example, you can find tools that spot alternative paths in your project in case you face delays. You can also find tools that help you with budgeting, sharing project documents, and delegating tasks with your team members.


8. Know When to Seek Outside Help

Even if you're a great project manager, sometimes you just need some extra help. Perhaps you need to get a failing project back on track immediately, or maybe you need help managing outside vendors.

Hiring a project management consultant can offer additional expertise in general project management or a specialization.

For example, you can find consultants who can help you manage resources or help with organizational change. Some will even mentor you on how to become a better project manager.


Now You Know How to Be a Good Project Manager

Being a good project manager takes a lot of work, practice, and experience. So don't feel discouraged if you're newer to the PMP role and don't feel like an expert yet.

Start implementing these tips for your next project to help yourself, your team, and your company as a PM. Also, document any lessons you learn from your work since you can often apply those to future projects and reduce the failure rate.

Now that you've learned how to be a good project manager, go check out our other posts for more project management professional tips. Visit the Startups and Careers sections of the Bootstrap Business Blog right now for more insight on project management and career growth.

Bootstrap Business Blog Newest Posts From Mike Schiemer, Partners, & Blog Outreach Services