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New Project Management Success: 10 Tips from an Industry Professional

5 Fundamental Soft Skills for Remote Project Managers

While you can't always guarantee project management success, you'll stand in good stead with some powerful tips. 

Having worked as one of MetaPM's Senior Project Managers for the last nine years, I have gained invaluable knowledge and professional hands-on experience, both technical and operational, from various industries. My current role as a Lead Project Manager for NBN, National Broadband Network, sees me shaping the introduction of nbn’s Business Satellites Services. Alongside our clients, I train and mentor a team of project managers at MetaPM, proudly sharing the wealth of knowledge I have accumulated over the years.

MetaPM was founded in 2006 by a group of management experts with a vision to provide project consulting services in the best way possible. In 2022, they joined MI-GSO | PCUBED, a world-leading PMO & Project Management Consulting group. 

In this article, I'd love to share some of my knowledge with new project managers eager to put their best foot forward.

#1 Teams That Collaborate Together Stay Together

In becoming a more collaborative project manager, the key is trying to listen to what each stakeholder expects. Then manage their expectations while keeping the right people involved at the right time.

Through effective collaboration, entire teams can work together with a clear picture, making the team more productive and aware of another's perspectives, needs, and timelines. It's all about ensuring that we understand their perspective and allow individuals to voice their opinions.

#2 Common Goals Increase Productivity

Projects thrive when everyone knows what they are doing. Similarly, productivity nose-dives when they don't. So it makes sense that setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals will help you complete tasks and successfully manage stakeholder expectations.

As a new project manager, work towards the following:

  • Create goals that are realistic and achievable - be specific
  • Split each goal into smaller actionable targets 
  • Allocate a timeline, again be realistic
  • And establish measurable metrics 

#3 Control the Scope

Successful project management ensures that a project's scope is accurately defined and mapped. It requires planning ahead of time, deciding on the right tools, and being active when monitoring and implementing changes.

As a new project manager, invest time in planning the project scope, start from the top level, and build downwards, working one level at a time––making sure all key stakeholders understand the breakdown.


#4 When Projects Turn to Lemons, Make Lemonade

There are many reasons a project might fail, where things fall apart along the way. So, as a new project manager, what should you do when projects with such great potential fail? Take it up a level.

Recently we saw a shortfall in implementing a new project management system with a client. Unequipped with the required knowledge, their internal users disengaged with the new system–a fail in my eyes. 

The next step saw directors review the outcome, realising that the tool had been created but had failed to meet the project's objectives. Guided to bring it up a level, they determined that it was about training their internal team and providing them with the skills to help them use the tools.

#5 Communication: Right Person, Right Outcome

Successful project management requires focusing your communication efforts on the essential stakeholders influencing project success at that given point. You need to talk to the right person for the right outcome. Taking this into consideration when communicating will eliminate irrelevant noise and keep you clear on the scope and away from concerns outside the project.

Likewise, remember to communicate in a manner the recipient is accustomed to, whether face-to-face, phone, or by email––learn which is appropriate for which conversation. For example, a face-to-face conversation is a perfect way to build a relationship, but conversely, it isn't necessary to schedule an appointment.

#6 Add a Buffer to Your Project Plans

Every project manager will inevitably find themselves caught between the hammer of limited resources and the anvil of project scope. Therefore successful project management comes down to having a budget with a contingency that allows room for error. Starting with scope, build from the ground-up. From there, be transparent and clear with your team.

#7 Difficult Stakeholders: Listen to Learn

When dealing with a problematic stakeholder, taking on the following two points is essential. Remember that not all stakeholders are equally interested in your project and might not always present their concerns constructively or with good intentions. 

Staying calm and listening to learn rather than speak will help you better understand their issues. Respond by repeating your understanding of their problem to them and allow them to clarify or confirm your interpretation. Once you know their problem, you can work with the stakeholder to resolve it.

#8 Be Approachable and Accessible

A leader, at any level, needs to be approachable. Why? If you're not, you will likely have slower access to timely information and lose personal and professional credibility.

Remember that successful project management thrives on open communication. You can encourage your team members to share ideas, suggestions, and concerns by giving them a forum to speak up.

#9 Build a Diverse Skill Set

Recent market impacts have seen industries undergo significant consolidation. The result is a need for well-versed project managers. Diversity across different industries is important if you want to be more marketable. Moreover experiences with different projects in a variety of sectors will broaden your knowledge base.

#10 Network: Start With What You Know

New project managers can become highly sought after if engaged with their industry and profession. It’s about laying a good foundation. I recommend completing formal project management training programs to achieve certifications and to build foundational knowledge for the role. Which in turn can be applied in real-world experiences and enable the application of industry best practices. Doing so keeps you updated on what is happening in the industry and profession and could also introduce you to your next big contract or client.

MetaPM Understand Collaborative Project Management

As you build successful project management skills, take these powerful tips on board. If you’ve got questions, please feel free to connect with me. 

When I started with the company, being challenged to learn and develop was a key marker for me, not to mention the company culture. I have been fortunate to find a position that delivers well above the job description and takes place in an environment that builds and nurtures relationships. If you are pursuing a career as a consultant, consider joining our dynamic network of project professionals at MetaPM.

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