Develop the Mindset to Manage Projects Effectively

With so much expected in the workplace these days, forward-thinking project managers must focus on honing their ability and mindset to prioritise, manage time effectively and multi-task. Yet sometimes even this isn’t enough.

In this blog, we share tips to stay ahead of the game and develop the right mindset to be the best project manager you possibly can!

Identify risks

Typically, identifying and planning for risks is a mindset that has to be learnt. Sometimes we are so concerned with getting ‘the pieces to fit’ perfectly that pausing even for a moment to consider what might go wrong rarely enters our minds. Until of course the worst happens!

Yes, it’s important to have the perfect plan, with great time frames, clear objectives and a healthy dollop of motivation. Yet to be a great project manager it’s also essential to include a generous allowance of time for those things that could go wrong.

Positive young African American lady holding light bulb in hand on gray background
Develop a risk-focused mindset

Get expert advice

Talk to those who have gone before you. Nothing can beat a great source of experience and information to help you get your head around the difficulties that may lie waiting.

Examples of great questions to ask:

  • “what should I expect?”
  • “where will the challenges be?”
  • “who can I speak to if this doesn’t happen?”

Great questions make genius happen, and more importantly, develop the mindset that is so important when managing projects.

Do an assessment

Set out a risk assessment and solution list. Take for example, an outdoor event of substantial size. The areas to consider will be staffing, logistics, attractions, equipment, vendors and suppliers – just don’t forget the weather!

Once you’ve done your assessment, make sure you have a backup plan for each of the areas listed. It’s like the Ghostbusters – who you gonna to call? And of course, make sure you then make these backup plans/people known to everyone.

Man Standing on Rock Against Clear Blue Sky
Carefully assess risk and create a good backup plan!

Review and improve

Review what went well what could go better next time. Having the debrief is essential for the closure of a project. Ensure all avenues are considered and reflected upon by each team member. Try asking the real questions that will help drill down to a better understanding of cost gained and lost.

Focus on the areas where process and performance could become more efficient, productive and profitable. Again, the questions you ask at this stage will help develop the all-important mindset for true success.

Conclusion

Developing a focused project mindset is the true pinnacle of being a great project manager, where others anticipate what you will need doing, and the word risk stays where it belongs – in a dictionary.

If you would like to learn more, take a look at our training for Introduction or Intermediate Project Managers.

 

What Does a Project Manager Do?

Project management is the process of delivering projects to a high standard on time and budget. But, it’s not as if every project goes to plan. Some go off-piste while others hit their mark and goals effortlessly. What’s the difference? Usually, the answer centres on the person in charge. An excellent project manager can work with tight time and money restraints and maintain their employees’ rates of productivity and output.

To learn more about how they do it and what makes a fantastic project manager, take a look at the key points underneath.

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What Does A Project Manager Do?

Primarily, a PM oversees a project and ensures it doesn’t go off track in the process. However, that’s the simple version. The role of the project manager has changed in the last decade, often for the better, which means it has become more complicated. Whereas old PMs used to work with vague directives, the strategy is more in-depth today. Not only is a project manager informed of specific targets, but they are involved in the strategy meeting in lots of businesses.

As a result of the boom of project management in recent years, PMs have become crucial cogs in the wheel of the industry. And, as technology and the economy continues to change in the future, the role is bound to become more complicated and valuable.

Main Tasks And Responsibilities

Because every project is different, there is no one-size-fits-all-policy regarding a project manager’s responsibilities. That’s why the best project management courses teach a varied range of skills that will come in handy in several situations and scenarios. Of course, there are general tasks that occur throughout most projects.

  • Create and log a plan: While directives are less vague now than they used to be, projects aren’t fully fleshed out and handed out to a manager. Therefore, the PM has a lot of independence regarding delivering outcomes, which means they have to craft and log a plan. This includes planning what work needs to be done, when, and by whom, as well as understanding the non-negotiable requirements.
  • Create a timeline: One thing that is almost always included is a deadline; clients have strict time restraints and want results by a specific date. To ensure this deadline is met, the PM will plot out the tasks. By doing this, it enables them to see what needs completing and when and the possible risks.
  • Manage the risks: Spotting the risks isn’t enough – a project manager has to manage them effectively. A prime example is going over budget. This is very dangerous as it means either asking the client for more money or using the company’s to cover costs, the latter of which is unacceptable. The PM, then, must track every expenditure, from materials to labour, and make changes in real-time to stop charges from building up.
  • Bring a team together: Firstly, the PM builds a team that they believe has the best skill set for the project. But, as necessary is the task of motivating the employees so that they maintain a high standard and level of output. To do this, they need an understanding of how people work and what drives them to succeed.
Man Looking at White Project Papers on the Wall
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What Skills Does A Project Manager Need?

Working with a broad range of people to hit targets that are always changing means the project manager must have an electric range of skills. Here are the most essential.

Leadership

The team must follow the leader to ensure goals are achieved. Inspiring others means using a variety of tactics to get the best out of people. Fantastic man managers know when to shout and when to be sympathetic.

Scheduling

Scheduling is a core value of project management as things change at a rapid pace. The ability to deal with glitches and put them right involves crafting a thorough schedule from the beginning. That way, there is a foundation, a reference point, to rely on in a crisis.

Critical Thinking

As the leader, no one is going to make decisions on a manager’s behalf. Critical thinking allows a PM to weigh up the pros and cons come to an informed conclusion. The greatest can react in a matter of minutes.

Communication

Without the ability to explain their strategy, a project manager can’t rally the troops. No will understand their job and how to complete tasks effectively.

Project Managers

The most famous project manager at the moment is Sundar Pichai, the new CEO of Google. However, they come in all shapes and sizes. Check out this excellent post to find out more about project managers and their mentality, and to build your skills consider attending our Project Manager Training London