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The Project Manager’s New Year’s Resolutions

For many, with a new year comes a renewed sense of purpose and a fresh new outlook on life with many of us swearing off old habits, focusing on improving ourselves both personally and professionally. I thought I’d put out some new year’s resolutions for the project managers out there.

Fix Problems Before They Become Problems

We’ve all been there. Seeing a glimpse of a possible issue and not giving it a second thought until it becomes a major problem for your project. It’s easy to lose focus of little details that can become big deals if left unattended. Constant vigilance and open communications with all stakeholders are key to keeping the small issues from becoming big problems.

Read Your Team

A lot of project managers do things “by the book”, often ignoring their soft-skills or even their own intuition in terms of being able to really understand their teams. Knowing the personality traits of your team members is a vitally important skill to have, not only as a project manager but any kind of leader. You need to have your finger on the pulse of your team (individual and collective), feeling out any senses of stress, anxiety or frustration. They are the ones who are doing the heavy lifting and you are (or at least should be) their primary source of support through the project.

Know Your Stakeholders

So many project managers who are new to organizations inevitably end up miscommunicating with stakeholders. Whether it’s not including specific individuals on project communications or flat out forgetting to engage them at all, mismanaging stakeholder communications and relationships is a sure-fire way to get your project into trouble. Your best bet? Strike up a RACI chart right out of the gates and continually monitor and revise as needed throughout your project. By having a playbook of who, what and how for project communications you’ll be able to ensure that all stakeholders are receiving the information they need to support your project.

Guard the Fence

So many projects suffer from scope creep. Whether it’s from a sponsor wanting additional scope into the project, a misunderstanding between the project team and the customer on what is truly in scope it’s the job of the project manager to make sure that the scope of the project remains intact. By following proper change management processes the project manager can make sure that sponsorship is fully aware of any scope changes and their potential impacts to the project (budget, schedule, risk) so that proper and educated decisions can be made.

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