Expert Panel

Focus on these things to succeed in Project Management

Communication Essentials For Project Managers


Manage your risks in advance.

As Project Manager you will be responsible for securing resources, which means negotiating contracts with many external and internal groups. Make sure you take the time to write the scope of work for each contractor with the amount of detail necessary to ensure the work gets done according to your schedule and criteria. Include exit clauses and penalties if the scope is not met to your satisfaction.


Communicate early and often.

Typically there are several stakeholders in a project including those you report to and those reporting to you. Communicate your plan from the beginning of the project. Set expectations and keep everyone informed as to the milestones, status, lessons learned, and budget to actual. It is your job to ensure everyone’s interests are aligned at all times.


Utilize the PMP skill set.

If you have not already received your Project Management Professional Certification, put your plan in place to understand the principles, using them in your everyday transactions and working toward certification. It is not only a self-improvement activity, but fundamental real-world tools to help you become better at your job including time management, project charting, organizational and communication tools, etc.…


Identify what is important to achieving success.

Take the time to identify and agree to the scope of the project with all stakeholders prior to defining your resources, timeline or budget. Ensure that objectives are clear and attainable and everyone shares the definition of what is important. By doing this you will be better able to adapt when needed throughout the project timeline while maintaining the integrity of the project.


Understand financing and budgeting.

You are not only responsible for managing the project budget, but most likely you are responsible for planning it, funding it, tracking it and reporting on costs and profitability. If you do not have a background in accounting or finance, you should take the time to understand these processes as they pertain to your project and the company you are working for. You can do this by taking courses in project finance, accounting & project management, investigating project management software, and reading books on the subject, all of which you can find on ManagingAmericans.com. You can also sit down with your accounting or finance departments and have them guide you through the process that they would like to see. A hybrid approach to learning will ensure you provide what is needed for others along with the tools you need to manage the project most effectively.


Own the schedule.

It is your responsibility to create and manage the schedule. With so many elements to consider, flexibility and schedule optimization is imperative to your success of ultimately meeting the deadline for the project. Be prepared and stay on top of each and every element of the project.  By doing this you can make changes, and shift timelines within your master plan. Utilize project management software, making your schedule visual; this will help you to communicate and track activities with your project team. Always track the actual dates compared to your initial plan for the project. Keep track of milestones throughout the project. This will give you a chance to modify dates to accomplish intermediate deadlines, rather than shifting the end deadline for the project. If something did not happen as planned, conduct a “lessons learned” review with your team.  Understand what when wrong, and how to avoid it happening at any other stage of the project. Always keep your visual project timeline updated and review it often with your team. Establishing a regular review such as once a week is a good way to keep up momentum for your project.


Written by Lisa Woods,
President, ManagingAmericans.com


Have you ever used the Agile Method for Project Management