3 Things Only Top Project Managers Do
A lot of good project managers follow the ‘best’ practices that are popular in their industry. Traditionally, this comes down to detailed project planning, budget and schedule monitoring, change management … you name it. But if these practices are so brilliant and following them as a routine should guarantee success, then why does the rate of project failures remain so high?
Here is the truth: sometimes doing “the best” is not enough. Just like academic excellence doesn’t guarantee success in life, the best practices don’t guarantee project success. So instead of mindlessly implementing one popular PM practice after another, think about what values you’re communicating and how they impact your project performance.
Here are 3 three values top project managers live by:
#1. Do what you say you’re going to do
This is a matter of integrity. Keeping your word is the most precious currency, so whenever you make commitments you have to take them seriously.
Some project managers say ‘yes’ to any request because ‘this is the only way to end a meeting quickly’ or because ‘they don’t want to damage relationships with stakeholders’. The problem is that you can handle only a certain number of ‘yes’.
- Track your commitments: When you start to track commitments, you make fewer of them and remember to deliver the ones you’ve already made.
- Create repeatable processes: Repeatable processes free up project team members to deliver promises. They also mean less waste and more efficiency.
- Instead ‘yes’ say ‘we can do that but here’s what it will take’: Remember nothing is free. Before accepting any request and making a commitment, explain to the stakeholders what you’ll have to do to satisfy the request.
#2. Do the right thing
Good managers do things right. Great managers do the right things.
When dealing with tasks, good managers force their team to do the job regardless of any obstacles. They are not interested in the bigger strategic picture – they focus on accomplishing the task.
Great managers, on the other hand, take a look at the bigger picture. They don’t do things just to do them. They focus on the strategic goals and do the right things that make a real difference.
#3. Communicate the good and the bad
Great communication is open and honest, and it’s never just what your client wants to hear. If there is bad news, don’t hide them hoping that they will go away.
Your sponsor is the first person you should reach when something goes wrong. And even though you bring bad news, you develop trust – nothing gives you more points than honest communication.
When you communicate transparently, you don’t only win ‘trust’ points, you also save the energy that many project managers spend on concealing the problem. Honesty is liberating. So instead of hiding the bad news, you focus team’s energy on solving the issue and delivering the project as promised.