Project manager

How to Become the Best IT Project Manager (you can be)

August 14, 2019

Just scored a new IT Project Manager job? Congratulations! It’s no secret that becoming an IT Project Manager means you have a stressful but rewarding time ahead of you and we have something to say on the topic. As a matter of fact, what we are about to say is so common sense that it almost feels superfluous. But then again, it’s surprising how often exactly our common sense advice is the stumbling block that prevents a project from resulting in the successful outcome it might have had.  

So, we’ll go ahead and say it anyway:

‘Good planning is the pillar stone to a successful outcome of your project’.  

This may cause a massive eye-role on your part, but we suggest you continue reading, anyway. After all, it’s these couple of basic tips that will help you become the best new IT Project Manager you can be. 

Establish your to-do list. 

Coming up with a detailed list of all the things you need to do is where it all starts. The last thing you need is to get midway through a project and realise you missed a step. Brainstorm, go through a previous project and jot down every single little thing that needs doing, big or small.  

Work out a timeline: when do things need to start, when do they need to finish, and how long do you expect them to take? You want to be specific. Will it be days? Hours? And do you expect someone to spend their full 40 hours on it? Keep revisiting this stage over the course of the entire project because a wise project manager knows that planning is its own meta task.  

Assign according to skill sets/give people the jobs they want. 

When assigning out all various tasks to your team, maximal efficiency is the word that will make the management team smile. A large part of that comes down to who is doing what at each stage of the project. Make sure you’re aware of all skill sets and assets available to you and ensure the right person to the right job within the assigned timeframe… or earlier.

And then you’ll have some tasks a bunch of people could do. For these, take some time to figure out what your team enjoys/wants to do. Someone who cares about a task assigned to them will get it done far faster than someone who doesn’t, which saves you time. 

Get the whole team on board 

Make sure you explain your vision to your team. It’s not just about telling everyone what to do.  It’s about explaining how and why things are as they are. Make sure your team feels like they understand the plan, not just their role within it. We all know that the chain is only as good as its weakest link.

Manage time, manage change 

We kind of mentioned it earlier, plans not only can change; they will change… frequently. This is just the name of the game. All it takes is a delay in a form submission, someone calls in sick, the client delaying a stage,… The list is endless. Be ready for this. Build buffer time into all of your tasks and try to place as much flexibility in your critical path as possible.  

Don’t micro-manage  

And on a final note: Nothing will slow the project down and stress you out like micro-managing will.  Once you’ve got the whole thing planned out, and you’ve got people assigned to tasks, it’s time for you to step back. Focus on the work you set for yourself, and eagle eye any deviations from the plan. 

Simple as it sounds, the above is your project management map to success. No plan is without its setbacks, but using these steps will help you navigate all the potential potholes as painlessly as possible.  

Now go and nail that new job.