Give Me a Few Minutes, and I’ll Make You a Better Project Manager

May 13, 2021 3 min read
Give Me a Few Minutes, and I’ll Make You a Better Project Manager

Project management can be tough. But, it's not just about managing tasks. If you want to be a better project manager, it is time to focus on relationships.

Search for project management training, and you'll find many courses on the topic. The vast majority refer to PRINCE2 and PMP courses. A few more mention agile project management.

What’s more, most emphasize project management accreditation and project management tasks: project planning, risk management, reporting progress, controlling change, managing and escalating issues and suchlike.

Whilst I’d argue that these skills are important, I’d also say that they don’t guarantee success.

Why is this?

Because project management skills are typically task-oriented, yet projects inevitably involve people. Or, to put it another way, projects are also people-oriented.

Project Leadership Vs Project Management

When I think of a successful project manager, it’s not their qualifications that come to mind. Neither is it their mastery of Microsoft Project nor the quality of their progress reports.

It is their attitude and behaviour, and the way they influence project outcomes. The successful project leader has several distinctive qualities, including:

  • Enthusiasm, tenacity, and integrity.
  • A capacity to share an inspiring vision.
  • An ability to motivate the team.
  • Leading by example.

Here’s why…

Management involves these five basic activities:

  1. Setting objectives: Setting goals for the team and deciding what is done to achieve those goals.
  2. Organizing people: Dividing the work into manageable chunks and choosing the best people to do the work.
  3. Motivating and communicating: Communicating the goals and motivating the team to work effectively to accomplish those tasks.
  4. Measuring performance: Setting relevant targets, analysing and interpreting team performance.
  5. Developing people: Developing capability within the team.

So, management requires us to be rational and logical and to make use of certain skills and methods.

In contrast, leadership is not about the specific skills we possess, but about the way we approach our work and how we relate to others.

Quite simply, leadership is the part the manager plays in setting goals, making things happen, solving novel problems, and creating new realities. This is characterized by our behaviour and attitude.

Managing Projects Is Tough

Managing projects is tough and things will inevitably go awry: deadlines threatened or missed, quality compromised, and costs overrun.

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