As we take on projects, we connect with many people to meet all kinds of requirements. Often I receive a question of how I’m able to manage all these different variables in the way that I do. So.. where does Project Management begin? Well, let me start by telling a short story about myself.
‘WIIFM’ I kept asking myself. So I’ll tell you… “What’s in it for YOU?”
Time and time again I find myself clearing up mess, tidying up the same things as the day before, organising the toys in the playroom for them to be all over the place again tomorrow, folding the piles of washing to wear them, wash them and fold them again, removing clean dishes to organise new ones in the dishwasher… do you know where I’m coming from? I ask myself the same question “why do I do it?”. But I know for sure if I didn’t, I simply couldn’t cope with it because it has to be done. Just like the need for a Project Manager.
So why am I telling you my story? I’m a Project Manager working for GEN-C dedicated to manage Salesforce Implementations. Project Management isn’t just about being organised, there is a whole theory behind being a successful project manager. That being said, let me share my side of the theory with you.
Top 5 characteristics of a successful Project Manager
One style simply cannot fit all, so the wearing of ‘many hats’ can be helpful when working with large groups of people on a project. To be an effective Project Manager you need to be able to control the chaos and deliver value at the same time. Fundamentally, Project Managers are there to oversee all aspects of a project and ensure that it is done well, on time and on budget.
I’ve narrowed Project Management down into five must-have skills and they all have one thing in common… can you guess what?
Converting Technical Language
A successful Project Manager needs to understand certain technical language and convert this into business language. So they can clearly communicate this to their customer without hesitation or fear of misunderstanding the detail required to manage their project(s). However, Project Managers do not need to have deep expertise in development build as such.They need to be effective in listening, understanding and driving conversations with their customers and stakeholders. If you are great at the above, you can effectively become the leader in any project and not the follower.
Listening is part of communication. It’s not always easy to sit back, be quiet and listen but this is a key skill for you to be effective in your job. It can often become a responsibility for a Project Manager to resolve conflicts, negotiate and deliver bad news in a constructive manner. How else could you possibly achieve this without truly understanding the situation?
Managing a single complex project is just as difficult as managing multiple projects. With deadlines looming there will be times where you need to encourage, inspire and support your team to do their best. These can come from coaching skills and to coach your team(s) you need to be able to communicate well with them.
The saying is true that there is no “I” in team. This skill is an absolute must for my top 5. There are so many effective outcomes and values in creating an open and collaborative environment for everybody involved in the project. Teamwork isn’t just essential with each-other but the partnership with our customers is a big part of the job. Being the gatekeeper between the internal teams and the external customer is a critical responsibility which requires good communication.
Being a detective
So it might sound like a strange skill to have but without it you won’t get much done. Project Managers always need to be focused with their eye on the ball. This means doing a bit of detective work. This includes: mitigating risks, planning ahead, uncovering threats, and so on.. . But in doing this we also need to seek new opportunities and better experiences for better outcomes.
In my experience how could you do all of this without…
What is communication?
the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.
Which medium you choose depends on what works best for your project team. However, in my experience, you will use multiple mediums. Because, as I mentioned earlier, you cannot wear the same hat for every person. Each person needs a different style or approach and that why communication is the most important aspect, skill role and responsibility as part of being a great Project Manager.
Without good, clear communication, people can be left confused, fearful, unsure of your abilities. Moreover, they can lose trust and respect in you. Everybody likes to know what’s going on, what they’re required to do and how they’re going to do it. Poor communication can have a negative impact on so many things and being the Project Manager it will all land on your doorstep to pick up.
With the technology we have at our fingertips, communication has become so much easier and practical, so take it in your stride and try not to get it wrong.
How can you be effective at Project Management?
So I asked you at the beginning “What’s in it for you?”.
I started with my organising skills at home, shared my theory about project management, explained my top five skills for a successful project manager and included what they all have in common: communication. This is my most critical advice to you when your goal is to be an effective Project Manager to deliver projects on-time, on budget and exceeding results to deliver value for your customers.
Combined with my top 5 characteristics of an effective Project Manager, you’re well on your way to be a rockstar at project management!
At GEN-C, integrity and excellence are a few of our key-drivers. Therefore, we aim to deliver high-value Salesforce.com projects with highly skilled project managers. Curious about what we can do for you? Don’t hesitate to contact us or join us at our booth during the Salesforce Dreamforce to You event in Belgium!