How to become the best project manager

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Achieving excellence in project management adds tremendous advantages to the individuals and the organisation as well as to the clients and stakeholders. 

The Golden Thread: Regional Picture, reveals the huge economic contribution of the project profession both within the UK as a whole and various regions. Mastering the project professional role will be essential to add further positive contribution to the economy. I’m going to give you the real deal and tell you from my perspective the skills you need to succeed as the best project manager.

In my previous blog, how stakeholders define the real success of projects, I explained that project managers should listen more actively to their stakeholders to provide real benefits to the organisation and succeed in their projects. Here I list three important and essential factors to help you become the best project manager:

The project factor: communication, communication and communication

One of the most important tasks of a project manager is to master communication, which includes how we speak. The rhythm, tone and voice can define success in communicating with stakeholders and projects teams, especially because the process of communicating with project teams will vary depending on culture, background and experiences.

The best project manager will know when to adapt and adjust their communication style with each individual and group to leverage maximum benefit to the project.

Mastering techniques in communication and developing a healthy blame free environment will help build the habit of dialogue, rather than argument or disengagement. The best project manager develops their communication and a series of protocols that deal with the different stages of conflict and an individual’s behaviours to save emotional energy.

The project management factor: flexibility, financial acumen and consistency

Being flexible is allowing and accepting change, understanding the team needs and project requirements, and adapting when necessary. When you change your mind and the plan, flexibility will help you keep the project on track.

Learning from the devastating outbreak of COVID-19 and the measures being taken globally to face this challenge, the best project manager needs to rethink the way to operate in terms of functions, people, systems and even geographies. Visiting sites may not be possible, so being flexible enough to use technology can be better in this situation.

Project managers should apply a broad understanding of financial management principles to ensure decisions are fiscally sound and responsible, monitoring the budget, forecast and cash flows on regular basis is essential for success.

No matter the changes, being consistent without being rigid in the project management approach is vital to become the best project manager. Never give up while working through changes and you’ll keep the schedule, budget and quality in the green zones.

The human factor: motivation, empathy and safety

The best project manager should be able to take advantage of every occasion and project milestone to celebrate. This helps motivate and reward project teams whilst providing success visibility to stakeholders.

Empathy and motivation help build strong stakeholder relationships and help you set the foundation to develop trust which is crucial to any relationship. And don’t forget safety.

Safety should be embedded in the teams DNA by enabling an inclusive culture so everyone feels safe. It also means working towards health and safety advice which comes from leading by example in each project meeting, site walk and other events.

These three factors and the skills they incorporate can help you understand different perspectives, but don’t over analyse and you’ll smoothly adapt from a good project manager to the best project manager. What do you do to be the best project manager?

Want to sharpen your project management skills? Visit APM Learning for interactive learning content that is quality assured and approved by APM. 

Image: Pormezz/Shutterstock.com

Emile Fakhoury

Posted by Emile Fakhoury on 6th Apr 2020

About the Author

Emile Fakhoury is a Project Manager Professional working in oil and gas and power generation industries.

Emile has worked in the energy sectors in USA, Europe and Middle East and speaks 3 languages Arabic, French and English and is keen to use his knowledge and experience to enable organisations to succeed in achieving their desired change outcomes.

Emile has a Master’s Degree in Energy Conversion and a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and is a member of the Faculty of Engineering Advisory Group at The British University in Dubai and also APM panel member.

Emile's current work involves delivering projects to the best level of safety, quality and delivery to exceed customer requirements.

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