Tips for Impromptu Project Managers

According to last year’s Project Management Institute report by 2027, employers will need 87.7 million people working in project management-oriented roles. Now is then perhaps the best time to consider getting a project management skill-set and make it part of your career. Or perhaps, you’re finding yourself already having to fill this role in your company, whether you’ve been prepared or not?
Below are some pointers to help you get started.

What you’ll need are either a shared calendar or a project management tool with built-in date following feature. It needs to be easy to use and accessible to all parties involved. The key here will be to have the ability to tune in to the workflow whenever and wherever you are — cloud storage and mobile access are a must. We recommend using Kanban Tool for every project!

The project schedule must name all events and items start & end dates, milestones, meeting times and deadlines. Make sure these are clearly visible to everyone.

Don’t assume this will organise itself — it won’t, and people will not know how nor whom to contact. Decide on communication rules and policies with the team — they need to know when and how they can get in touch and who deals with what aspects of the project. It’s not uncommon to also specify what grade of issues can and can’t be brought to a PM’s attention.

The above points are all best done while holding a project kick-off meeting. Also gives everyone a chance to meet their collaborators in person.

As project manager you need to learn to listen, observe and — most importantly — to ask the right questions to the right people: the more detailed, the more informative. Example — rather than asking: “Are you going to deliver XYZ on time?” — it’s better to ask: “How far off finishing are you and what is the biggest hurdle right now?” If you’ll only ask general questions, you’ll only get general answers and that is not what you want.

While on the subject of asking questions — always assume, that there is something the team is not telling you. Ask many questions, also when it seems unnecessary to do so.

Finally — don’t let the project overwhelm you — keep a healthy distance to all issues that are bound to come your way. Try to focus on actionable solutions, not on piling up problems.

Best of luck! Make sure to try Kanban Tool with your team, and check out the additional features, such as Recurring and Postponed Tasks that will make your job much easier.

The article was first published on the Kanban Tool Blog.

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Anna Majowska

Anna Majowska

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