How to be a successful IT project manager

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A project manager is the train engine that moves the organization forward. Though this sounds logical, there are loads of underwater rocks which prevent PM from taking the most out of the team and completing projects in time. In many companies project managers act like jugglers who are juggling everything starting from team members and finishing with project deadlines.

First of all, let's see what the main responsibilities of a project manager are:

  • Create and lead a dream team
  • Set deadlines
  • Manage project progress
  • Generate ideas and plan new projects
  • Solve issues
  • Communicate with stakeholders
  • Manage project budgets

As you can see this is the list of very responsible tasks which managers cope with on a daily basis. At the same time there is a wide range of obstacles and challenges which PMs face while doing their job:

  • Poor communication
  • Lack of collaboration
  • Budgeting issues
  • Unclear goals and success criteria
  • Unrealistic deadlines
  • Lack of accountability
  • Low engagement level of stakeholders
  • Inadequate skills of team members
  • Poor risk management

In our blog post we will describe the most helpful strategies for dealing with these challenges and will provide useful recommendations for becoming a successful project manager.

Effective communication is the highest priority for IT project managers

According to Wellingtone report 54% of project management professionals say they lack effective collaboration technology. Due to this fact they waste a lot of time on solving misunderstanding issues and collating project status information.

To solve these issues organizations start using collaboration software which significantly improves communication and collaboration level among employees. In fact, 71% of project management professionals say their organizations' use of collaboration software has increased over the past 12 months according to 2022 Project Management Survey.

There are various communication and collaboration tools available on the market. However, Virola corporate messenger can become a great solution for IT project managers. It supports the following features which help to keep information in one place and always at fingertips:

  • Communication in private and group chat rooms
  • Kanban board
  • Task management
  • Task and issues tracking
  • An ability to create issues from messages
  • Meetings calendar
  • Audio and video meetings
  • Unlimited files sharing
  • Communication channels for different teams
  • Search in conversations and among attachments

If you want to improve collaboration and communication level, you can try free corporate messenger to see how it works for your team.

While working on projects you can do the following to establish effective communication with team members:

  • Hold regular meetings with your team to ensure everyone is on the same wavelength.
  • Communicate regularly with stakeholders to keep them updated regarding project progress.
  • Organize regular brainstorms with your team to have more ideas for the project development.

Set clear goals

It is important for any project manager to set the right goals and milestones to complete projects and meet stakeholder expectations. When the goals are unclear this significantly impacts productivity and makes it impossible to set the right deadlines. While setting your goals you need to make sure:

  • They are realistic
  • They meet the deadline
  • They can be easily measured
  • They are clear for your team

Once after setting the goals you can use project management tools, such as Kandan boards to track the progress and assign tasks.

Develop excellent communication and problem-solving skills

Communication is the most important skill for project managers to develop. Regular meetings and conferences are an essential part of the project managers' workflow. Thus, each project manager should possess excellent communication skills.

While working on projects PMs face various challenges and as a result need to solve multiple issues to ensure they meet the deadline and all stakeholders are satisfied. For this they require excellent problem-solving skills. It is important to make sure everyone is satisfied, get a feedback and handle all complaints whenever they arise.

Use the right tools to monitor progress

The right software for project management will help you track the progress of the tasks. Nothing will slip through the cracks since everyone sees what needs to be done. For this purpose, you need to choose not only convenient and easy-to-use project management software, but also the one your team will trust.

There are many project management tools available on the market today. Each comes with different features, functions, and prices. Some of them will work great for agile projects, while others are more suitable for waterfall projects. Some are simpler and more user-friendly, while others are more complex.

Your task is to choose the right tool which will match your project size, type, complexity and budget. At the same time, you need to pay attention to security and make sure your project information will be kept protected and will not leak.

Create motivation that drives your team

Sometimes it is not enough to equip your team with the right tools to keep them productive. What they require is the right motivation which will drive them forward. To have a happy and productive team which successfully copes with a heavy load and other demands you need to encourage them and motivate. Of course, you cannot motivate each team member individually. Still, you can use these tips to increase the overall motivation level:

  • Keep the communication between team members transparent and easily accessible.
  • Assist them with the issues they face.
  • Set up regular meetings where your team members can express their points of view, share their concerns or just talk about their issues.

Be a leading example

Leading by example is one of the most effective methods to motivate your team. This is not just about saying "Do as I do", this is about encouraging everyone to be their authentic self. It's also about showing your team how to stay positive, be honest and work hard. You need to be accountable for your actions, keep learning and empower others to take charge of what they do. Together you can celebrate success and learn from mistakes, create a positive and healthy working environment.