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Top 10 Tips for Creating Successful Project Managers

Top 10 Tips for Creating Successful Project Managers

Dr. Kandis Y. Boyd Wyatt, APUS Professor
Top 10 Tips for Creating Successful Project Managers
By Dr. Kandis Y. Boyd Wyatt, PMP, professor at American Public University.

Project managers (PMs) are often considered the real leaders for a project. They manage not only the resources but also the people who comprise the team. Most companies try to spread resources around, and PMs are no different.

Related link: Learn more about APU’s Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Business Administration, which include the new concentration in DoD Project Management.

ICPM’s Tom Mochal says, “Project management typically accounts for 15% of a project’s effort hours. In other words, if a project is estimated to take 1,000 hours of effort, you should add 150 hours for project management. Some companies allocate 10% of hours to project management, while others allocate up to 20%—but 15% is a reasonable rule of thumb.”

Data supports the notion that project managers should focus on people to create productive teams. Successful PMs use 15% of their time to build trust and focus on managing people. The key to building trust is asking questions and realizing that no one has 100% of the answers. Sustained trust comes from helping, serving and mentoring others. PMs do more than lead, they create meaningful purpose and turn it into a powerful source for creative projects.

My Top 10 Tips for Project Managers
Celebrity therapist and author Maria Peers highlights what a great boss looks like through the eyes of a team member. I’ve added my thoughts on how this can pertain specifically to successful PM endeavors:
  1. Being different is an asset. No two teams will be the same, so the PM should approach each project with an open mind and open expectations.
  2. Rejection is a part of the journey. There will be failures, so get ready. Rejection makes you stronger by propelling you forward.
  3. Constructive criticism is helpful. Criticism is good when constructive; destructive criticism only moves you backward. The key is to know the difference.
  4. We live in a humble society, so it’s hard to tell people to praise themselves. Are you kind, nice, helpful or successful? Those qualities are positive attributes that every PM team needs.
  5. Confidence breeds confidence. Teams are attracted to people that can make positive contributions to the group. Respect is a team requirement which is received only after you give it.
  6. Emotion wins over logic. PM teams usually focus on the tangible product, so this epiphany can help teams reach consensus by using emotion not logic.
  7. What gets monitored is what gets done. In some ways, instantaneous judgment is a fight or flight reflex. But beyond that, know the importance of being worthy of attention.
  8. Do what you hate first. There are all types of conversations, work products and activities that are not pleasant. Taking time to get them out of the way is important. Over time, it becomes natural to handle the unnatural or unpleasant first.
  9. Know that you are enough. All team members have flaws, and if you concentrate on the flaws you’ll never get anything done.
  10. Feelings are real and should not be swept under the rug, or they will continue to manifest themselves, many times in unfavorable ways.

Project managers who tap into the team’s potential can sidestep the roadblocks and place a team on the superhighway to success. Influence is a two-way street, and successful PMs allow team members to influence business ideas or actions.