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When embarking on a new project, people or teams cannot predict the future and must accept the likelihood of unplanned events occurring. The acceptance that such events will occur is a necessary first step for project managers to achieve success regardless of unanticipated challenges.

This article covers three areas project managers must master in order to become effective managers.

Mastery over Time

Juggling cross-functional stakeholders, business requirements, suppliers and customers to achieve a planned outcome within a tight timeframe is a significant challenge. Great project managers need to effectively master time management.

Time is a reminder of the continuing progress of events in the past, present and future. To achieve mastery over time, a great PM needs to plan well in advance and be ready for different future scenarios.

While unplanned scenarios might still occur, a solid plan will assist PMs to prioritize and troubleshoot problems in order to achieve a successful outcome.

The Art of Delegation

By nature, experienced and dedicated PMs are organized, efficient and self-motivated individuals. Managing team members or other stakeholders who do not embody these traits can be frustrating and detrimental to the project. While it may be tempting for a PM to take on additional tasks to ensure a project progresses smoothly, delegation to other team members is necessary for overall success. Delegating tasks will allow a PM to remain focused on managing the project and ensure that team morale is nurtured.

Team Motivation

Motivating and managing people can be challenging. Two attributes to focus on when faced with this challenge are empathy and communication.
According to the 2017 Workplace Empathy Monitor by Business Solver, 77% of employees would be willing to work longer hours while 60% would be willing to accept less pay to work for an empathetic employer. While so-called ‘soft approaches’ such as empathy might seem to be a burden on the timely delivery of a project, a PM will get better results from the project team if they consider the well-being of individuals.
Good communication skills and managing the expectations of staff and the expected outcomes of the project are essential. Empowering staff by acknowledging their performance will encourage team collaboration and motivation and contribute towards success.
Managing projects is both challenging and rewarding. It encompasses so many cross-functional elements and requires experience, time management, willingness to engage with the project team and ‘soft’ communication skills. By incorporating the techniques discussed above into their work practices, PMs are more likely to achieve success and become great Project Managers.