Being new to the world of project management can prove challenging. In fact, it may seem like too much to take on all at once. However, no matter how overwhelming these new tasks may seem, they still must be taken care of. It is like playing baseball for the very first time. When you are up to bat, you have to watch the ball, see what your coach is saying, and make sure you are holding the bat properly. You cannot freeze and stop because you are overwhelmed. You must take action in order for the game to continue. An article from Cobalt lists 7 principles of project management to help you keep your eye on the ball:
- A Start and end date
- Clear objectives
- The project might not even start
- There are risks
- Changes mean changes
- The project manager manages the project
- Things will not go entirely to plan
Looking at the first point, having a start and end date means having a goal to shoot for. You may finish early or a bit late, but at least you have a time frame in mind which fosters an environment of organization. Also, having clear objectives allows for more seamless planning. After all, you cannot achieve your objectives if you have no idea what they are in the first place. The article also recommends to keep in mind that all you really have at the very beginning of a project is an idea, so do not feel crushed if your project never starts at all.
Remind yourself that there are risks. All projects have risks, so sweating all the small stuff will just lead to tension rather than productivity. Also, changes are to be expected as well. It is important to keep in mind that the project manager can certainly deal with all of this:
As project manager you need to keep a close control of the project plan and any changes which people want to make to the project. Simply accepting any change which is proposed to you will certainly keep your stakeholders happy at the time but it is more than likely to cause you a lot of problems further down the line. The project manager role is a bit of a funny one because you need to influence others without having a lot of authority over most of them. At the end of the day, the success of the project will largely come down to how well you run it. This means that from early on you need to work out what you need to do in order to make it work for you. If something or someone is standing in the way of your work then you need to see what can be done to help you manage the project effectively.
As important as it is to have a plan as project manager, it is equally as important to remember that things will not go entirely to plan. Think of the baseball example again. You may expect a ball to fly right through your strike zone, but at the last second it curves another way. This is to be expected. The article reminds us that even when the unexpected does happen, “there is always a solution.” Remember, you might be able to hit that home run after all.