Project Management

3 Areas for Project Management Improvement

The new year has been around for a while. But before you get too deep into resolutions, have you ever considered an Old Year’s reflection to see where to go first? Looking back at what happened last year is a good place to start because you will see what works, what doesn’t, and what should be changed. In a post for the PM Perspective Blog, Susanne Madsen says that there are three areas which determine the way you manage projects and inspire others with your leadership:

  1. Lead others: how successfully you have motivated, challenged, and communicated with others
  2. Lead yourself: the level of ambition, emotional intelligence, and time-management skills you displayed
  3. Lead the project: how good you are at evaluating the project’s purposes and taking time to figure out the path you’re going

Look Back to Lead Better

Whether you have had a successful year or gone through some misfortunes, it’s still good to look back at what happened and see why you are standing at where you are. Don’t let past failures keep you down, and also don’t be a jerk patting your chest when things have gone well for you but not for others. You don’t stand forever in the same place, so the key is to improve and move forward regardless.

Look back on what impression you’ve created on other people with your leadership. Have you engaged other people and allowed them to share their thoughts? Have you challenged them to be better through good feedback and constructive comments? Equally important is to reflect on how you have led yourself. A crucial thing is being able to realize how ambitious and capable you are, and how well you have displayed professionalism and emotional intelligence at work.

These two factors will contribute to the way you lead the project. Remember that the ultimate purpose of your project is outcomes that bring business benefits:

Many project managers conveniently forget this last step as they believe that it’s the sponsor’s or client’s responsibility to ensure that a valid business case is in place. But outstanding project managers are more than happy to co-own the business case and actively take an interest in helping to realize it. How good are you personally at understanding the project’s ultimate purpose and the wider business context of your project?

If you feel that this is a weak spot I’d encourage you to make it a priority this year. Few things are more powerful on a project than understanding the business aspect.

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