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What the Best Project Managers Do Differently

What the Best Project Managers Do Differently

Some project managers are better than others. They expend fewer resources, hit more deadlines, and maintain better relationships with everyone involved in the project.

What sets these excellent project managers apart from the others? And how can you replicate their success, whether you’re a project manager, an entrepreneur, or another type of leader?

Better Project Management Tools

Though project managers don’t always have direct control over the tools they use for the job, it’s unquestionable that the best project managers typically have better tools at their disposal.

For example, with a better PSA platform, managers will have more transparency into the resources available to them, better tools to analyze data, and ultimately, support for better decision-making.

If you’re looking for project management tools that can help you become a better project manager, these are some of the best qualities to prioritize:

  • Core features. How many core features are available and what is the nature of those features? What are you able to do with this platform and how much time does it save you? Are you able to accomplish all your responsibilities in one centralized location, or is the support of this platform marginal at best?
  • Usability/learnability. Given enough time and experience, any user can hypothetically learn any platform. But it’s a huge advantage to have a platform that’s easily learnable and usable. Platforms that are intuitive don’t require hours of study to master, and platforms that are designed in a streamlined way lend themselves to faster, more efficient navigation.
  • Accessibility to others. Chances are, it’s not only the project manager using this tool; it’s also employees, contractors, and even customers. The more accessible this platform is to other people, the smoother these conversations are going to go.
  • Flexibility. It’s also important to seek a platform with some degree of flexibility and customizability. It’s unlikely that the platform will have everything you need out-of-the-box, where it will be perfectly suited to your business and your projects. Instead, you’ll need to tinker with settings and make adjustments until it becomes a better fit. Not all platforms allow for this.

Insightful Team Planning

Excellent project managers practice insightful team planning. Instead of assigning resources arbitrarily or at random, they consciously think about the strengths and weaknesses of each team member, and the needs of each individual task. They distribute the work in a way that’s not only favorable to completing the project faster but favorable to increasing the morale and individual productivity of their team members.

Effective Communication

Undoubtedly, the best project managers in the world also practice effective communication. Effective communication is a topic worthy of entire books of content, but these are some of the most important basics:

  • Proactive communication. Proactive communication is always preferable to reactive communication. It’s better to identify potential problems and attempt to prevent them, rather than scrambling to deal with them once they arise. In line with this, good project managers reach out to team members for verification and clarification before any issues rear their heads.
  • Clarity. Project managers succeed when they provide clear, unambiguous information. There’s no room for misinterpretation or confusion because they’ve worded their messages precisely and deliberately.
  • Conciseness. There are usually many different ways to say what you want to say, but some of those ways are bloated and unnecessarily long, wasting time for the people reading them. The best project managers are as concise as possible, minimizing disruptions and meetings for the sake of increasing productivity.
  • Focus. It’s also understandable why ideal project managers seem to overflow with focus. Instead of getting distracted with little tasks or going off on tangents, they’re always thinking about the bottom-line goals for each project.

Ambitious Goal Setting

You’ve likely heard of SMART criteria for goal setters. In case you haven’t, this system is designed to help people set “better” overall goals. The most distinguished project managers understand these criteria well and use them to set ambitious, yet achievable goals. They can push their team members and resources to achieve their full potential – without overwhelming them or creating internal strife.

Self-Awareness and Reflection

No project manager is perfect, which is why the best project managers embody self-awareness and reflection. After making big decisions, accomplishing goals, or missing targets, they look within themselves to see what they could have done better. They’re capable of analyzing each situation and forming takeaways that can help them in the future.

Opportunities for Ongoing Growth

As is the case with other successful professionals, project managers often benefit from pursuing opportunities for ongoing growth. They attend classes, workshops, and seminars to learn more about modern project management best practices and network with peers. Instead of locking themselves into a rut, they’re constantly growing.

Becoming a better project manager isn’t exactly easy, but it’s also a feat that’s entirely achievable. With better tools, better communication, and better frameworks for how you manage projects, you can improve how you coordinate and motivate your team – and ultimately push your results further.

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