We spoke to our Head of Information Solutions, Daniel Gooding, to find out what it takes to manage a successful project.  Daniel has had many years’ experience in managing teams who have delivered projects on time and to budget.  Here, he runs through some of the key lessons he’s learnt along the way.

What would you say are the three most important attributes of a good project manager?

First and foremost, a strong understanding and vision of what the project is designed to achieve.  This will allow a project manager to anticipate and solve any problems which could jeopardise the project.

Secondly, communication.  Effective project management can be achieved by using the right method to clearly communicate ideas, goals, decisions, and expectations to both stakeholders, clients and team members whilst managing feedback being received from all directions.

Lastly, problem solving.  A great project manager will utilise their team member’s expertise to help resolve the problem and set the plan towards the most effective resolution.

How do you find a balance between being in charge of the team, and also working alongside them?

For a project to work, a project manager needs to inspire their team to all have the same vision for where the project is going.  Making sure the team feel like they have an equal stake in a project and supporting them to develop towards that goal helps motivate the team and evokes respect towards the project manager.

How do you personally keep track of what each person is doing and what stage they are at in the process?

Regular meetings and updates with the team and keeping all channels of communication open both ways between team members and the project manager.  An effective project tracker will also help keep an eye on how tasks are progressing.

How can project managers ensure that the communication within their team is strong and effective?

For the successful implementation of any project, it is necessary that the team is always communicating and working in unison.  The project manager plays a role in ensuring this happens, by being visible and engaged with the team - focusing on the positive aspects of their team members.

How do you ensure that a project is always developing and moving forward?

Regular monitoring and reviewing of the project plan and targets allows for identification of any potential issues that need to be worked through and eliminated.  A project manager needs to be capable of thinking quickly and reacting decisively to any unexpected problems.

Are there any other tips you would give to someone going into project management?

The best tip I can offer is that the project manager should always consider what they are aiming to achieve by this project and whether the method they have chosen is the most effective way of achieving the end goal.

In addition to this - the most appropriate project management method should be used for the project, with good planning and estimating being essential.

Finally, once the project is complete and live, a review of how the project went with stakeholders, clients and team members is essential.  This will produce a list of lessons learnt that can be applied to future projects and prevent similar problems and mistakes arising.

Interested in taking a management qualification to enhance your project delivery skills?

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