As an owner or chief team member of a small business, you likely wear many hats at a time. As such, you’re probably responsible for managing projects designed to grow your business and profitability. But if you’re questioning your project management skills, this can be a challenge for you.
Use these simple tips for improving your project management skills and hopefully it will enable you to excel in your position.
1. Take a Course
Every person invested in their career should look into opportunities for furthering their education. What you learned in school years ago will stay with you, but processes, efficiencies, and technologies are constantly changing. Taking continuing education courses is the best way to try to stay ahead of everything and maximize your project manager talents.
Look for a project management course that can help you be a better manager. If you don’t have time to take a course in person, but you don’t love a fully online platform, consider a hybrid project management course. This gives you the structure of traditional education and the flexibility of an online course.
2. Keep Detailed Notes
It doesn’t matter how good your memory is–you’ll need to take notes to remember everything. Detailed notes will help you keep track of what’s going well, what needs improvement, any inspiration you’ve had, and employee needs.
If you’re not the kind of person to carry a pen and pad around, download an app for note-taking. One of the most popular is Evernote, which makes note-taking a cinch! You can type out a note, dictate it, take and store photos of important information, and organize information into folders.
For many managers, delegation is the hardest task. You know that each team member needs to do their part, but it’s not always easy to let go and trust them to do the work well. It’s important to acknowledge that you probably can’t do every piece of the project better than your team members and trust them to do their parts!
Delegation should start from the very beginning so that each individual has a clearly defined role. If you struggle with micromanaging, hand out detailed responsibilities for each person on your team. This will not only help them stay on track, but it will also help you step back because you’ve provided the outline.
4. Organize Your Life
The typical project manager must focus on many moving pieces and sometimes works odd hours to make it work. This requires a mature level of organization. It’s important to be organized in your job, but this level of organization goes beyond the workplace. The most successful project managers have learned to strike a balance between work and home life.
Along with using a great note-taking app, look into other mobile software that will keep you organized, such as a calendar app to share with your family members and a project management app to use at work. Schedule your personal responsibilities ahead of time each week, and keep your team apprised of when you can be there and when you’ll be with family or at appointments. This planning will enable you to do what’s important at both home and work.
5. Be Assertive, but Supportive
Your team should know that you’re the boss. You should be able to assert your authority, getting involved with your team’s projects and sharing advice where necessary. Take the project manager lead in meetings, and be confident in your opinions and decisions.
But being assertive doesn’t mean that you have to be a jerk. Recognize that nothing would be possible without their hard work. Don’t micromanage–rather macromanage, focusing on the big picture stuff.
Most importantly, have their backs when the project goes to the higher-ups. Don’t throw anyone under the bus, and take responsibility if a project doesn’t turn out the way it’s supposed to. As a team leader, you’re most effective when you’re fully involved, but willing to trust and defend your team.