Overcoming the struggles of project management

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Overcoming the struggles of project management

If it seems that the life cycle of your company’s project is always rushed, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are so many struggles involved with project management, but here are a few things to keep in mind during the entire process that will help you overcome them.


Don’t underestimate “simple” projects

“Simple” is a deceiving term and too often used as an over-confident sales pitch. It may reassure your client but it should not make you feel comfortable enough to “slack off” even a little bit. You wouldn’t feel any more at ease about going in for an operation if your surgeon told you that he could do the procedure with his eyes closed, would you? Didn’t think so. Simple projects bring their own challenges, the smaller the build, the more likely you are to notice mistakes.


Same same but different

No project is the same. It may be a repeat build for the same client, as it happens every year, but it’s not the same. The sooner you start to understand this, the less chance there is of things going wrong. Reusing materials can only go so far and, as much as your client wants to save money, your reputation as a reputable and quality building or design company is on the line.

Thinking that it’s the same build but just in a different location will also bring challenges. If the humidity is not the same, are your materials still durable enough? Do you have the same size area to work in? Are the convention building operating hours the same as at home? Are the suppliers here as reliable? Are the weather patterns the same or are they going to prolong your build time?

It’s important to treat every project as new, exciting and challenging. This way you can maintain the energy of innovation amongst the team and ensure that everyone will be doing their best to impress.


Trust your team

You hired them for a reason. You researched their past work or you’ve worked with them before. Bottom line is: you wanted to work with them so work with them. You need to trust your team with the project. You are only one project manager. If you think you can be managing suppliers, contractors, and clients while still trying to build the structures yourself, you will fail and very likely break something. There’s nothing wrong, however, with employing a smaller core team to assist with the management of some projects, the fewer people involved means there will be no “broken telephone” misunderstandings.

Every person has their job to do and yours is to manage and delegate. Only if absolutely necessary will you need to pick up a hammer and hit a few screws on the head… that’s not a metaphor for difficult clients, just by the way.


Prioritise client communication

Your relationship with your client is probably the largest yet most important struggle that you will face as a project manager. The value that comes from strong client relationships is incredibly beneficial for business ventures. It also makes it easier to be open with your client regarding what is realistically achievable with their budget for what they are wanting. It means more conversations than arguments and more of a chance that they will bring repeat business and client loyalty.

You need to prioritise client communication so that meetings involving the project are detailed and you won’t feel uncomfortable asking questions or giving your professional opinions. Clients sometimes tend to forget that they hired you to do a job they essentially know nothing about, so it’s okay to forgive them (in your mind, never out loud) when they overstep their qualification boundaries.  


Honesty is the best policy

At the end of the day, you’re only human. Well, actually you’re part superhuman with the patience for client concerns and supplier excuses, but for the most part, just human. A perfect final product project may have had its fair share of issues along the way. Don’t jeopardise your client relationship by trying to hide the problems or visible mistakes, just be honest about the situation and your efforts to amend them. Take ownership of your mistakes. And yes, they are yours because you are the project manager. Make sure you have done everything you possibly can do make it right.


You may already have your project management qualification, but there is no harm in brushing up on your skills with a project management training course. Who knows, you may end up learning more than you did when you were just a youngster partying through college.


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