Certain strategies — like time tracking and delegation — can improve your project management skills.

5 Techniques To Improve Your Project Management Skills

Project management encompasses a wide range of skills, including problem-solving, reporting and interpreting. While you do have an increasing number of new technologies and tools at your disposal, figuring out how to bring an initiative to fruition can still prove challenging under the pressure of a set timeline, particularly if you're dealing with a large team or a tight deadline.

Leadership training can go a long way in improving your project management skills — as can honing in on your communication, time management, and risk assessment capabilities. Here are a few specific strategies you can implement that may prove helpful, regardless of the scope of your project.

1) Learn from the past

Has your company ever dealt with a project like the one you're managing? If so, it can be immensely enlightening to do some research on those initiatives. You may be able to identify potential setbacks to avoid, or relevant strategies that worked effectively.

2) Establish a clear objective

It's a lot easier to produce a project when you know what you're trying to accomplish. So, before you even begin delegating tasks or holding meetings about the project, make it a point to dig deep and figure out the end goal. What problem are you trying to solve? Why is this valuable? It's also worth defining what success looks like. Once you've defined the objective, clearly communicate it to all employees working on the project. That way, they know why they're working on this initiative, what they're aiming for and how they'll know when they've done their part.

3) Start delegating

Delegation is an art you'll likely want to master to be an effective project manager, and assertiveness skills training can certainly help. On many projects I've led, I took on more responsibility than I could handle simply because I adhered to the philosophy that "if you want a job done right, you do it yourself." Divvying up the work typically guarantees that you'll be able to complete the project more efficiently. But delegation doesn't just mean handing off tasks at random — it's best to assign tasks strategically, taking team members' specific skills, personalities and working styles into account. Take some time to determine how each team member can best contribute to this project and its end goal, and then make sure that they are clear on their responsibilities by putting them in writing.

4) Implement time tracking

One of the best ways to hold team members accountable for their responsibilities is by developing some time tracking templates that clarify specific deadlines and priorities. If employees know exactly when each task needs to be finished, they're far more likely to stay on track. Once you share these time tracking tools with your team members, continue monitoring them throughout the project — especially around any hand-off or transitional points (when there's a higher likelihood of miscommunications and delays).

5) Craft a communication plan

One of the top reasons why some projects don't meet their objectives is poor communication. Continuously updating employees on not only their expectations and goals, but also any conflicts, changes or challenges that arise, helps to ensure that a lack of information doesn't negatively impact productivity. Participating in communication skills training may allow you to fine-tune your capabilities in this area. You might also come up with a specific plan for how, when and where you'll communicate with team members — whether that includes daily emails, weekly meetings or both. Encourage employees to take notes during meetings, and send out a record to remind attendees about targets and other pertinent information. And keep in mind that communication on a project doesn't solely involve status and budget reports. You can also engage team members and build motivation by developing a competition relating to the project, or distributing relevant success stories.

Interested in enhancing your skills even further? Consider ICML's project management training courses. ICML offers a wide selection of both in-house sessions and out-of-office options in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and elsewhere in Australia.


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