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Project Management

Project management can be a mass of contradictions. Creating a comprehensive and detailed roadmap is essential to be extremely flexible in dealing with all the unexpected things that may come your way.  Over the years, I have learned that being relaxed and receptive to changes that will make the project better is key.

Many project managers struggle with being flexible, especially if others do not agree with their decision. For the Promotions West team, being open is the fun part of project management. A good project manager keeps their eyes on the big picture, focusing on the final goal and taking care of the small details that keep everything on track. What makes a good project manager? Well, a few specific characteristics are needed for successfully managing any project, regardless of the size. The following skills are required to be a good project manager:

  • Work well with all people on the team

  • Able to communicate using active listening skills

  • Strategic planning

  • Clear vision

  • Listening to non-verbal messages of team members and stakeholders

  • Common sense

  • Flexibility

  • Open to change

Most people have worked or been assigned to a project, although many have different definitions. A project is a temporary endeavor with a Start and End date undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result. Quite often, as a Project Manager, you will possess informal authority. Informal authority is the ability, without a formal position of power, to inspire people to follow your directions willingly.

The critical steps to a successful project include the ability to:

  • Initiate

  • Plan

  • Execute

  • Monitor & Control

  • Close

Upcoming blogs will address each of the steps in detail. This next article will start with Initiate. When planning a project, always ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who will be impacted by the project?

  • Who determines success, and what are their expectations?

  • What are the project limitations?

  • How do you create a shared understanding of the project outcomes?

Before starting a project, it's recommended to identify all stakeholders. Not identifying the stakeholder or gatekeepers is one of the biggest problems that can cause a project to fail. Organizations will often avoid this part and move directly to creating a plan, then wonder why it failed. Once stakeholders are identified, they are interviewed to have an accurate account of the priority community's needs. Then, you document the project scope. 

Stakeholders are vital because they may help with major decisions and may influence the budget. By involving stakeholders, it can build trust as well as provide permission to proceed with the project. A better understanding of the priority community or stakeholders can also educate the project manager on how your great work may impact the organization. Developing a good relationship with your stakeholders can also remove unexpected roadblocks in the future or exert influence when needed to ensure projects' success.

Stakeholder interviews can help the project management team to:

  • Establish an understanding of the needs and priorities of the audience you want to engage.

  • Find out the best way to work with your audience or community and how to get them on your team.

  • Gain insights and ideas that you may never have thought of otherwise.

It's essential to have more than a list of questions to ask. The project manager needs to know who to speak to, when to talk to them, and how to ask them. It's key to remember to listen to what the stakeholder, community member, or client is saying. Many project managers forget that our audience is an invaluable source of information that will drive your project or community engagement to success.

The best time to conduct a stakeholder conversation is at the beginning of the project in the exploratory phase, allowing the project manager to get off to a great start with a clear overview of perspectives. It also helps people to have a sense of inclusion from the very beginning. You may be surprised by the information discovered when working on a project; the knowledge and input often led me to change the course based on conversations.

If you have questions about project management, please contact us at Promotions West.

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