21 Precious Tips for Project Managers

Browsing the web I’ve found these amazing tips that in most of cases we all know but we never practice or remember them.

Right after I post it, I’m going to print it out and put in front of me in my desk to look at them every single day. Really worth a read.

  1. Fix the problem, not the blame. It is far more productive, and less expensive, to figure out what to do to fix a problem that has come up than it is to waste time trying to decide who’s fault it was.
  2. Tell people what you want, not how to do it. You will find people more responsive and less defensive if you can give them guidance not instructions. You will also see more initiative, more innovation, and more of an ownership attitude from them develop over time.
  3. Manage the function, not the paperwork. Remember that your job is to manage a specific function within the company, whatever that may be. There is a lot of paperwork that goes with the job, but don’t let that distract you from your real responsibility.
  4. Don’t DO Anything. Your job as a manager is to “plan, organize, control and direct.” Don’t let yourself waste valuable time by falling back on what you did before you became a manager. We know you enjoy it and you are good at it. That’s why you were promoted. Now you need to concentrate your efforts on managing, not on “doing”.
  5. You never have to make up for a good start. If a project or a job gets off to a bad start it can be difficult to catch up. Do your planning up front so you get a good start and you won’t regret it.
  6. Get out of your office. Management By Walking Around (MBWA) does work. You make yourself more approachable. You get information first-hand. You find out what’s really happening.
  7. Lead by example. If you ask your employees to work overtime, be there too. Just because company policy allows it, don’t fly first-class if your associates are in coach on the same plane. Be a leader – it’s tougher than being a manager, but it’s worth it.
  8. Delegate the easy stuff. The things you do well are the things to delegate. Hold on to those that are challenging and difficult. That is how you will grow.
  9. Don’t get caught up in ‘looking good’. “Work happily together. Don’t try to act big. Don’t try to get into the good graces of important people, but enjoy the company of ordinary folks. And don’t think you know it all. Never pay back evil for evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honest clear through.”
  10. ‘Quality’ is just conformance to requirements. You get the behavior you critique for, so set your standards and then require conformance to them. Quality will come from that effort, not from slogans, posters, or even threats.
  11. Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.
  12. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals. Goals you set for yourself, or others, should be Specific, Measurable, Achieveable, Realistic, and Time-based.
  13. Set an example. “One of the most significant parts of a manger’s job is for them to become a positive role model that can pull a team together and deliver the level of service expected from their customers.”
  14. Know Your GPM. In engineering, gpm is gallons per minute, a design criterion. In Management GPM is an acronym for Goals, Plans, and Metrics. To achieve your goals, you must first determine what your Goals are. Then you have to develop a Plan that gets you to your goal. Finally you need Metrics (measurements) to know if you are moving toward your goal according to your plan.
  15. Train Your Supervisors. The key to your business success is the productivity of your employees. The key to employee productivity is their perception of their immediate supervisor. Invest in training your supervisors and managers. It will pay off.
  16. You Can’t Listen With Your Mouth Open. Your associates, your employees, your suppliers, your customers all have something of value in what they have to say. Listen to the people around you. You will never learn what it is if you drown them out by talking all the time. Remember, the only thing that can come out of your mouth is something you already know. Shut up and learn.
  17. Practice what you preach. To lead, you have to lead by example. Don’t expect your people to work unpaid overtime if you leave early every day. Don’t book youself into a four star hotel on business trips and expect your employees to stay in the motel off the freeway.
  18. Leaders create change. If you lead, you will cause changes. Be prepared for them and their impact on people within, and outside, your group. If you are not making changes, you are not leading.
  19. Don’t Limit Yourself. The difference between leaders and managers is that leaders do not set limits on themselves. There are enough people trying to limit what you can do. Don’t be one of them.
  20. Anyone can steer the ship in calm waters. What will set you apart in your career is how you perform during the tough times. Don’t become complacent and relax just because things are going well. Plan ahead for the downturn.
  21. You have to make a difference. The group you manage has to be more effective, more productive with you there than they would be if you were not. If they are as productive without you, there is no business sense in keeping you on the payroll.

Source: http://management.about.com/cs/generalmanagement/a/mgt_tips03.htm

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