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10 Project Management Tips for Professionals

May 27, 2024

Have you ever felt like you're being pulled in a million directions by a project?

I remember the chaos of my first major project. Deadlines felt like a constantly ticking bomb, emails piled up with unanswered questions, and achieving goals seemed like a distant mirage.

But now that I've spent good time managing projects, I realize many of us have experienced the frustration of project mismanagement. But what if I told you there's a way to turn that frustration into success?

A good strategy and strong project management tool can transform any project, big or small.

This article explores the world of project management, offering practical tips I wish I had known during that first chaotic project. Ready to learn more? 

Project management challenges

Project management is fraught with challenges, but the right strategies can address many common issues effectively. Here are some key hurdles that I often encountered:

  • Communication: The lack of transparency leads to misunderstandings, delays, and duplicated efforts. Implementing robust communication channels and promoting a culture of information sharing can help you mitigate this issue. 
  • Unrealistic deadlines: Tight deadlines can be a major source of stress and can lead to cutting corners or sacrificing quality. Setting realistic timelines based on project scope and resource availability is essential.
  • Team dynamics: A project's success heavily relies on a well-functioning team. Personalities can clash, communication styles can differ, and skill sets may not perfectly align. Fostering a collaborative and supportive team environment is key.
  • Risk mitgation: The unexpected is bound to happen. Conducting a risk analysis early on and having a proactive risk management plan can help you navigate challenges and keep the project on track.
  • Resource constraints: Limited skilled personnel, specialized equipment, and budget availability can hinder a project's progress. Effective resource management is crucial to ensure everything is in place when needed.


of project managers say lack of resources is a top challenge 

Source: RGMP

Top 10 project management tips

So, whether you’re new to project management or you’d just like to brush up on your knowledge, here are some tips to help keep you on track!

1. Identify project requirements

The project manager often is responsible for a project's success. To ensure a smooth takeoff, take some crucial first steps.

Start by thoroughly understanding the project's requirements. These serve as the project's foundation and are often documented in a business case. In larger projects, a business analyst might have compiled them. Schedule a meeting with the analyst to clarify any ambiguities or areas needing further exploration.

These requirements are your roadmap to success. They define the project's scope, inform resource allocation and timelines, and help you identify your team's needs.

For example, the resource list allows you to secure them from trusted suppliers, expediting procurement. You can then map the required project management skills and personalities to specific roles, matching them with existing or potential team members to create a high-performing unit.

2. Create a project timeline and schedule

A well-defined project schedule can be your saving grace in a fast-paced work environment.

Start by breaking your project into bite-sized chunks. Imagine a recipe—you wouldn't try to cook everything at once! The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) helps you list out all the steps needed, making the projects feel less daunting.  

Once you have your tasks mapped out, think about the order.  The Critical Path Method (CPM) helps identify the most important tasks that can't be delayed without pushing back the entire deadline.  By getting organized and focusing on critical tasks, you can keep your project on track and avoid last-minute scrambles.

From the classic to-do list to a prioritized calendar or even advanced strategies like Inbox Zero, there are tools to boost your productivity and help you focus on what matters most.

3. Communicate effectively

When everyone's on the same page, tasks flow smoothly, deadlines are met, and success becomes achievable. But how do you become a communication champion?

According to KMPG, communication is the most important skill for project managers to develop over the next five years. This goes beyond simply hearing what's said. Pay close attention, ask clarifying questions, and acknowledge the speaker's points.

Use clear, concise language for technical topics, and be more enthusiastic when conveying exciting updates. Keep everyone informed, even when there's bad news. Transparency builds trust and allows for proactive problem-solving.

4. Document everything

Well-documented projects provide a clear roadmap for everyone involved. This eliminates confusion and ensures everyone's working towards the same goals.

By capturing details upfront, you can identify potential issues early on. This allows for proactive mitigation strategies, minimizing risks derailing the project.

Easy access to documented information prevents wasted time searching for answers or reacquiring knowledge. Team members can quickly get up to speed and complete tasks efficiently.

Document management is not a one-time event. As your project progresses, update documents regularly to reflect changes and keep everyone informed. Documentation serves as a historical record of project decisions and rationale. This knowledge base proves invaluable for future reference and training of new team members.

5. Pay attention to details

The saying "the devil is in the details" rings especially true in traditional project management.

A single overlooked detail in requirements, project plans, or test cases can snowball into major problems later. So, it's important to analyze and monitor a company’s processes using process mining strategies to enhance operational efficiency with data-driven solutions.

If you're not naturally analytical, leverage your team's strengths. Encourage team members to review each other's work, fostering a collaborative quality assurance process.

Implement a robust quality control and assurance policy. This can involve standardized review processes, automated testing procedures, or assigning a dedicated quality manager for larger projects.

6. Manage stakeholders

No matter the type, scale, or budget imposed on a project, stakeholder management is one of the largest challenges we all face.  Keeping everyone happy throughout the project can be an uphill battle whether that’s your sponsors, suppliers, or the end user

Taking a stakeholder-focused approach to your projects will allow you to concentrate on keeping everyone on your side. Ensure you are always communicating with your stakeholders, keeping them in the loop with any changes, deliverables, or hold-ups that may impact them.

Planning your stakeholder communication effectively will enable you to identify your stakeholders' various needs and communicate with them in a way that not only keeps them satisfied but also helps build a genuine, strong, and lasting relationship.      

7. Be a team player

Start by embracing your team's unique strengths. Delegate tasks accordingly, allowing each member to take ownership and excel in their areas of expertise. As a project manager, it's essential not to come across as an aloof authority. Instead, be willing to engage directly with your team's activities. Doing so demonstrates your commitment, strengthens trust, and encourages a collaborative team environment.

Foster an environment where open communication is prized. Be approachable for questions, concerns, and ideas. This level of transparency promotes collaboration and trust among team members.

Regularly seek feedback from your team, showcasing your commitment to learning and development as a leader. A true team player constantly strives for improvement, and that journey includes you!

8. Use project management tools    

Project management software allows us to streamline, automate, and better manage our day-to-day schedules in our professional roles. Put simply, if you’re not already using some sort of project management tool, you should be!

Best project management tools 2024

There are many different software options on the market, all with varying features, services, and price points. The top picks are:

* These are the five leading contract lifecycle management software solutions from G2's Summer 2024 Grid® Report.

Alongside dedicated tools, you may also find that your company's customer relationship management (CRM) software solution already has a project management module. This saves your organization the extra cost and admin of working across multiple systems.   

9. Get a project management certification

While there is never any replacement for the experience of working on diverse projects, the project management profession is one of the best at recognizing and rewarding those with the proper certifications.


of project managers don’t hold any certifications

Source: Deirdre O'Donoghue

Depending on the type of projects you typically run and the time you have to dedicate, there’s bound to be a certification out there that suits you. Getting certified lets you improve your knowledge and discover new tools and techniques to manage projects better.

10. Stay informed on trends

Once certified, the learning journey doesn’t stop there. With such a big community and following around the project management profession, new and exciting techniques are emerging regularly, and continual professional development (CPD) is a must to stay up-to-date.

Many certifying bodies have membership options, allowing project managers unlimited access to online learning resources and events, such as seminars and conferences, to meet and discuss ideas. Getting your CPD plan in place as soon as possible will help you identify, map, and plan your learning to ensure you’re always up-to-date!  

Don't fear the deadline!

These top 10 tips have been instrumental in my project management journey. As someone who thrives on clear communication and organization, I've consistently delivered successful projects by implementing these strategies.

Remember, effective project management is a skill anyone can develop. Implement these tips and your unique approach, and watch your projects thrive!

Explore free project management software for smoother project execution, higher productivity, and, ultimately, a happier workforce

This article was originally published in 2018. It has been updated with new information.

Project Management Software You can do it all!

Track progress, monitor projects, and align stakeholders easily with project management software.

Project Management Software You can do it all!

Track progress, monitor projects, and align stakeholders easily with project management software.

10 Project Management Tips for Professionals Are you handling too many projects at once? Discover the 10 project management tips that will keep you on track to meeting your project's deadline.
James Elliott James Elliott is a BDM and content writer at OpenCRM, a fully featured cloud CRM provider that helps businesses of all sizes reach their growth ambitions. James loves talking all things tech and business improvement, so why not reach out on LinkedIn?

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