Project Management

5 Tips for New (and Seasoned) Project Managers

Walter Edwards has served as a professional and leader in Japan successfully delivering projects for multi-national organizations. He is able to communicate with local and global stakeholders effectively and keep team members focused on high-priority items needed to reach goals.

When I started my career in IT project management, I did not know the difference between a network router and a switch. My eyes and ears were wide open trying to make sense of a new world. My colleagues were kind enough to draw pictures to help me understand the basics. In addition, I had to learn new terms in both English and Japanese.

A few years later, I found myself working as an onsite contractor PM for clients of different industries. No two corporate cultures were exactly alike. While learning how to adapt to different environments, I was also studying for the PMP exam. One of the biggest benefits I gained from this is learning to take a structured approach to achieving a goal. However, there are essential soft skills that I also needed for the job.

Through various interactions with business professionals, I learned some valuable lessons.

1. Be accountable. There is nothing more frustrating than working with teams that fail to deliver yet but cant explain why. Accountability has a huge impact on a projects cost, schedule and quality. A project manager should cultivate the culture of accountability from the onset of a project.

Here are a few good habits that help:

  • Always set clear expectations (e.g., include due dates for action items).
  • Follow-up in a timely way and offer help when you can.
  • Be discrete when handling sensitive issues (…

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"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."

- Lewis Carroll

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