My 2018 Goals For All Project Managers

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by Dave Wakeman

I’m sure this time of year has a lot of you thinking about what your goals are for the year.

I have a big one for all project managers to add to their list: Take the opportunity to be much more practical in your application of your project management principles.

What does that mean exactly?

Here are a few ideas:

Don’t get bogged down in arcane processes or needless activity.

It can be easy to get stuck in acronym hell. If we stick only to the book, we can lose all sense of forward motion because we allow our processes—and the arcane language that most of them are wrapped in—to steal away our impact.

Instead of getting sidetracked by these things, one of the ways that we can be really practical about our impact as project managers is to focus on the results we are trying to achieve.

Command and control project management doesn’t work often anymore because it is almost impossible for us to be experts in every activity.

Being practical doubles down on that idea because you have to allow your team members to do their best work. You do this by freeing them from micromanagement and the needless attachment to old processes and activities.

Make your role about impact, not activity.

I’ve come to the conclusion that we all would be best served by focusing on how we can add more value and less on how we can do more stuff.

I understand that many of us work in an environment defined by the old Peter Drucker maxim “what gets measured gets managed.” But in many instances, we’ve taken that principle to its ultimate conclusion where we don’t actually achieve anything. Instead, we do very well what need not be done.

In becoming a more practical project manager, a key idea would be to focus on your ability to make an impact. This likely entails having tougher conversations with stakeholders. It also likely means making tougher decisions. I never said being a project manager would be easy.

Rededicate yourself to communicating effectively.

The area we all have the greatest opportunity to create overwhelming impact is in our ability to communicate more effectively.

I’ve always lived by the idea that 90 percent of a project manager’s job is communicating. As digital tools have become more common and remote teams are a larger reality, it’s pretty easy to fall back on a crutch of allowing digital to do the work. But what I have found is that as we become more digital in our work, we need more humanity in our communication.

The high impact, practical project manager is going to be a great communicator. He or she will be able to juggle the different communication styles of key stakeholders and team members, and keep the project moving forward by having a grasp on all the project’s key ideas, timelines and potential sticking points.

After reviewing this list, perhaps a practical project manager means we need other people to help us achieve our success. Which isn’t really a new concept at all, is it?

If you like this kind of post, I write a weekly email about value, strategy, and opportunity. You can receive it by sending me an email at

dave @davewakeman.com 

 

 

Posted by David Wakeman on: January 16, 2018 12:05 PM | Permalink

Comments (21)

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Agreed
Communication is the key trait for becoming Successful Project Manager.

I agree but never forget: Go there and see for yourself.
Or as Japonese say: "Genchi Genbutsu"

Thanks for the post Dave! Love this - "Make your role about impact, not activity"

Thanks for this post.

Thank you! "Make your role about impact, not activity"

Very important not to get "bogged down" in anything as a project manager. Totally agree!

Thanks for good article.

Good one, inspiring. Thanks.

Thank you Dave for an interesting post on how to have a positive impact in managing projects.

There is always room for self improvement.

Thanks Dave! This is great!

Great article Dave. In ideal situations, we should start being more practical, focus in communications and create a good project team. Thanks

Thanks. I like the part "make impact not activity"'. It is so easy to get distracted in a never ending flow of emails and have a great feeling of spending a productive day. We shall be spending 90% of the time communicating, right? But if you spend 10 minutes at the end of each day to summarize your achievements of the day you may be surprised how little you achieved. I follow the pareto principle (80/20) by asking myself: is this activity I'm going to do the one that makes the difference. Is there anything else I can focus my energy to deliver more value to the project? This is rather pretty simple technique which can bring surprising results.

Take away of the day !!! "Make your role about impact, not activity"

Cheers

Agreed. Thanks for sharing

Great Post. Thanks for Sharing!

I found this to be an interesting post. I particularly liked the reminder that communication is still one of the most important activities within any project.

good points! I immediately though of the "effective executive" by Peter Drucker. A PM needs to be effective not busy

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