Things I wish I knew about project management a couple of years ago

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They say it’s better to learn things the easy way. But sometimes, a hard way is the only way. The easy way being — learning from others’ mistakes. The hard way (which is the typical way), is learning from your own mistakes. And that’s the story I’m going to share through this post. The story of the lessons I learned the hard way during the last two years of my project management career.

I do wish I had someone to guide me, so I could avoid some of the classic mistakes that most project managers tend to make. But, now that I’ve been into the industry for more than a couple of years I would love to share my experience with you guys so you could avoid those mistakes. Take a look at the stuff I wish I knew when I first started out in project management -

Every project is unique

Every client is different. Timelines, expectations, task divisions, the people involved in it; everything will vary from one to the other. Always know that even if two projects share the same goals, they are still going to vary.

And so, you’re going to need to alter your working style depending on the nature of the project. This is the first lesson I learned in my career.

You cannot handle everything on your own

Maybe your team members are just starting their career. They may not be as great at something as you. But, there comes a time when you need to stop trying to handle everything on your own and start trusting others with their work.

That’s the only way they are ever going to learn and become the master of their field. If you keep interfering and micromanaging, they will never reach that stage where you could just hand them a piece of work and trust them with it, even when nobody is there to monitor them.

If you are looking to make the most of your project management abilities, and bring the best for your team, then you need to try ProofHub. Sign up for the free trial and check out how it makes your work life lot easier.

Stop thinking about WIIFM and start thinking about WIIFT

Tell them how it will improve them; both professionally and personally, and how it will broaden their horizon. That’s the only way to get your employees to bend over backward to get something done.

If only someone had told me that people we deal with on a daily basis are more important than tasks (considering they are the ones who execute the tasks) I could have gotten things done more easily.

Don’t be in just for the glory

And so, if you’re working with the mindset of receiving the praise and the glory of having managed things like a pro, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. The praise may come, but mostly from outside such as from the clients. But don’t be too shocked if you don’t get so much credit from within the organization.

Sticking to critical path is actually critical

But, sticking to critical path works on a basic assumption that you actually know exactly which items to stick to. It’s easy for project managers to get sidetracked by being too detail-oriented on less important things while ignoring the things that really do matter.

Speaking from personal experience, it’s tempting to get involved in the littlest of things. So, you need to make sure you don’t end up deviating from the important tasks that might set the course of project back. Now that I look back, I wish someone had told me just how important it was to identify what is essential and what’s just a distraction.

You may not always see a project finish

This is another important lesson managers need to learn early in their career, so they don’t end up feeling that way. You may not always get the chance to see every project finish.

It’s ok to not know everything

Those were a few lessons I have learned so far as a manager. I know that learning is a continuous process and there’s plenty of stuff I am yet to learn.

What has your journey been like as a manager? Do share.

If you are looking for a project management tool, then try ProofHub!

Originally published at www.linkedin.com.

Written by

Chief Marketing Officer@ProofHub. Featured writer on LinkedIn. Contributor at Elearning Industry, Dzone, Your Story and Business.com.

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