Project managers need to be a lot of things at all times. That flexibility is only possible with the right set of tools. Without the right tools, it’s all too easy to become overwhelmed and overworked. In the worst case, deadlines get pushed out and projects ultimately fall by the wayside, being put off indefinitely, or worse.
The following five tools should be in every project manager’s toolkit in some way, shape, or form. They might be digital tools, physical necessities, or even keenly developed skills and techniques. Whatever the style these tools take, they will help you succeed and master any project you choose to take on.
Updated PMP Training
First and foremost, you can rely on yourself. Even without any devices, internet, or data connection- if you still have proper core training you have what you need to make it. This training can come from a number of places. It might be given to you by your employer; you might have attended a workshop or a formal class.
If you’re looking to sharpen your skills and gain rapid experience, you might even consider New York PMP Training in a Boot Camp. Within this field, levels of training can vary wildly. Only you know where you are at. If you feel there are any gaps that you can fill, doing so sooner rather than later may be something you will thanks yourself for in the future.
Soft Skill Development and Assessment
In a similar way to PMP certification and training, investing in soft skill development is something you will keep for life. No matter how much technology changes, your ability to communicate in spoken and written forms, as well as your skill in empathizing with and motivating your team can be invaluable.
“Soft skills,” a term encompassing a wide range of interpersonal skills and strategies, are arguably what separates highly successful project managers from the rest. Further, these skills don’t begin and end with project managers. By implementing training programs, easy-to-follow policies for communication, or holding a workshop, a whole team can improve their cohesion and communication skills, thereby reducing friction.
In-Team Collaboration and Communication Tools
All communications should be tracked and available to all relevant team members. Email isn’t usually the ideal environment for a project with more than two people involved. Finding the right computer application for the job will depend on your specific needs. However, keep in mind that 57%, more than half, of all projects that fail do so because of communication failures.
Yes, you may have all of the soft skills you need, but you can’t keep tabs on every communication between every set of team members. The right tools will make it easy to spot discrepancies and make sure everyone is up to date every single day- without scheduling an impromptu meeting.
Scheduling and Task-List Managers
The second most prominent cause of project failures, at 39%, is lack of planning and proper resource allocation. There are tools for that. Beyond being a place where tasks can be scheduled and broken down into sub-tasks, an adequate scheduling tool will be open to all team members and track both changes made to it as well as who made those changes and when.
The number one tool in this area is the Gantt chart. You can make them with the most basic office software or even on paper. However, a more advanced and well-designed software version is typically recommended as it improves ease of use and adoption among team members.
The bigger your budget, the more likely your project is to “fail” or go over its original budget and timeline. The right tool can make sure you always stay on track in every regard, especially resource and finance management.
While PMP training and soft skills will help keep your team together and doing their best to keep your project moving, there can still be stumbling blocks. If you have “extra” room in a budget but are a little behind, you may need to hire additional, temporary help. Alternatively, if a feature will cost too much to produce initially, you may need to scale back the project.
Knowing what to charge and the state of a project during the entire process can be difficult to track as a project stretches on. This is what makes “dashboard” tools so powerful. The right project management dashboard will show you, at a glance, everything that happened on a given day. What percentage of your budget was spent, where? Who completed which tasks? What is on schedule, ahead, or behind? What decisions were made? The right Dashboard is more than just financial data.