Project management can be intimidating for novices, especially if they’ve had little guidance or training. In addition to the real work of project management, they also have to find relevant tools and stay on top of the latest methodologies to ensure that they excel at what they do. But where can you acquire the skills, knowledge, techniques, and tools required to be a competent project manager?

New jobs for project management added internationally between 2010 to 2020 are 15.7 million

As per Project Management Institute (PMI) report, the new jobs for project management added internationally between 2010 to 2020 are 15.7 million. This makes the position of a project manager some of the most sought-after applicants of the era.

However, even if demand is on the rise, a project manager’s job is a challenging act of balancing. A project manager must juggle deadlines, requirements, plans, budgets, clients, and resources on any provided day.

However, it isn’t easy to achieve success unless you have a well-versed project management team. Therefore, it’s vital for all team members to thoroughly understand their roles, especially project managers, and they need to introduce and upgrade new tactics when required.

Importance of A Project Manager

A company works on various projects simultaneously and delivers successful projects within budget and time. Every team requires a front-runner to steer them through the success path. Or else, the project might be rife with team conflicts, delays in submission, and productivity issues without active supervision.

So, the responsibility is on a project manager to help the company meet its long-term goals by propelling successful leadership styles in project management.

As a project manager, you need to define the project’s scope, followed by planning, implementation, and monitoring. Also, project managers facilitate team collaboration, communicate with stakeholders, mitigate potential risks and manage finances.

Moreover, a project manager can also be an SME (subject matter expert) who frequently checks on the quality of work and take essential steps to ensure timely and top-notch deliverables.

Project Management Fundamentals: 9 Basics That Are Must-Haves For Managers

It is vital for the project managers to hold a distinctive set of necessary project management skills and know the basics of project management and project planning to ensure business progress.

So, to be an incredibly exceptional project manager, it is imperative to learn and hone the project management fundamentals. Also, you need to diligently carry out the vested duties effectively to become a competent project manager.

While the fundamentals of project management are not hard and fast rules, it’s good to adopt some of the best ones as these can help you set on the right path and excel in project management and planning.

A project manager with sharp skill sets is behind a splendidly organized event, a functional product, or a successful campaign. The one who is not scared to get stuck takes the team forward and gets all members back on their feet when things don’t go right.

Here are some fundamentals of successful project management that every manager should know.

Well-Defined Project Objectives And Goals

This fundamental is at the top of the list for a good reason. The objectives you set for a specific project play a vital role in the failure/success of projects.

Setting your project goals before starting the work to ensure that you, your team, and your client are all on the same page reduces and prevents future misunderstandings.

Good goals are clear, realistic, and measurable.

  • Clear. Do you know precisely what is being asked of you? Is everyone clear on that and understands?
  • Realistic. Can you accomplish those particular goals with the allotted resources and time?
  • Are there any quantifiable indicators against which you can judge every goal/objective?

Clear Deliverables

The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines the deliverables as “any verifiable and unique result capability or product to perform a service produced to finish a phase, project or process.”

Once you have established the objectives and goals, you can outline your project deliverables.

For instance, if a customer’s goal is for end-users to handle their content, the deliverables may be software or a tool that enables the users to manage training materials and content for end-users and employees to leverage the newly developed software.

Robust Strategy For Execution and Initiation

Project initiation comprises all the preliminary work that should be done before the project activities occur. You can categorize the initial tasks into the following sections:

  • Conducting feasibility project-related reports
  • Building business cases for the project
  • Creating Project Initiation Documents (PIDs)
  • Involving project stakeholders

Project implementation is what generally people have in mind when thinking about project management. However, it usually begins with a project kickoff meeting to start the project officially.

This is where you need to share the plan and vision for the project, send all the members on their way to accomplish their specific tasks, and delegate responsibilities.

Ensure a proper plan to document corrections, errors, and other amendments during the implementation phase.

Command Over Tools and Software

In today’s world, having sound knowledge of project management tools/software is a must-have practical skill for project managers. There are multiple project management platforms available in the market.

It’s important to find and deploy the most suitable project management tool for your company and consider its features and functionality appropriate for your team’s workflow.

Communicating, planning, and coordinating can be challenging. Therefore, mastering the knowledge and command of tools and software is necessary besides soft and technical competencies. So to help you make your job manageable and efficient, these tools can come in handy.

From visual resource planning tools to shared online calendars, project managers should have the know-how to leverage these platforms.

A project management tool helps you administer responsibilities and foster collaboration amongst your respective team. For instance, project management software like HubSpot and Wrike are robust platforms.

These platforms offer robust project management solutions regardless of your team or project’s size. So whether you have a large company or a big team, you can leverage the platform’s features to ensure a successful project.

Similarly, Asana is yet another all-inclusive and feature-rich project management platform that helps you automate and streamline project initiatives and processes.

Subject Matter Expertise

A project manager must have adequate knowledge about the platforms, tools, and technologies available to them. And they must also realize what they can achieve by leveraging these.

This knowledge is critical to negotiating the project scope, setting milestones, accurate estimates (cost, time), etc. In addition, it also helps project managers to assist if required.

Subject matter expertise (SME) is also helpful when discussing and interacting with stakeholders, suppliers, and clients.

As a project manager, subject matter knowledge can help you get an improved grip on the respective project and direct the team more efficiently. It is paramount to know the project management fundamentals, even if they aren’t drilling into in-depth details and particulars.

Effective Communication

A study from the Project Management Institute demonstrates that project managers spend approximately 90% of their time collaborating and communicating. As a result, this puts effective communication at the forefront of the fundamentals of project management.

Both non-verbal and verbal communication is vital for the success of any project. This allows you to establish goals, and essentials, formulate plans, implement strategies and negotiate.

Transparency builds a vital bridge between stakeholders, clients, and teams, putting everyone on the same page and keeping them informed.

As a project manager, you have three directions for communication: stakeholders, teams, and stakeholders. It is the responsibility of a project manager to establish proper communication means and channels with each of them.

Usually, it’s through instant messaging, meetings, and emails with the project teams. These might have presentations, status reports, and other formal documentation for stakeholders and clients.

Also, frequency is vital. In this respect, a project manager should ensure that information is exchanged constantly. In addition, frequent communication with the client base can help decisions concerning budgets, potential risks, and next steps.

Effective communication demands constant work, and it’s the mainstay of any successful project.

Realistic Project Planning and Management

One of the other basics of project management is accurate project planning and management. It ensures proper planning and sets expectations around the deliverables, how you can achieve them, and their timeline.

Without solid project planning and management, project delivery timelines and budget estimates can be over-ambitious or may lack insights from other projects.

Eventually, good project management practices ensure a productive and successful campaign.

Competent project managers should negotiate achievable and reasonable milestones and deadlines across teams, management, and critical stakeholders. Too often, the insistence placed on deliverables compromises the essential steps and, ultimately, the project’s outcome quality.

Many tasks take longer than the anticipated time initially. A good project manager should be able to balance and analyze the available resources with the best possible timeline and formulate a realistic schedule.           

When scheduling, it is essential to bring objectivity to the planning. A reliable project manager ensures a straightforward, transparent procedure with achievable deadlines, enabling everyone within the team to operate within rational bounds and not unrealistic expectations.

Quality Control

Effective project management requires gated phases where all the team members can gauge the output for applicability, quality, and ROI. Quality control is critical in project management because it allows for a phased and staggered process, making time for teams to meticulously assess and test their outcomes.

Quality control is one of the essential project management fundamentals that can help project managers ensure the value of deliverables consistently hits the mark.

Usually, projects are under enormous pressure to be finalized. Without dedicated project managers focusing on the quality of work, it can be challenging to get the desired results and accomplish a project efficiently.

Also, it can lead to underestimated tasks, rushed processes, and tightened schedules. The result is poor quality output as there’s no plan for quality management prepared or implemented.

A dedicated project manager must ensure that projects have adequate resources and time to deliver and test the quality of the output at every stage.

Strategic Alignment                            

Another vital project management fundamental is the strategic alignment of goals with the company’s objectives to ensure all your deliverables have real value compared to the business opportunity.

Of course, as a project advances, risks may emerge, turning into issues, or even the strategy might change. However, a competent project manager makes sure that the project incorporates that realignment.

All clients have strategic goals, and projects help them advance those goals. This is imperative as part of a project manager’s duties to ensure there is rigor in projects’ orchestration and to fit them well in the broad framework of your client’s strategic frameworks.

Effective project management practices help you align the goals/objectives closely with the project’s strategic goals. This alignment is crucial to achieving the desired outcomes as a project manager.

Strategic goal alignment is paramount to identifying a robust business instance and being methodical regarding calculating revenue.

Wrapping Up

Embracing continuous or life-long learning is paramount to becoming an extraordinary project manager and standing out from the rest. The skills needed from the project managers are continually being updated.

And in this fiercely competitive and demanding project management landscape, it is imperative to differentiate yourselves through added skills, qualifications, and fundamentals of project management.

Own your professional excellence through continuous learning. You must take control, make well-informed decisions and perform efficiently. Also, don’t overlook any possible opportunities to advance in your career while helping your teams do the same.