That said, let's consider some ways - beyond just great PM and PPM tools - we can improve as project manager right away. There are things we can do in the long term – like take a class or attend a conference. But those usually cost hundreds or thousands of dollars and have to be scheduled well in advance. What I want to discuss are things we can do now...today...tomorrow...this week, in order to improve ourselves as managers of projects for customers and teams we are working with right now.
Network with your immediate colleagues. You likely work in an organization surrounded by other project managers. It's not a competition, it's a team. Go to them for help and advice. Give help and advice. Network with your own colleagues. It will bring you all closer together, make everyone better project managers together, and open up lines of communication that may help you solve a project issue quickly tomorrow instead of running into a huge mess down the road on the project. You are surrounded by PM talent...use it.
Go to your project clients today. Don't be afraid to talk to each of your project clients about what they think is going well and what isn't going so well. Learn now what you can change for the good with their helpful insight before they get upset about something and take it up the ladder a notch. Believe me, it will also help strengthen your project team-customer relations at the same time and that is a good thing. And be sure to have quick access not only to your project clients but also to all your projects in the PPM / project portfolio management solution.
Start a daily project newsletter to the team and client. This may be too time consuming to add to your daily tasks, but if you have the time and if it will serve to improve project communications and information dissemination, consider starting off each day with a project newsletter email containing some project info and important task information for the projects. It can serve as a reminder to all what is going on and help keep everyone on track. And it will work well to keep the communication flowing daily. Win-win.
Stop multi-tasking and start prioritizing tasks daily. In my opinion, multi-tasking is definitely overrated. The better path is to prioritize the project tasks that lie ahead and go after them one at a time. Yes, you will always have to multi-task from time to time, but I don't believe it should be your life-plan as a project manager. If you do, too often you find yourself at the end of the day with twelve unfinished tasks and at least three of them are probably at the emergency level by now. Not a good plan. A great PPM tool can help you prioritize the projects. And a hybrid PPM tool can cover both waterfall and agile environments. Win-win.
Summary / call for input
I think most of us want to always get better at our chosen profession. I know I do. I suppose there are those out there that think they've already peaked...but that is never a good attitude. So, this list is a personal list of a few things you can add today to make yourself a better PM or communicator or leader, etc.
What would you add to this list? What are your suggestions for bettering yourself as a project manager when you show up for work tomorrow?