7 Habits of Highly Effective Project Management
Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of my favorite books. These habits are well-known to any businessperson who is serious about their craft and has a passion for self-improvement. If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it.
But how can these tried and true methods be applied to project management? We hope Covey will not mind us using his incredible life wisdom to help project management.
Here are 7 habits that make project managers highly effective.
1. Be proactive as a project manager
If you have been granted a front row ticket to observe the field of project management for a long time, you will likely have identified three main types.
There are three types of project managers
Accidental project manager: This is someone who has been promoted through the ranks but was not qualified to manage people. A network technician might be asked to lead the network upgrade project because he knows the system better than anyone else. These people may have a lot of project knowledge but may struggle to branch out into the management and team building categories.
Good project manager: A “good” project manger is someone who can manage both the knowledge and the management aspects of the business. However, they are more reactive than proactive. They do what is expected but not more. They do what is expected, but they don’t create new ways to do things better.
Proactive project manager: A project manager who is proactive has plans in place to address issues before they arise and is always one step ahead of the client’s needs. They have established ways to communicate with all parties and hold each person accountable for their part in the overall picture. This is possible by using team collaboration tools that allow for instant responses. Proactive project managers are proactive and do everything they can to avoid losing time due to miscommunications, misunderstanding expectations or putting productive energies in the wrong places. This type of professional realizes that being a project manger is their true calling.
You can see why a plan is essential for project success.
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As with any other area of project management, it is easy to get lost in analysis paralysis. It can be difficult to keep your eyes on the final picture when multiple people are involved in a project.
All of the work must be unified in the end. Egos must be put aside to ensure greater coherence of the overall picture. It is easier to work together if everyone is focused on the end result of the team and not on being a rock star.
3. Prioritize the important things
Covey advises to do your biggest rocks first, which are your most important and impactful things. This means that you must not allow distractions or rabbit trails to distract from the main areas of your project.
If you have very important tasks to complete in the day, you might want to reduce distractions until these are completed. This could mean that you turn off your email notifications and text messages for the morning to make it easier to complete your most important tasks.