Embarking on a new career can have its challenges. When starting a new position, it's always good to know what is expected of you. Knowing what is expected, avoids common mistakes and helps to advance careers. Here are six expectations managers generally have for new project managers:
- Learn the language. Learn the language of project management. Know the difference between a Gantt chart and a RACI chart. You are probably a technical expert in your field. Still, in case you are not, you should improve your organization and industry vocabulary as well.
- Understand the meaning of success. A good question to ask the project sponsor at the start is, "what does success look like to you?" This understanding will help in future decision-making when things get off track. Be sure to read about 5 Superior Stakeholder Questions for Project Managers to Ask.
- Manage project scope. It is unrealistic to assume that the scope will be fixed throughout the project. You can read more about managing project scope in our blog. Two superior pieces of advice to start:
- Be sure to define how changes will be managed at the start of the project.
- Treat scope change as an opportunity, rather than always negative
- Don't overreact. A typical new project manager's mistake is to overreact at the first sign of schedule and budget variance. Some things will be on target, some ahead, and some behind. Rather than immediately react, watch for trends, and know that being ahead can be just as bad as being behind, in many projects. If things get really out of control, be sure you can manage in a crisis.
- Don't skip risk management. Your manager may not always value risk management, but as a new project manager, you should. Even if you can only spend an hour, it will be worth your time. Following a good risk management process will better prepare you for unknown risks that are sure to happen. Learn more about risk management from our blog.
- Manage without authority. You will need to motivate and lead your team without having direct authority. This is perhaps the hardest for new project managers to grasp. Start by building trust with your team. Be sure to read about 5 Tips for Leaders to Motivate Their Teams.
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