Hello and welcome to my first blog of 2018. In honour of the New Year I want to share some steps I’ve taken recently I hope will help me become a better project manager. Before I went on leave over Christmas, I’d noticed I’d become jaded and disinterested in my projects. I was snappy, with both my and my team’s mental health suffering as a result.
When I was away having some down time, I took a long hard look at myself and how I worked. I vowed to make some changes to help me improve the way I work, including:
Take time for myself
This is something I really struggle with. I have a very busy work and home life, so need to make a conscious effort to make time just to relax. This year, I will (try to) take 30 minutes to 1 hour a day to do something I enjoy and that is just for me.
Keep an eye on the future
When I’m deep in a project, I often find myself focussing too much on the details of the here and now and not looking ahead towards what’s coming. I have set up weekly reminders in my calendar to take time to look at what’s coming up, so that I can make better decisions in the present. It’s too easy to rely on the plan I made back in the beginning.
I tend to let my team get on with things as I can be a bit of a micromanager. Unfortunately, this has led to some less than ideal behaviours on both sides, which has impacted on projects. I decided I need to be more adaptable in my leadership style so I can better support my team. Although some team members thrive on being left to get on with things, others struggle so I need to make sure I can support both styles equally.
Keep documents concise
It’s all too easy to write huge tracts of text full of the most mundane details, particularly if you’re giving the documents to people who are not familiar with the project. I’ve decided to stop that and make sure my documents are concise and only contain relevant information. It means I am less stressed and if there is something missing, people can ask rather than be bogged down in unnecessary detail.
Regular team meetings
This is a follow on from number 3. Here at Psoda we do an all hands stand up meeting every day, but I don’t have regular meetings with my team outside of those. This year I will have at least a weekly catch up with my team – either one on one or as a whole, to improve the way we work together.
I hope these changes I’m making will inspire you to look at the way you work. Whether you’re just starting out as a project manager or have been round the blocks a few times, there are always things you can do to become a better project manager.