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Project Management Quick Take

New Project Manager Tips

Video Transcript

New Project Manager Tips

Hello, I'm Eileen Twichell and I'm a senior trainer and consultant with Corporate Education Group. Stepping into a new project management role is an exciting experience, but for those who have never led others, proper training, documentation and developing strong organizational skills is important. Here are four tips that every newly minted project manager should know:

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  1. Seek out and receive project management training: No matter what age or skill level you are at, seek out and receive some formal project management training. Going from subject matter expert to manager requires two different skill sets. Training will provide the necessary foundation to make the transition easier.
  2. Develop your documentation skills: As a project manager, you are responsible for reporting on the progress, successes and failures of your team. To make this task as easy as possible, documentation is key. Take time to identify the tools and techniques that work best for you. Your documentation style doesn't have to be amazingly formal, but for example — creating a scoping document at the start of a project with an introduction, goals, responsibilities, and constraints will help focus the team and take some pressure off the project manager. Everyone will have a solid understanding of the project without having to constantly defer to you.
  3. Follow your timeline: New project managers often struggle with time management. It's very easy to let tasks that are not as urgent — such as emails, last-minute requests from coworkers or subordinates, etc. — distract you from the more important responsibilities at hand. That's why it is crucial for a project manager to put a timeline in writing and follow that timeline closely! Don’t get caught up and let critical project milestones fall to the back burner just because the deadlines seem far in the future. Good time management skills will serve you well now and into the future.
  4. Understand the phases that every team experiences: According to Tuckman's model of group development, every team is always in one of the following four phases: forming, storming, norming and performing. It is important that new project managers understand that these phases are a normal part of a team's evolution and functioning. Remember, it is your job to guide and support the team through these phases, not prevent the phases from occurring. For more information, watch my video "Project Management through Tuckman's Lens", which is also available at corpedgroup.com.