Project Management

Project Management is identified as one of Matter’s top soft skills linked to performance and career success. Matter helps professionals tease out blindspots and areas for growth in skills like project management through regular peer-to-peer feedback.

What Is Project Management

Definition of Project Management: Leads a team project from inception to completion.

Every project is different and every project needs a plan that reflects its various challenges. To shepherd a project from ideation to completion requires a skill set that is varied, extensive, and flexible. There’s more to project management than just planning. As the father of Modern Management Theory Peter Drucker said, ”Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.”

Great Project Managers You May Know

Laura Alber: It may seem like the CEO of Williams-Sonoma ought to be afraid of online retailers like Amazon, but Alber has a forward-looking plan. She noted that the problem is not that retail is dying, but that service is dying. Fully aware of the potential and challenges of home delivery, Alber noted that “Moving large-scale furniture is difficult, which is why it’s a huge differentiator. If you can do something hard, well that’s an advantage.” Based on that insight, Alber developed and rolled out Williams-Sonoma’s end-to-end delivery service, enabling the company to deliver their furnishing products and services directly to customers.

Ursula Burns: As CEO of Xerox, Burns saw a company that was growing increasingly outdated; no one wanted more and more photocopiers and fax machines anymore. They needed to find a new plan for the company, changing focus radically. “If you don’t transform, you’re stuck,” she said. Xerox now has jumped industries completely and runs E-Z-Pass and traffic cameras.

Marillyn Hewson: Never one to let the grass grow under her feet, Hewson’s leadership as CEO of Lockheed Martin has been all about expansion and growth. Hewson describes her “job is to make sure that as our customers’ priorities change, as the environment changes, we shift that portfolio of products to meet them.” Since she took the reins of the company in 2013, it has doubled its market cap, branched out into commercial airport information technology, acquired competitor Sikorsky, and secured contracts to build payloads for NASA to go to the moon.

Why Project Management Is Important

  • Delivery: A goal without a plan is just a dream. Project management is about planning and execution. Most companies fail not because of strategy, but poor execution.
  • Productivity: Great project managers know how to inspire their teams during difficult times. They’re amazing at troubleshooting and removing roadblocks that empower people to do their best work.
  • Bottom Line: Whether it is people, material, money, or time, there are a lot of variables that have to be considered when managing a project. Performance and efficiency all come down to how resources are managed and allocated.

What Project Management Isn’t About

  • Micromanaging: A project may have one manager, but there are a lot of plates that have to keep spinning, and many hands are needed. One person can’t do it all on their own.
  • Smooth Sailing: There is no easy way to go about project management. It’s a constant struggle, despite the best-laid plans. Hard work and awareness are key to effective project management.
  • Status Quo: The only constant is change. The best project managers are able to navigate the ever-changing landscape, knowing that plans may be disrupted in one way or another. Being able to find solutions to blockers is key to delivering on time.

Abilities That Lead To The Mastery of Project Management

Being organized: From leading a team to keeping stakeholders in the loop, project managers tend to have a lot on their plate. By being organized, you will boost your ability to keep things on track and achieve your project’s goals.

Communicating with stakeholders: To run a project smoothly, consistent effective communication needs to take place with the stakeholders. Any changes then need to be communicated to the team members to avoid ‘surprises’.

Defining critical milestones: The success of the project depends upon the identification of the defining moments throughout the project known as milestones. This can be done by providing the life cycle of a project which includes the main phases such as initiation, planning, execution, and completion.

Delegating tasks: Delegation skills are essential for project managers. Some managers avoid delegation because they think they can perform the task better. Ultimately, mastering delegation skills is important for two reasons: to make the best use of the project team and to give the project manager the capacity to focus on the project’s overall goals.

Identifying project requirements: It is essential for project managers to properly collect a project’s requirements. Collecting requirements is the process of determining, documenting, and managing stakeholder needs   requirements to meet project objectives. For any project success, project result must meet stakeholders needs and expectations.

Inspiring the team: A great project manager is someone who motivates the team to do the best work of their lives. Project managers make people feel they have a real stake in the project. They empower their teammates to explore what the vision will mean to their jobs and their lives, as well as to envision their future as part of the vision of their organization.

Keeping detailed notes: The best project managers are also the best note takers. You want to master taking detailed notes to make sure everyone on the team is aware of what is happening and be aware of new decisions.

Managing risks: Risk management is essential for project success. Risks are the potential threats that can appear at any time and potentially jeopardize the entire project. To make sure your project is successful, potential risks need to be identified beforehand so that effective measures can be taken if they arise.

Testing deliverables: Deliverables should be tested at every major milestone. Testing provides you with a fair idea of whether the project is meeting or exceeding expectations. If any issues are encountered, corrective measures can then be taken immediately to bring your project back on track.

Explore Roles That Benefit From Project Management

Who can benefit from practicing project management? Matter is helping professionals at all levels get actionable feedback to improve their project management.

  • CEOs who are looking to become better leaders and cultivate company culture
  • Designers who want to grow their professional and soft skills
  • Freelancers who work without a traditional team and want feedback
  • Project Managers looking to improve their cross-functional collaboration skills
  • Software Engineers who aspire to become a tech lead or manager

Explore Complementary Skills to Project Management

Project Management shouldn’t be practiced in a vacuum. Improve your project management by exploring and developing these complementary skills.

  • Analytical Thinking: Freelancers are constantly presented with complex problems. Logical thinking skills help you meet each client’s unique needs.
  • Communication: Your interpersonal communication skills can make or break your ability to work with a variety of other people.
  • Delegation: Assigns manageable tasks, responsibilities, and authority to others appropriately
  • Resourcefulness: Overcomes challenging problems in an effective way
  • Responsiveness: Provides follow-up to peers’ requests for information or assistance without delay

Learn. Improve. Grow.

Our mission is to help everyone reach their career aspirations and achieve their professional goals.