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  • Guy Stuart, 3PCubed

7 Habits of Effective Project Managers




Habit 1: Everything changes! Prepare for it.

Always think in terms of risk. It’s not being pessimistic, it’s about seeing the possibility of failure – and this needs to be across all areas of your project.


You will be living and breathing your plan so you will often see these just as variances. You do need to see variances but more importantly you need to see the dips, the hairpin bends and dead ends; the deviations that will send you off the road.


Successful project managers need be consistently be:

· looking for problems and planning how they will deal with them.

· working their risk register. Reviewing outstanding risks on a regular cycle and push constantly for progress.


So, always think in terms of RISK.


Habit 2: People Deliver Projects – but can make Projects Difficult! Always Listen.

Project stakeholders are fundamental and will make or break your project. So, communication and how you decide to communicate is king, so, remember:


· project management is 80% communication

· it's multi-faceted and splits in all directions across all levels of stakeholders

· it’s difficult but essential


Always be LISTENING. It will make communications a lot easier, help win respect and above all really lets you understand what is happening.


Habit 3: Projects are Complex! You will need a Big Lever.

You will never have time to do everything you want to do, your project will be complex with lots of parts, possibly from different machines.

Therefore, prioritisation and focus are the key big hitters and don’t get distracted with other people’s big hitters (they will have a job next period even if you don’t!)

You need to bring order and control to and unordered and out of control environment. the messy, chaotic, uncertain, changing environment that is a project.

As quickly as you can and as you move through the lifecycle find the one or two levers that give you control (it won’t be 100% control but it should be enough)

Find the right LEVERS, push and pull them and everything else will fall into place.


Habit 4: You aren’t an all-round Expert! Use Delegation.

Learning to and successfully delegating frees you up – you need time to plan, think, strategies, reflect – if you are doing you aren’t leading.

Secondly, your team members will love it, they will be and feel valued, they will be using their skills to their fullest- they will be motivated, they will grow and learn.

So, to build a successful and growing team; a successful project manager must employ DELEGATATION!


Habit 5: The Team Delivers. Serve your People.

Unless you’re leading a small project and you are the project team and the PM, you will need to rely on your team to deliver your project. You must make it as easy as possible for them to do their jobs; remove the obstacles, oil the wheels and let them do what they do best.


So, SERVE YOUR TEAM, provide them with the resources they need and shield them from distractions on and off your project.


Habit 6: Challenge! Ask Questions.

Ask questions, constantly, challenging, find substantiation and confirmation. Employ critical thinking, especially when reporting. Be aware of Groupthink and avoid confirmation bias.


Challenge yourself by using your peers to test your thinking. Don’t be afraid of scepticism (but be wary of cynicism) so make habit 6 to QUESTION and CHALLENGE.


Habit 7: You have all of the Answers? Keep Learning.

You are human, you evolve, grow and develop – and successful people and organisation do this quicker by learning. So, get into the following routines that will keep you learning:


· Read books. Go-to events. Take courses, watch TV documentaries (but always think critically)


· Reflect as soon as you can and before your memory and feelings fade.


So, the last habit, never stop LEARNING and having a thirst for knowledge

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