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This article was published on December 12, 2015

6 tips for better project management

6 tips for better project management
Amber Leigh Turner
Story by

Amber Leigh Turner

Owner and Creative Director of January Creative

Owner and Creative Director of January Creative in Nashville, Tennessee, Amber has been a self-employed graphic and web designer for over ei Owner and Creative Director of January Creative in Nashville, Tennessee, Amber has been a self-employed graphic and web designer for over eight years, starting early in her collegiate career. Amber has a unique passion for not only all things design, but all things business as well. Freelancing as a student gave Amber an opportunity to write a student freelancing book, appropriately named Students Freelancing 101: A Start to Finish Course to Becoming a Student Freelancing, to help other students who want to start freelancing. Follow her on Twitter. Email her at

Project management is a tough but rewarding career. To do it well takes skill, experience, and skills you probably didn’t even think you would need, like psychology and salesmanship.

Great project managers are often hard to come by, but are worth their weight in gold.

If you’re looking into becoming a project manager, or currently hold a project management role, it’s more than likely your desire to become a golden project manager. If that’s the case, here’s some tips to help you get there, followed by two courses you can buy (very affordably) to help you further along your path to becoming a high-demand project manager.

Listen and question before responding
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One of the most important parts of being a project manager is listening to everything and questioning everything before you give your response. Having all of the information you need in hand before responding to a suggestion, problem, or solution helps to ensure project success.

If you’re used to jumping in right away with an answer, or assuming you know what the project needs without getting all of the facts, take a step back and collect all the appropriate information first. Aiming for project success, you should look to seek out all info, question things for clarity, then respond appropriately.

Stay immensely organized and current

It’s one thing to get organized, it’s quite another to stay organized. For project managers, it’s important to not only get organized but stay that way no matter how busy or hectic or crazy things can get. Staying organized and up to date reduces your stress level, keeps you focused and motivated, and keeps you from forgetting important details of the project.

If you’re ‘falling behind’ or having to play ‘catch up as a project manager, then something is wrong. Since everyone working on the project depends on the project manager to make sure things run smoothly and are completed on time, on budget, and meet the goals, it’s important that you be the most organized and up-to-date person working on the project.

Plan realistically and consider everyone involved
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It’s the task of project managers to plan out the project from start to finish in order to aim for project success. For a project to be successful, however, it’s important that you stay realistic in setting goals and deadlines with not only your team, but with clients and those dependent on the project.

Understanding what needs to be done, when it needs to be done by, and the order of which things have to be accomplished helps in keeping things realistic and achievable.

It also helps to understand everyone working on the project as well: knowing how they work, what they can get done in a given time period, what other projects they may be working on, etc. are just as important during the planning process.

Define measurable steps to success

While you’re looking to plan realistically while considering everyone involved, it’s also your task to outline the steps to make the project a success and define how that success is measured. Is success measured by how many coding hours are done per week? Or how quickly an order gets shipped? Or is it measured by how pleased the client is after briefings?

When everyone involved knows exactly what success looks like in any given project, it aligns everyone’s work to meet those goals and to achieve success. It’s up to you as the project manager to define this, outline it, communicate it with everyone involved, and measure it.

Identify and handle risks early and often
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Every project has its risks: either the risk of not finishing on time, not completing an important detail, or things being changed in the middle of the project. Whatever the case may be, spending time at the beginning of a project identifying what could happen and the risks involved helps you to determine how they will be mitigated if they arrive.

It’s also possible that the risks change throughout the course of the project as well. If a risk comes into fruition, you as the project manager are the one to handle it and resolve it. Going back to the first tip above, it helps when you listen to everything that comes in and ask questions to clarify what’s going on before reacting to the risk.

Underpromise and overdeliver

This idea holds true just about anywhere. For project managers, it can be easy to promise the universe, but being able to deliver on that can be quite the uphill battle. Getting into the routine of under-promising and over-delivering can help set realistic expectations, keep the focus on the project, and wow clients at the end with an even better than expected outcome.

Since issues often come out of deliverables and meeting goals, setting expectations that you know are reachable from the beginning helps make sure everyone is thrilled in the end. When you consistently underpromise and overdeliver, you are more likely to achieve success while keeping your sanity and doing right by your team.

Bonus: become a pro project manager

If you’re wanting to advance your career as a project manager and eager for even more education and tops, TNW Deals currently has two very affordable project management courses you can purchase to advance your career.

Learn the Six Sigma and Lean methods to project management with this course currently offered at $79 (regularly priced at $2,229). It’s a 37-hour course aimed to help you learn two major schools of thought and work your way to accredited certifications.

The second course is aimed for those new to project management and want to get a jump start. The eduCBA Project Management and Quality Management bundle gives you over 1450+ hours of training with lifetime access for $39 (that’s 99% off the regular price of $2,249).

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