Top 5 Tips for New Project Managers

Project Managers must be able to work with a variety of technical tools to assist with their day-to-day workflow and must also be able to lead teams with clear communication and composure. This adaptability—and years of PM experience—is what separates the highly effective Project Manager from the rest of the field. But what if you’re just starting out? The extensive set of required skills for successful Project Managers can be daunting. For that reason, we thought it wise to provide some guidance for those new PMs that are still trying to find their footing.

1. Set SMART Goals.

Proper goal setting in Project Management is crucial. Establishing objectives that are not realistic or too broad in scope will make project success difficult to determine. Effective PMs understand the importance of setting SMART goals when kicking off a project. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely.



Specific: Make sure your goals are clearly defined and easy to understand. This is especially true if there are several people working on a project since each member may have their own understanding of the objectives.

Measurable: A goal that can’t be measured is rather useless. Measurable goals include a metric of some sort that can define progress, success, or failure. An example of a measurable goal would be “Increase the line production of our best-selling product by 200 units by the end of the first quarter.”

Achievable: Unrealistic goals can serve to demotivate project team members and diminish the chances of the project being a success. Be sure to set goals that are within reach and that are agreed upon by the project team members.

Realistic: Setting unrealistic expectations could lead to frustrated teams and failed projects. It’s very important to take inventory of any potential risk factors at the start of a project so that everyone involved agrees that the goals, objectives, and milestones are realistic.

Time-Bound: Applying deadlines to project milestones is crucial to keeping the project on schedule. If objectives are not time-bound there is no urgency and deadlines will certainly suffer.   

2. Master your Project Management Software

The tool you use to manage your projects every day should be a natural and familiar fit for you and your team. You have enough on your plate as a Project Manager – there is no room to be inefficient with the software tools you use to get your job done. Know your software inside and out and get the training you need. There are many Project Management tools available, including Microsoft Project. You can check out our Microsoft Project training solutions here

3. Upgrade Your Leadership Skills

Successful Project Managers know the value of developing their leadership and management skills. The abilities to negotiate, present, and properly prioritize time are just some of the many vital skills that are worthwhile for Project Managers. Continued education and training are paramount to your continued growth as a project leader. New Horizons maintains a robust lineup of Leadership and Development courses spanning three different paths: Communication & Interpersonal, Leadership & Management, and Professional Development. Click here to get more details on our Leadership and Development offerings.   

4. Get Certified

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI) is the most widely industry-recognized certification for project managers. It’s also extremely well respected due to its difficulty and extensive qualification requirements. You can view those details on our Project Management product page. Earning the PMP can also alter the trajectory of your career as a Project Manager. According to the annual PMI Project Management Salary Survey, certified Project Management Professionals earn an average salary of more than $100,000 per year. It is highly recommended to pursue certification once you acquire the hours of project management experience necessary to take the exam. PMI also offers the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification for those individuals who are newer to the field. The CAPM is a great first step towards the PMP while earning additional project management experience.

5. Review Your Previous Projects

Self-analysis is crucial for continued improvement in any profession, but it’s especially important in the area of project management. Both successful projects and failed projects should be reviewed to improve processes and activities in future projects. What went wrong and why? What was successful? You may find that certain members of your team excel at certain activities more than others and by reviewing you’ll be able to better position those individuals for continued success.

At New Horizons, we’re talking about IT everyday—and not just with a variety of clients, but with leading vendors—about industry trends and real-life challenges. And because of these close partnerships, New Horizons is positioned to help businesses like yours leverage our knowledge experts to discuss strategies, implementation and troubleshooting.

Click here for more information about Project Management training and certification. Also, if you found this article interesting, helpful or useful, please use the ‘Social Share’ buttons below and spread the word across your networks. And of course, please leave your comments below.

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NH Learning SolutionsCindy Velazquez

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