What advice would you give to new project managers?

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If you were to offer up three tips for new project managers...what would they be? What would you tell them to focus on as they take on a first or early project? What soft skills to work on? What about certifications? You don't have to touch on all of these...I'm just curious what we all feel - looking back to our early experiences - were things that would have been helpful or were helpful that we would now share with new project managers.

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Hi Brad,

Undoubtedly,a project manager must have expert knowledge about the processes leading to the expected deliverables if he is expected to monitor and control his project effectively. Certainly one of the most important focus areas of a project manager should be the elements of the big picture, e.g. cost schedule and scope. That would allow him to narrow the focus on micro issues and then adress them accordingly using tact and a mix of soft skills, especially communication. Therefroe I think three most important qualities a PROJECT MANAGER should have:
  1. Expert knowldge relative to the project deliverables
  2. Inward and outward focus for effective monitoring and control
  3. Communication and a blend of soft skills
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My three tips for new project managers are:
  1. Always develop a strong business case at the beginning of a project. It should include the expected business benefits and explain why the project is being undertaken.
  2. Set expectations at the beginning of a project and explain to your customer what's in scope and what's not of scope. Carefully manage any changes to the scope.
  3. Create a good project plan. Clearly document project milestones, deliverables and use it to resource your project. Validate progress against your plan as the project progresses.
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