11 Project Management Tips From the World’s Top Project Managers

Have you ever wished that you had a PM mentor to watch over you as you try to complete your projects on time?
We understand how you feel. There are high stakes, there is work to do, and people rely on you to get them to victory on time and on budget.
We were able to interview 11 of the most prominent digital project managers in the world to learn their top project management tips.
They were happy to share their top project management tip with us. It has made a huge difference in their lives and their work.
It’s your turn, guys!
1. Set goals and don’t let them go.
Project managers have to set and manage expectations. This is one of the most challenging aspects of their job. Many PMs begin projects with many unknowns about their goals, budgets and timelines.
It’s important to discuss scope, timelines, and other details when you set communications expectations with your team. This will help you plan how you will make the project a success. It’s also a good idea to establish the same expectations when working with clients.
Check in on the next document or delivery between deadlines and have a chat with the team to discuss what each will entail. Do you have any changes in your deliverables based on previous work done? What impact will this have on the scope and timeline? Explain the benefits of check ins and how constructive and helpful feedback will strengthen the final deliverable. When setting expectations, it is okay to repeat yourself as long your repetitions are meaningful and well-timed.
— Brett Harned is Vice President of Project Management at Happy Cog, and the organizer of Digital PM Summit.
2. If in doubt, dial the phone.
Even though their team has dedicated account managers, most agency digital project managers have a client-facing position.
The discipline of project management can be found in Gantt charts and budget spreadsheets. However, the best digital PMs know that communication is key to success and setting expectations early with clients will ensure greater success than creating spreadsheets or negotiating over the details of a statement.
Too many project managers hide behind email when clients have concerns. This can lead to misinterpretation and even more escalations. Instead, take a deep breathe, grab the phone or video chat and have a more intimate, honest conversation. You can even meet face-to-face to interpret non-verbal communication cues as well as underlying emotions.
Adam Edgerton, Director Operations at Metal Toad Media
3. Always be truthful
Digital Project Managers (DPMs), we are always in a position to connect with everyone. Clients, bosses, teams and other DPMs are all part of our role. This requires us to manage multiple relationships. We must be sensitive to everyone’s feelings and expectations and be respectful enough to ensure everyone listens. We chose a great career!
“Always be honest” has been my golden rule in managing digital projects and people. It’s the best technique for managing people of all ranks and it’s worked well for me.
It surprises people to be honest when others wouldn’t. It’s not easy, and it takes courage, but I have not yet experienced any negative effects. At first, people are shocked. Some are not happy that you are honest about the bad news. But then, it all changes. Once the’sting’ has subsided, people begin to accept the truth. Then they realize how grateful they are that you were honest with them when others would lie.