5 Fears Every Project Manager Experiences (and How to Overcome Them)
Mastering the art of project management means managing your projects on multiple fronts, including keeping tabs on budget and schedule and staying in touch with the right people on your team. It also involves knowing how to manage your own emotions, which can be just as challenging as anything else on that list. As you manage your day-to-day responsibilities, it’s important to stay aware of the fears that could be holding you back and work to overcome them. Here are some of the common fears project managers have and ways to work through them productively.
Forwarning: When your Project Management Fears are Valid and You Should Seek Help and Advice
Before we introduce the most common solvable project management fears, we should preface them with some warning signs that are actually valid indicators that your project IS in trouble and you really do need to meet with your sponsor and stakeholders to decide the best course of action going forward.
Common Project Red Flags that are Legitimate Concerns
One of the most common legitimate fears for project managers is a lack of budget. This is an ongoing concern, as going over budget (or starting with too low of a budget) can put a strain on the team, lead to cutting corners, and can cause even deepening budget issues.
Another common fear is the fear of not meeting the schedule due to unrealistic expectations. This too is a legitimate concern, as missing deadlines can result in lost productivity and unhappy stakeholders.
Fortunately, there are ways to overcome these fears. One way is to use project management software to help you keep track of your likely risks and how you should mitigate them. Additionally, keeping communication open with your stakeholders can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal.
Fear 1: Fear of losing control
The projects we manage and our careers are constantly changing. Keeping your project on schedule, within budget, and at a quality that’s acceptable for your stakeholders requires effort and commitment. This can be scary if you feel that these factors are out of your control. However, being aware of what could happen—even if you don’t like it—is an important step toward developing strategies for dealing with risks, obstacles, and deviations from plan.
For example: We might need more resources. We might have to change the deadline. The market may not allow us to price the product as originally planned. And so on… An organization’s project management software provides one way to help project managers keep their projects under control by showing them how far they’ve come and where they still need to go. It does this by presenting tasks, milestones, dates, budgets, resources needed, etc., in a clear way that is easy to understand at a glance. Project Management Software also offers features such as project portfolio management, agile planning, resource utilization, risk analysis and reporting to make sure you have the information necessary to make informed decisions about your projects’ future.
Fear 2: Fear of letting other people down
This fear keeps project managers from sharing their projects’ budgets and schedules with their teams. However, unless you can share your deadlines and budgets with your team, it will be hard for them to get excited about a project. The solution is for PMs and team members to have an honest conversation: As soon as you take on a new project, tell your team that you need help managing time and money so that they will know exactly what they’re working toward. You should also make sure everyone knows the importance of quality work in order to keep stakeholders happy. Finally, make sure you have the right resources to complete the project because if you don’t, it’s likely that the schedule or budget will change or even worse – nothing will get done at all!
Fear 3: Fear of having too much on your plate
As a project manager, you’re going to be working with your team members, your stakeholders and your clients – as well as being responsible for everything that goes on within your project. Sometimes it can seem like there’s just too much that needs doing and not enough time in which to do it. Fear not! There are some tools out there to help with the management of tasks, including Gantt charts, dashboard tools and other ways to measure the quality of your work. An online project management software such as WorkOtter is also an excellent tool to stay organized while collaborating with your team, stakeholders and clients. The key is to find what works best for you – experiment with different methods until you find something that really helps make things happen!
Fear 4: Fear of making mistakes
The next time you are tracking tasks, basing your schedule on a Gantt chart, or feeling lost in all those dashboards, remember that making mistakes is not only a part of being human but it also means that you are learning. After all, mistakes aren’t what makes project managers bad at their jobs—lack of interest in growing and advancing professionally is what can ultimately end your career. Learning from our mistakes keeps us engaged with the people we work with and gives us the opportunity to grow our skillset and make ourselves indispensable for future projects. It’s okay if something doesn’t go as planned: just dust yourself off, learn from it, make a note so you don’t repeat the same mistake again and move on.
Fear 5: Fear of becoming irrelevant
As a project manager, your job is constantly at risk. Newer, fresher technologies and methodologies are being developed every day, and clients are always eager to try something new. This can make you feel like a dinosaur – a prehistoric project manager from long ago who used traditional tools and lived in an era when people didn’t know what computers were. Don’t let yourself become irrelevant just because you prefer traditional project management tools. You’re not old-fashioned if you use the tried-and-true methods of quality assurance, scheduling deadlines for deliverables and publishing dashboards to track progress on all aspects of the project. That’s how projects get done right!
In Conclusion, How to Conquer your Project Management Fears
You’ve got this! Do not let fear and uncertainty ruin your project (or your career). If you remind yourself you are the leader and observe the following best practices your project will succeed and your stakeholders will be looking for you to lead the next big (and seemingly impossible) project!
Best Practices to Conquer your PM Fears:
1. Understand your role and build relationships with your team.
2. Educate yourself on the different types of project management software and tools available.
3. Use Gantt charts and schedules to create visual representations of your project plan.
4. Build quality into your project from the start by setting clear objectives and measurable milestones.
5. Create dashboard views for yourself and your stakeholders to help monitor progress and identify potential issues early on.
6. Keep a close eye on your budget and make sure you are tracking all expenses against the approved budget for your project.
7. document everything! This will help you understand what worked well and what didn’t should you encounter similar challenges in the future.
One of the simplest project management PPM tools you can find is WorkOtter. We’re a cloud-based simple, sensible, and supportable project management solution focused on providing powerful management and resource capacity planning of your most important priorities.
CLICK HERE to sign up at WorkOtter today