Back in December, Charles wrote a really interesting post called “Four Things An Old Project Manager Can Teach A Young One.” His argument was that project managers succeed when they have the prior experience to back up their decisions, and not just oodles of certificates and class time. As an expert in project management, he had some really great tips for the younger set:
- You’ll go farther if you focus on managing risk instead of projects.
- Never forget that The Talent is the talent.
- The best time to face hard news is early.
- Kiss process goodbye.
But what does the younger PM set have to offer to their elder colleagues? Sure, they may not have the experience of their peers, but they do have a unique perspective on project management processes, how a team should communicate, and how technology can help get things done without going over budget or over schedule.
1. Get social.
Younger project managers have grown up in the social media generation, and it’s second nature for them to collaborate with their peers in 140 characters. Though it may take the rest of the team a little longer to get used to, this fast-paced communications style can get more information across in an efficient way, plus it can connect the project team and maybe even make the office environment more fun.
2. Using online project management tools is the way to go.
Maybe we’re biased (ok, we’re definitely biased), but using a SaaS project management tool has a number of benefits. It’s inexpensive (there are no additional hardware costs with SaaS tools) and it’s also easier in general for your project team to find everything they need (documents, videos, and notes) in one place, from anywhere in the world. For more on this topic, check out our blog post: What Are The Benefits of SaaS Project Management Tools?
3. Iterate the process, not the project.
Younger project managers embody a new way of thinking when it comes to getting things done. They’re always looking for the latest technology to help them complete a project in the fastest and most thorough way possible. Having an open mind to trying new methods is key. Younger project managers also tend to tackle project work in small batches (drawing from the Agile method), focusing on top priorities first instead of trying to plan and schedule everything that needs to be done from day one.
4. Autonomy must be maximized.
I remember something Charles said to me during one of my first days at LiquidPlanner: “It’s not about the hours in the seat, it’s the work you get done.” Sitting in a little cubicle from 9 to 5, five days a week, isn’t considered a “normal” work week anymore. Punching the clock doesn’t motivate younger employees. They feel comfortable working from home, working at the coffee shop down the street, at all hours of the day. Most prefer a flexible schedule, and they want to be trusted by their team and their managers to get the work done. For more on this idea, read our post: “The 5 Laws of Social Project Management.”
Are you a younger project manager? What advice would you give to your more senior colleagues based on your own unique perspective?