3 Tips Every Rookie Project Manager Needs For Project Success

Mike Girdler

Project success, no problem For a rookie project manager there are many things that can cause a project to go off the rails and not …

Project success, no problem

Rookie Project ManagerFor a rookie project manager there are many things that can cause a project to go off the rails and not meet a successful end. Here are 3 tips that will help your project be a success.

Tip # 1 – Charter your project

There is a debate over whether all projects require a project charter. Let me end it here: as a rookie project manager, if you want your project, regardless of size, to be successful, begin with a project charter. I wrote recently on the value of the charter and what it can do – the charter establishes the project. It outlines who the project manager is and their authority. The charter indicates the business case for the project, deliverables, and milestones. As well, it defines what’s in scope. It also serves to outline the budget, high level risks, assumptions, and constraints. Finally, it outlines roles and responsibilities and stakeholder requirements. By developing a charter, you set yourself, and the organization, up with a uniform understanding of the what project success looks like, and you immediately sidestep potential, future pitfalls. We developed a mini-project charter for your small projects, it’s available free on our website.


Tip # 2 – Involve your team in the project plan development

Your success as a rookie project manager is dependant upon your ability to get tasks and project deliverables completed by team members, and their colleagues. Involving team members in the creation of your project plan increases the odds for success in 2 ways. First, team members bring expertise to the table and their involvement helps ensure that tasks, risks, resources, timing, and other aspects of the project plan are covered – nothing is missed. Second, as they’ve actively contributed to the development, they buy into the plan, they support the plan, and they can speak to and act as advocates for the plan.


Tip # 3 – Communicate, communicate, communicate

It could be argued that communication is the biggest contributor to project success or failure. So, as a rookie project manager developing a solid communications plan is critical to your success. There are many tools and examples of effective communication plans that you can search and download, but in essence, the communication plan boils down to answering four questions.

  1. Who are your stakeholders? Who are the people you will need to send and receive information on your project from?
  2. What are the communication needs of each stakeholder? – what information do they need to know: the status, progress, changes, etc., and what information do you need from them?
  3. When will you communicate with stakeholders? Outline the schedule?
  4. How will you communicate with your stakeholders? Will it be e-mail, face to face, team meetings, surveys, web-based options?

A solid communications plan allows you, as a rookie project manager, to make sure that you have the information you need to keep your project on track, and stakeholders have the information they need to see the project progressing towards a successful end.

As a rookie project manager there is a host of different things that will demand your attention, and a myriad of things that cause a project to go sideways. However, if you keep these tips in mind: begin with a project charter, develop the plan with your team, and maintain communications with your stakeholders, you increase the odds of project success significantly.


What are the top 3 things you do to keep your projects on track? Thanks for reading don’t forget to share/tweet/like our blog just underneath this paragraph. And don’t forget, we’re always here to help with your change management needs.

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Michael Girdler is a vice-president, CornerStone Dynamics Inc. His blogs focus on all things project management. Throughout Mike's career, he has invested deeply into projects involving sales, marketing, training and development, continuing education, and communications environments.

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