5 Tips to Enhance Your Effectiveness as Project Manager

January 31, 2024
5 Tips to Enhance Your Effectiveness as Project Manager

Project managers (PMs) and account managers (AMs) are usually in a position to be many things to many people. From leading a team to applying oversight or strategy to juggling client demands, we need to be at the top of our game when it comes to managing projects and people.

Though I’ve never had a “project management” mentor, I have worked with a collection of others who taught me a thing or two about managing timelines, expectations, and people. As I continue to learn from my own mistakes (or even others), I can pinpoint a few tips that have helped me become more effective and more efficient. Hopefully, they can add value for you as well.


 1. When in Doubt, Pick Up the Phone

Many times, PMs or AMs can hide behind email when clients have concerns. Although it’s easy to do when you have several other items that need to get accomplished, this can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpreted intent. Instead, pick up the phone (after taking a deep breath), or hop on a video chat so you can see non-verbal cues and underlying emotions. It’s ultimately worth the time invested when your client is happy and you reestablish goals and intentions. This doesn’t just go for clients either. Your team deserves the same respect.


2. Put Your Team First

It’s easy to get caught up in client demands, timelines, and delivery. After all, that’s why we are hired: To deliver. AMs and PMs are constantly balancing team needs and client demands. If your team isn’t first, you are jeopardizing the very foundation of your work. The delivery of any project will be harder, more agonizing, and more exhausting if you don’t think about the team making that delivery possible. If you can, when a last-minute request comes in, check everyone’s queue and talk to them about how to make it work. Considering their workload can go a long way in building the support of a team. Then, when you aren’t able to consult with them and they have to make it work, they are more willing to bend for you.


3. Check Timelines Often.

It’s easy to get into a bad habit of using your inbox as a to-do list. You tend to mistake the most recent for the most important. If you aren’t using a project management tool, get one. Managing schedules, tasks, budgets, etc. is easier if you have it all in view. If something is falling behind, you may need to talk to your team and adjust for the delay. If you aren’t leading the charge, you can’t hold your team accountable to the timelines set. Task your team with their project responsibilities early and check timelines often – every day even. Be sure to over-communicate expected timelines and goals


4. Over-Communicate. I Repeat, Over-Communicate

This is one of those things that most people think goes without saying, although it tends to be a struggle for many teams. When working with any team, or anyone for that matter, it’s always best to over-communicate – even if it feels repetitive. Whether it is expectations, goals, timeline adjustments, or anything else, without constant communication between team members, you can’t manage the scope of an entire project – not to mention many of them at once. This is key to essential account management and project management. Note: It also sets the tone for what you expect from your teammates as well.


5. Always Be Honest.

This may seem like an out-of-place tip, but it really comes into the picture if you have to deliver less-than-desirable news. As PMs and AMs, we get the opportunity to be positioned between absolutely everyone: Clients, bosses, teams, other agencies, vendors, or even consultants. We are required to manage multiple relationships and everyone’s feelings and expectations, but also be respected enough so they listen to what we say as subject matter experts.  

Always being honest is a good rule of thumb when managing people of all ranks and types. Many times, people are surprised by it, because it takes courage to be honest. After the sting effect wears off, people tend to respect you and appreciate that you have the guts to tell them straight up when others may not have. This rule will never fail you.

Successful project management ultimately boils down to honest relationships, fostered by mutual respect and straightforward communication – whether it’s with your client, your team, or another partner. What are your tried-and-true project/account management tips?

Author Bio

Melissa is the Strategic Director of Client Services at Stratagon who comes from the client side of the tracks. Born in Los Angeles, she's a California girl living in a Carolina world. She is a marketing guru with an integrated approach with experience in PR, digital marketing and branding. When she’s not chasing her little one around or her pup, she enjoys hunting down authentic Mexican food and trying out the latest cold brew. An adventurous spirit at heart, she's always up for something new and exploring what Charlotte has to offer.