12 Tips for New Project Managers (Plus Job Description)

Updated December 22, 2022

If you're interested in a management role and enjoy developing new ideas, consider becoming a project manager. As a project manager, you get to lead your own team, monitor project progress and exercise your problem-solving and communication skills. Knowing how to enter this role successfully can help you feel more confident in your abilities.

In this article, we define the role of a project manager and list 12 tips for new project managers to help you succeed in this role.

What is a project manager?

A project manager is an individual who handles every aspect of a project, from planning to execution. Apart from leading a project, they also assemble and lead a team working toward the same goals. Here are some common duties for project managers:

  • Plan and develop a project idea

  • Assemble and lead a project management team

  • Monitor a project's progress

  • Motivate a project team to meet deadlines

  • Estimate costs and develop the project budget

  • Analyze and manage project risks

  • Set clear goals and deadlines for a project

  • Analyze project performance and make adjustments as needed

  • Communicate with the project team, your manager and stakeholders

As a new project manager, you may adopt an existing team or start staffing it on your own. Knowing how to manage a team and oversee a project effectively can ensure your success in this profession.

Related: Learn About Being a Project Manager

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12 tips for new project managers

Consider these tips for new project managers:

1. Listen to others

As a project manager, it's important to listen to those around you to use all the information possible when you make decisions. You might facilitate useful feedback by:

  • Creating feedback forms

  • Hosting one-on-one meetings for feedback

  • Paying attention to feedback from your team

  • Researching your clients and customers

After actively listening to each of these parties, engage with your team and the company stakeholders to ensure a quality project. Having a sense of support from others can help with your projects and ensure you build professional relationships in the workplace.

Related: 20 Essential Skills Every Project Manager Should Have

2. Set clear goals

For every project, set clear and measurable goals for your team to achieve. Consider what you want the project to accomplish, whether in the short or long term. Make sure each goal is reasonable, timely and makes sense for the scope of the project. You can also set smaller goals along the way to maintain momentum. This can help you celebrate smaller victories on the way to achieving a greater and overarching goal.

Related: How To Successfully Set Goals

3. Exercise your problem-solving skills

As a project manager leading for the first time, it's important to analyze every aspect of a project to identify potential risks. Look for potential challenges and remedy them before they become a problem. If you encounter a problem after it occurs, investigate the reason so you can avoid similar challenges in the future.

Related: What Are Problem-Solving Skills? Definitions and Examples

4. Remain flexible

Things can change quickly in the project management field, so it's important to remain flexible. As the project progresses, accept any necessary changes to continue making progress on the project. Remaining flexible can help you manage risks and sudden changes with greater ease. Consider updating your knowledge in this field to develop new skills you can use when encountering these changes.

Related: How To Be Flexible at Work (With Tips and Examples)

5. Make a good first impression

As a project manager, it's important to have the support and approval of your colleagues. When you enter your new role, you might use the following tips to make a good impression:

  • Aim to speak with as many of your team members and direct reports as possible. Let them know you're interested in their opinions regarding the project you're overseeing.

  • Outside of the office, speak with customers and stakeholders.

  • Be honest and express a desire to hear everyone's thoughts.

  • Remember that everyone you meet can help you and your project find success.

Related: A Complete Guide to Project Management

6. Maintain communication

As you and the team work on a project, follow up on different tasks to ensure you're making progress. Consistently communicating with different parties can ensure the project's ability to meet all goals and deadlines. It also helps you to identify changes quickly and ensures everyone's aware of what's happening with the project.

Related: How To Be a Better Communicator (With 21 Communication Tips)

7. Be transparent

Throughout the project, be honest with your project team and your manager. Communicate any challenges and risks in advance so you can work through them effectively. Your transparency may even increase your team's trust in you and your abilities.

8. Stay organized

As you lead a team and monitor a project's progress, maintain strong levels of organization. For example, use templates where applicable and keep a record of the work assignments for each project. Staying organized can help you quickly find the information you're looking for and ensure the best use of your time.

Related: 28 Tips on How To Be Organized in the Workplace

9. Understand the work and culture

Before you make any changes as a project manager, get to know the team culture and the overall situation. While you may want to do something new using your education or experience, it's important to understand the culture and team norms that already exist. This can help you establish trust with your new team.

Related: What Is Organizational Culture?

10. Know your team's strengths

Understand the team's strengths and weaknesses so you can assign them tasks accordingly. When you get to know each individual's unique skill set, it's easier to assign them duties that help them do what they do best. This also ensures the proper utilization of everyone's skills, which can ultimately lead to a higher quality of work and a more successful project.

Related: How To Build Team Strengths in 9 Steps (With Examples)

11. Use project management tools

As a project manager leading a team for the first time, it can be useful to familiarize yourself with a variety of project management tools. These might help you perform your job well. Using the proper tools can also help show your team that you understand how to lead them effectively. Specifically, these tools might help you:

  • Assign projects

  • Track project progress

  • Share calenders, documents and files

  • Communicate with groups

  • Track billing, work hours and invoices

Related: The 24 Best Free Project Management Software Tools for 2022

12. Contribute to the team

Serve your team by helping them work together to achieve the project's goals. When your team works together, it may be easier for them to deliver a service or product that can provide value to the customer. Serve your team by:

  • Removing obstacles

  • Helping resolve challenges

  • Offering general support as the need arises

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