four essential tools for a good project manager
Artists have their brush and paint. Journalists have their pen and paper. Carpenter's have their hammer and nails. What do project managers have?

Artists have their brush and paint. Journalists have a pen and paper. Carpenter’s have their hammer and nails. What do all of these have in common? The tools associated with the profession are the golden standards for their practice. Although they are not required, (i.e an artist using a pencil or a carpenter using a drill) they are often used because of their effectiveness and reliability. When applying this methodology to the role of a project manager, how does it apply?

The role of the project manager boils down to keeping your project and everyone working on it organized. A good project manager knows what is going on with their project at all times and should always be connected with their employees. You have to keep your team motivated to continue working until the project is completed. Using this explanation, we can induce the four essential tools for a project manager.

1. Project Management Software

In our technological age and the accessibility of the internet, thousands of great resources can be found online for keeping your project organized. There is great project management software (PMS) that provides great tools to help manage your employees. The dashboard gives a visual for you and your employees to see the layout of tasks needed to be complete. Additionally, a scheduling system is incorporated so that employees know their timelines for deadlines. The dashboard and schedules are constantly updated to stay connected with your team so they always know what needs to be done.

  • keeps a visual representation of task completion
  • optimizing scheduling for maximum efficiency
  • staying connected with employees

2. Project Milestones

Setting project milestones is another important aspect of being a project manager. Keeping your employees on track is one of your main responsibilities. Don’t just put project milestone haphazardly, it is important to properly spread them out {hyperlink to Importance of Properly Setting Project Milestones}. Each project milestone should be meaningful to the project and to the employees. Take into account the timing, visibility, accountability, and fallibility of the project milestone to ensure the milestone is hard-fought when achieved.

  • gives you a timeline of task completion
  • sets a scope for a complete project
  • motivates employees by seeing each goal as reachable

3. Analytic Reports

Analytic reports are a great way to numerically measure the progression of your project. Using the data collected from your scheduling time and work efficiency, you are able to see the effectiveness of your employees, when their efficiency or effectiveness drops and try to find a solution that you as the PM can do. When making decisions about the project such as scope or direction, consult the analytics because the truth is often found in the numbers.

  • provides a numerical report of the progress
  • project manager can make more informed decisions about the scope and direction of the project

4. Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a great way to keep employees enjoying their work. More employee engagement means more positivity, productivity, and creativity. Employees are less likely to quit boosting company productivity ultimately saving you money. Overall employee engagement – whether it’s through team retreats or casual Fridays, is important to the environment of your project.

  • employees work better when they are engaged at work
  • keeps employees happy and healthy

These essential tools are some of the project manager’s greatest assets when working on a project. Each of these tools plays a role in helping the PM do his job to his fullest. Like the brush and paint for an artist, a PM’s tools are essential to his work.

See project management in action