Project management is an underestimated profession because you’re actually taking on the roles of several people, while managing a team of humans with unique personalities and motivations. You also have to do all of that while meeting tight deadlines and keeping the entire project under budget. Whether you’re a project manager already, will soon take on your first project or have ambitions to be a project manager, you might be surprised how many of the essential skills you need pop up in everyday life. What’s more, there are several ways to practice your project management skills outside of your professional day. Here are five of the more unusual ways to get you started.
Study leadership throughout history
There’s a misconception that there are born leaders and the rest of us are destined to follow. In reality, while it’s true that some may have traits and experience which may make leadership a more natural fit, there is also a lot to learn about leadership. This means that many people cannot only become better leaders than they already are, but can even become the best. Project managers are not only responsible for the completion of all the project’s elements, but also for motivating the rest of the team to achieve their best.
History is full of good, bad, successful and unsuccessful leaders and all of them had their own skills, strengths and weaknesses which we can and should be learning from in all aspects of life. The internet, the library and the bookstore is a treasure trove of local, national and international history as well as cultural, sociological, psychological and business related studies. Make your bedtime reading your time for expanding your understanding of leadership with Leadership Central.
Analyzing risk vs reward with online games
Risk management is an inherent part of project management as every decision includes an element of risk, whether small or large. The project manager needs to be able to anticipate future risk and potential problems, weigh up the risk vs reward ratio and plan a strategy which minimizes that risk. Occasionally decisions will feel like a bit of a gamble and not every problem is easy to anticipate, but that’s what contingency plans are for.
Risk reward ratio is something which any proficient project manager will better understand. If you don’t have much experience in risk to reward ratio or taking risks, a simple way to improve your understanding is to play some online games or place some bets with Unibet. Of course, you should always place bets responsibly.
Play with others (literally)
It should go without saying that communication is a key part of managing people and running a project effectively, but there are more ways to practice communication than through conversation. For example, a great way to improve both teamwork and communication is through team sports. Whether it’s tennis, soccer or baseball, you can work on paying attention to others, reading body language and supporting your team mates. Alternatively, consider taking part in a local theatre group where you can perform in public. You can learn to connect with both your fellow performers and your audience in order to improve your communication skills. Visit Lifehack for more tips on improving communication skills.
Plan an event – and keep it under budget
Planning an event is a complex project to manage professionally and there is nothing to stop you trying it in your personal life. The best part about doing so is that it enables you to practise several key project management skills because it is, of course, managing a project. The event has a date which means you need to plan everything to a schedule and all preparations (venue preparation, invitations, catering, entertainment etc.) will have a deadline which has to be met.
You will also need to set a budget and stick to it, so for the purposes of the exercise you might want to make it as tight as possible so you have a challenge. Finally, you can also practice delegation if you involve members of your friends or family who can take on responsibility for specific tasks. You’ll need to communicate with them throughout the process and keep them motivated to meet your deadlines. To help you get started, Capterra have collated a list of the best event planning apps.
Negotiate all the time
Every day we are likely to encounter several negotiations, but we may not realize it. From deciding where to go for dinner with your partner or friend, to coming to a price for something you’re buying at the market, there are opportunities to practice negotiation all over the place. You need to be able to listen, to empathize, to read body language and to resolve conflict, and this is all part of project management. You can also improve your negotiation skills by taking part in a course with Udemy.