8 Useful Tips for Freelance Project Managers

A project manager is expected to be better organized than others in the team no matter what project you are involved with. Whether your special forte is as simple as using the rubbish basket as your primary filing cabinet to having every document ever received date stamped and filed in its appropriate place, you will be expected to have some technical knowledge of the project you are expecting to manage, so do your homework thoroughly. It also helps if you come across as a person who will be able to get along well with other people  Communication and team management skills are what most projects need in their project manager, as whatever the situation, controlled confidence will always be your road to success.

All these skills are an important attribute for any aspiring project manager to have, as well as being proficient at negotiating and the ability to handle difficult clients with a good sense of humor. A good project manager is highly sought after. This means you may not always be able to be ‘hands on,’ as it is often possible to carry out your job from a distance, even from another country, depending on what type of project it is. Freelance project managers usually carry out their work outside the normal company structures and this means not being a part of the company’s normal communication network.

Many current project managers also consider getting their project management masters degree to help advance their career.

A good project manager must therefore be able to take on the following responsibilities:

  1. You will have to be able to keep your team morale high even if it means you having to work harder that you should have to. If the set up is such that you can-not get everyone in the same room together, remember that the telephone is more personal than either an email or video call. A phone call is also far more intimate if a person to person discussion is required.
  2. If it happens that some members of your team are living in other countries, remain sensitive to any cultural differences. Some cultures have an inbuilt tendency towards wanting to please and are hesitant in bringing up any part of the project that may be failing. Be sensitive to these differences and learn to ‘read between the lines.’
  3. Where it is impossible to get your team members together, use the features of Skype or some other VoIP service to have face to face meetings. Video conferencing in this manner is becoming a very important tool used by many project mangers to help lead their project team to ultimate success.
  4. Always remain aware that you are most likely dealing with team members who are also freelancers and therefore involved in other projects besides the one you are managing. To overcome any apathy from other team members towards your project, establish regular team updates.
  5. The internet has free applications on project management which you can have all your team members download. By doing this you will all be using the same software. This will facilitate you all sharing your project plans between each other. If any training sessions are required to bring everybody up to speed it will be time well spent.
  6. Whatever software you choose, make certain everybody can open all the files and that they are able to be downloaded onto all team member’s computers. There are special systems available that allow the sharing of large folders and files.
  7. Always be aware of language barriers. This is true within countries where English is the prominent language as much as in countries where English is not the primary language. This means that you will always have to make certain any terminology is fully understood by all people concerned rather than just assuming that this will be the case.
  8. Right from the very beginning of your project ensure all team members fully understand the project priorities and objectives and that they all appreciate their roles in the whole scheme of things. In this way you will be in a better position to identify any confusion before it gets out of hand.

If you feel you have the ability to take on the role of a freelance project manager don’t hesitate to have a go. There is much advice out there that you can fall back on and you will find the extra responsibility very self rewarding. It is possible to earn quite good money as a project manager but it can come with quite a high stress level as well. It is all about managing the work of other people and if they don’t report back as frequently as they should it can make for hard times. It sometimes happens that although the project you are managing is very important to you, it might not have such an important position in the eyes of one or more of your team members. If you are thinking seriously of taking on such a position, you will have to insist that you are given sufficient power to effectively manage resources that have been assigned to the project. In short it is all about managing expectations and risks. If can do that you will make a go of it.

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.