With 2018 drawing to a close, it’s a great time to agree new year’s resolutions. I would always propose that you are focusing on improving yourself throughout the year. However, a new year is always a good time to make some intentional changes to your approach and your attitude. But, what would be good new year’s resolutions for project managers?

Here are 4 new year’s resolutions that every project manager should make for 2019:

1. Stop firefighting on your project, start managing it

Too many project managers end up flying by the seat of their pants. They begin a project with the right vision for how to run a project. It’s a classic pitfall for project managers actually. Mike Tyson alluded to it best when he said:

“Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”

New year’s resolution for project managers: Plan your project and stick to it

This year, make sure you create your plan early on in your project. Once you’ve done this, it will be critical to effectively identify and manage risks. This will allow you to take relevant action ahead of time and will stop you from running around fighting fires all of the time.

2. Build better relationships

Stakeholders are critical to every project. However, too many project managers find it too tough to go great stakeholder engagement. Instead, many opt for the easy path when it comes to communication and stakeholder management. “They’ll come around to it” as a stakeholder strategy just won’t work in this competitive world!

New year’s resolution for project managers: Build better relationships with stakeholders

Start off the year by setting up meetings with all of your stakeholders. The aim should be for you to understand their perspective on your project and to learn from their experiences and background.

3. Stop the biggest drain on your time

Too much time is wasted in meetings. In this fast moving world which is transforming around us, how long can you wait around in meetings? Too many meetings last for too long. They have too many people, and thus cost too much money. In fact, too many meetings go round and round in circles and never come to a good conclusion or decision.

Don’t stand for this any more.

New year’s resolution for project managers: Run more productive meetings

You have two types of meeting that you attend. Those you run and those you don’t. To begin, start with those meetings that you do run. Now, in these meetings, you have the responsibility to run good meetings. You have the authority to make changes and improvements. Plus, you have the duty to use your company’s resources (people) effectively and efficiently. To do all of these, you must plan and run effective project meetings.

To help you out, here is a short video with 4 steps to effectively plan your meetings.

And for those meetings that you don’t run… Just share the above video with the facilitator as a gentle hint to help them improve their meetings!

Actually, that video is a snippet from a recent episode of my podcast, the Retail Transformation Show. Take a listen to learn how to plan effective meetings.

4. Stay mentally fit and healthy

Project managers can get easily stressed. It’s not a surprise really. There is often so much going on. Plus, companies are often reliant on successful project delivery to support growth and profit plans. And that pressure generally finds itself to the project manager’s shoulders. Your shoulders. So you need to look after yourself.

New year’s resolution for project managers: Look after your mental wellbeing

You must look after yourself to become a successful project manager. Although it can be hard to be a Project Manager without losing your mind sometimes. Therefore, follow these tips for dealing with project manager stress to help take some of the weight off of your shoulders and combat stress properly.

Finally – it wouldn’t be a proper new year’s resolution without some sort of reference to getting physically into shape – right? However, I’m not proposing that you sign up for a gym membership, a fad diet or some celebrity fitness video. Instead, here are some actionable tips to stay fit, healthy and happy as a project manager.

The bottom line – be intentional with your new year’s resolutions to be a better project manager in 2019

Above all, you must commit to becoming a better project manager in 2019. Take action, intentionally. Don’t wait for that proverbial “punch in the mouth” as Mr Tyson puts it. The start of a new year is as good a time as any to set up some resolutions and commitments to become a better project manager.

In any event, by laying out some new year’s resolutions for project managers, I hope to inspire you to take action. So, I’d love to hear from you – what new year’s resolutions are you setting yourself for 2019?

project management expert Oliver BanksAbout the Author: Oliver Banks

Oliver Banks is an expert at delivering retail change projects and programmes. In fact, he’s tried a number of different techniques since starting to work on projects in 2003. In essence, he blends classic project management techniques from PRINCE2, PMBOK and Lean Six Sigma with a dose of pragmatism and business reality to ensure retail projects are led, managed and delivered successfully.


project management expert Oliver Banks

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