10 Strategies to Effectively Manage Project Managers

10 Strategies to Effectively Manage Project Managers

The best project managers have the potential to consistently hit targets and create a sustainable pathway to growth.

However, businesses need to guide, steer, and enable project managers to be able to execute at a higher success rate with efficiency.

This article will explain the importance of managing project managers, the challenges it entails, and 10 key management strategies to ensure your project managers feel motivated and supported in their roles.

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Challenges of Managing Project Managers

In the context of enterprise project management, managing project managers entails overseeing their process and enabling their growth and success within an organization.

It involves providing them with the direction, support, and resources needed to succeed while holding them accountable for results. Such an approach empowers them to lead the team and manage a project effectively.

By managing your project management team well, you can: 

  • Optimize your project outcomes  
  • Enhance efficiency of your processes and workflows
  • Foster a culture of continuous improvement within the team

With this basic understanding in mind, let’s look at why you should be managing your project managers.

The need for managing project managers

Despite their leadership roles, project managers often require oversight and guidance. Considering their vast responsibilities, they often juggle multiple complex projects, each with unique challenges and stakeholders.

Neglecting this need for oversight will lead to missed deadlines, budget overruns, workload stress, and project failure., Here are four benefits and consequences of effective project manager management:

Key benefits

  • Improved project success rates: Clear direction, support, and feedback from management enhance a project manager’s decision-making and problem-solving skills, directly impacting current and future project outcomes
  • Increased efficiency: Through management, businesses are more likely to identify and address bottlenecks, optimize resource allocation, and streamline processes. When blockers are effectively addressed, businesses will see a faster and more efficient project delivery
  • Enhanced team morale: A well-managed project manager is better equipped to motivate and support the entire team. This drives job satisfaction and productivity
  • Reduced risk: With a bird’s-eye view of project portfolios, businesses identify potential risks early on and take proactive measures to mitigate them

Dire consequences

  • Project delays and failures: When overworked project managers are not spotted and managed, they are more likely to miss deadlines, make critical errors, and be exposed to unmonitored scope creep
  • Resource waste: Without oversight, a team exposes the business to poor resource management. This carries the risk of inefficient use of budgets and staff, which directly affects the bottom line
  • Low morale and high turnover: Unsupported managers may become demotivated, leading to decreased productivity and increased turnover
  • Damaged reputation: Failed projects tarnish a company’s reputation and negatively impact future business opportunities

With the benefits and consequences in mind, a centralized command can help you manage your project managers effectively. Let’s learn a little more about the concept and its significance.

Centralized command for project management

In traditional project management, a centralized command breathes structure and serves as compliance and supervisory authority in each project team.

While you don’t want extreme oversight and micromanagement, a centralized authority, often a project management office (PMO) or a senior project manager, can provide unified vision and direction for all ongoing projects.

Here are five ways a centralized command empowers a business’s project management team:

  • Streamlined communication: A central command eliminates silos and ensures that information flows seamlessly across all projects. This prevents miscommunications, delays, and duplicated efforts
  • Optimized resource allocation: With a comprehensive view of all projects, the central command is more equipped to efficiently allocate resources, such as budget, staff, or equipment, where they are needed most. This maximizes efficiency and minimizes waste
  • Improved decision-making: Centralized decision-making ensures consistency and avoids conflicting priorities. This is particularly crucial when resources are limited and difficult choices need to be made
  • Standardized processes and practices: With a centralized command, businesses establish and enforce standardized project management methodologies, tools, and reporting more seamlessly. This ensures consistency and quality across the entire project management lifecycle
  • Increased visibility and control: The central command provides senior management with a clear overview of project portfolios, enabling them to track progress, identify risks, and make informed decisions

Adopting this approach’s primary focus is to empower project managers by providing them with the support and resources they need. It also ensures accountability and alignment with the organization’s strategic goals.

Key attributes of the ideal project manager

Once your centralized command is set, you must look at your project managers individually. Do they have the right set of skills?

Project managers need a diverse yet specific skill set to create an effective and continuously improving management system. Here are the essential qualities to look out for:

  • Leadership: The ability to inspire, motivate, and guide a team towards a common goal. This involves setting a clear vision, delegating tasks effectively, and providing constructive feedback
  • Communication: Strong verbal and written communication skills are crucial for building rapport with stakeholders, clarifying expectations, and resolving conflicts
  • Technical knowledge: Managers must have a solid understanding of the project’s subject matter. Technical expertise enables them to make informed decisions, evaluate risks, and troubleshoot issues
  • Problem-solving: Project managers must be skilled in identifying and analyzing problems. They should also be able to propose creative solutions and implement them effectively
  • Organizational skills: Planning, prioritizing, and managing multiple tasks in an organized manner is essential for keeping projects on track and within budget
  • Adaptability: Project managers must be flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances, client demands, and unforeseen challenges

By combining these skills with knowledge of project management methods like agile and waterfall, you can build management systems that help teams succeed and grow instead of controlling them too much. 

A thorough grasp of project management methodology equips managers with a structured approach to planning, executing, and controlling projects. It also ensures that project execution meets the required quality standards and helps managers overcome the challenges of project management.

Challenges of managing project managers

While the benefits are tremendous, managing project managers often comes with its own unique set of challenges. Understanding these challenges is the first step toward effectively addressing them.

Here are some key challenges to keep in mind:

  • Balancing autonomy and oversight: The balance of empowering project managers with autonomy and providing sufficient oversight is tricky. Too much control stifles initiative and creativity, while too little leads to misdirection or missed opportunities
  • Managing conflicting priorities: Project managers often juggle multiple projects with competing deadlines and resource needs. Helping them prioritize and allocate resources effectively is a key challenge for leaders
  • Addressing performance issues: Dealing with underperforming project managers requires a delicate approach. It’s important to provide constructive feedback, offer support and training, and, if necessary, take corrective action to ensure project success
  • Adapting to change: The project management landscape constantly witnesses new methodologies, technologies, and best practices emerging. It is always a challenge to keep project managers up-to-date and ensure that they are equipped to handle any changes
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How to Manage Project Managers

Businesses that understand the importance of a strong project manager and centralized command authority have a clear edge over competitors. While project execution and key performance indicators remain paramount, effective strategies and practices ensure consistent quality in every new project.

Here are 10 strategies that are integral in effectively managing product managers:

1. Establish goals through roadmaps

Clear expectations, well-defined goals, and comprehensive roadmaps are the bedrock of effective project management. Setting and documenting clear expectations has the potential to guide and simplify the project management process, while effectively overseeing project managers. Through this strategy, your business can align managers with organizational objectives and fosters a sense of accountability.

One of the most effective ways of establishing goals and objectives for your managers is through a roadmap. This method’s specificity ensures everyone understands ‘what needs to be done’.

Moreover, these goals should be tangible and measurable. Measurability enables objective progress tracking, achievability sustains motivation, and clear goals directly link to broader organizational objectives.

As a leading project management platform, ClickUp offers numerous goal-setting and roadmap templates to help you adopt this strategy seamlessly.

Effortlessly set, track, and achieve goals according to your timelines with the ClickUp Roadmap Template

ClickUp’s Project Roadmap Template allows you to define your project requirements, set the intended delivery date, and establish your manager’s project milestones. The template also lets you assign tasks to collaborate seamlessly with cross-functional teams. It is ideal to craft a visual timeline for your manager to deliver projects.

ClickUp also features an inbuilt tool integrated into every template and profile called ClickUp Goals.

ClickUp Goals 
Set and track the project goals of your manager and team members with ClickUp Goals

This tool allows you to set objectives, track the project’s progress, and instantly assign tasks to the stakeholders involved. ClickUp Goals also offers the option of organizing your goals in easy-to-access folders and sending out weekly scorecards to understand your manager’s growth concerning organizational targets.

2. Provide regular feedback and coaching

Facilitating feedback and coaching is a strategy that focuses on creating a better project manager. This approach empowers project managers, focuses on reaching their full potential, and drives the project forward to success.

When adopted as a strategy, a continuous cycle of assessment, guidance, and growth forms a pillar of individual and organizational success.

Here are the key delivery elements of this strategy:

  • Performance reviews: Regular reviews create a structured space for honest and constructive conversations about a project manager’s strengths, weaknesses, and overall performance. Performance reviews become an excellent development approach highlighting areas where managers may need additional training or support
  • Actionable feedback: Delivering specific and actionable feedback on behaviors and outcomes gives project managers clear direction on enhancing their skills and performance. Instead of vague points during an annual appraisal, your feedback should cover a relatable context and be delivered as freshly as possible to take quicker steps for improvement
  • Positive reinforcement: While identifying improvements is vital, recognizing achievements and successes is essential to motivate managers to strive for excellence. Small wins should be acknowledged, as they contribute to a positive work environment and a sense of accomplishment
  • Constructive and empathetic criticism: When delivered with empathy and guidance, constructive criticism helps project managers identify and address areas for improvement. It focuses on growth and development rather than blame, fostering a collaborative approach to problem-solving
  • Personalized guidance: Effective coaching surpasses regular feedback and centers on personalized support and guidance. It involves working with project managers to set development goals, identify resources and training opportunities, and overcome challenges. This individualized approach tailors to their specific needs and career aspirations, and helps project managers develop their skills and knowledge

These delivery elements benefit individual project managers and can strengthen the entire project management team. ClickUp’s Performance Review Template is a perfect fit to facilitate this positive learning and leading approach.

Deliver constructive feedback and create a clear performance dialog to foster growth with Clickup’s Performance Review Template.

The ClickUp Performance Review Template streamlines the process of reviewing progress and exchanging feedback. It is ideal for efficiently tracking and assessing employee performance. This ClickUp template focuses on the manager’s growth and helps you organize 360° evaluations from multiple stakeholders. It also fosters a culture of transparency and trust between project manager and management.

3. Drive collaboration and communication

Open communication and collaboration are the lifeblood of successful project management. When project managers work together as a cohesive unit, they share knowledge, overcome challenges, and achieve results that surpass individual efforts.

When managing product managers, this strategy can help foster a collaborative culture among the manager and the entire team. Here is how this strategy is successfully implemented:

  • Build a collective intelligence hub: Foster a culture of open communication and knowledge sharing where product managers actively contribute their expertise and lessons learned. This is done by creating a centralized repository of best practices, lessons learned, and innovative solutions readily accessible to all
  • Facilitate peer-to-peer mentoring and support system: Establish regular interactions and collaboration among managers through a supportive network system. This allows them to brainstorm solutions, exchange experiences, and learn from each other’s successes and failures, building a sense of community and shared purpose
  • Streamline your communication channels: Collaborative tools and cloud-based document sharing are fundamental for efficient communication channels. Incorporating this ensures everyone has real-time access to the latest project information, eliminates information silos, and facilitates swift decision-making
  • Enable transparent progress tracking: Fostering transparency in communication encourages product managers to share their progress, challenges, and concerns openly. This drives trust and accountability, guarantees early identification of potential issues, and enables proactive problem-solving and course correction

Fostering a collaborative and communicative environment empowers project managers to succeed and streamline their own efforts. 

ClickUp Whiteboard for team collaboration
Visualize your entire team’s ideation process, present the project management processes, and get all stakeholders  on the same page with the ClickUp Whiteboards

ClickUp Whiteboards is the perfect collaboration tool for every project stage. It is a brainstorming and ideation canvas for establishing workflows and visualizing the intended project plan. Project team members and managers contribute and share their ideas in real time, enabling a more streamlined approach to team management.

ClickUp's Chat View
Delegate tasks,tag team members, and effectively manage projects with the ClickUp Chat View

ClickUp Chat View is the ideal way for the management team to stay in constant touch with the status of project deadlines. This tool allows you to tag other team members and instantly link project tasks even while interacting on personal chat windows. It also enables you to delegate tasks, streamline meetings, and drive up team communication. 

Security giants STANLEY used ClickUp to boost teamwork by 80% and save 8 hours every week in managing meetings and updates for their UK and Central Europe teams.

“Our challenge was to create a virtual organization that provided enough structure without stifling the different teams, all with a different culture and work style. The secret sauce was to embrace a truly bottoms up approach with everybody sharing their best practices along the way. The result has been a collaborative virtual culture that is truly self-directed and constantly self-improving through user innovation and feedback.”

David CornerDigital Manager at STANLEY Europe

4. Prioritize resource management

A business must ensure its resources are optimized to meet its project managers’ tasks. Prioritizing resource management is crucial for effectively governing and enabling project managers.

While the strategy revolves around adequate budgets, staff, and equipment, it also involves assisting managers in utilizing their resources and accurately forecasting their needs. With this approach, managers will be able to confidently make informed decisions and mitigate resource-related bottlenecks through effective prioritization.

Here’s how this strategy is best executed:

Conduct comprehensive resource mapping

Businesses must conduct a thorough resource mapping of project requirements. This includes the specific skills, expertise, and time commitments needed for each task. This detailed understanding brings your team’s capacity, capabilities, availability, project risks and potential limitations to the surface.

While this strategy is extensive, when businesses collaborate with respective project managers, they create an effective strategic allocation plan. This includes aligning budget, personnel, and equipment with the project’s critical path and priorities.

Comprehensive resource mapping ensures critical activities have the resources necessary for successful completion while preventing overallocation or underutilization.

Facilitate a robust decision-making framework

Another effective resource management approach is to create a foundation to strengthen each of the 12 project management principles. Utilize resource data to model different project scenarios, consider potential resource constraints and their impact on timelines and deliverables.

This allows project managers to make informed choices and gives them real-time visibility into resource utilization. This process strengthens the planning stage through proactive communication and ensures the project meets all stakeholder expectations.

Equip project managers with an agile problem-solving toolkit

Managing project managers involves equipping them with contingency plans to address unexpected resource shortages or unforeseen challenges. This agile project management approach minimizes disruptions and ensures project progress continues even when unforeseen circumstances arise.

Provide your managers with a problem-solving toolkit that aligns with your business objectives. It does more than empower them to handle negotiations and a clear escalation matrix to ensure project success. Such a toolkit can also mitigate the chances of project scope creep and streamline a project manager’s accountability and workload.

Balancing your project manager’s resources with business demands regularly is challenging. ClickUp Resource Management Software is an end-to-end solution developed to consolidate company assets, track time, and form management into a single place for smarter resource allocation.

ClickUp’s Resource Management Software
Allocate and track your resources as per your project manager’s needs with the ClickUp Resource Management Software

The software allows you to visualize your resource utilization, personnel workload, and project tasks seamlessly. Its  expansive set of features, connected with built-in tools such as ClickUp Whiteboards, Chats, and Goals, helps you allocate resources and support your team with real-time project data.

5. Implement AI-powered tools

AI-powered project management tools have the potential to automate a large portion of managing project managers. These tools focus on streamlining project planning, task allocation, and successful project management.

AI has the potential to act as your project’s central nervous system. It can provide you with a consolidated view of all activities and objectives, performs tedious data gathering, and forecasts possible roadblocks.

ClickUp Brain
Instantly gain progress updates and project summaries from a few simple prompts with ClickUp Brain

ClickUp Brain is an AI tool that is integrated into every feature the ClickUp platform offers. When applied as an AI Project Manager, the tool shares progress updates and generates summaries to give you a quick overview of your project manager’s workload.

ClickUp Brain also shares insights on how the team is loaded and helps identify potential roadblocks early on. With just a mention of the project manager, task, or goal, it assesses project health and offers data-driven decisions to optimize resource allocation.

Using ClickUp AI to write a project brief
Seamlessly generate project briefs, PRDs, and transcripts with ClickUp Brain’s AI Writer for Work

Another ClickUp Brain application that benefits managers and managing authority is the AI Writer for Work. This application creates transcripts of recorded meetings, generates project requirement documentation, and generates instant templates for every possible use case.

6. Focus on continuous improvement

By fostering continuous improvement, you can help build a growth mindset in your project managers. This strategy focuses on creating transformative growth for the organization and nurturing the best project managers.

Here are some effective methods to manage project managers that adopt a continuous improvement approach:

  • Accepting mistakes for growth: By encouraging project managers to analyze failures, you create a safe space for learning. This transforms setbacks into valuable lessons, leading to more effective decision-making in the future. Project managers prevent similar issues in future projects by analyzing the root cause and implementing improved communication protocols
  • Encouraging innovation: When businesses empower managers to experiment with their unique project management styles and suggest improvements, they become more engaged and invested in their roles. This fosters a proactive approach to problem-solving

Encouraging managers to pilot their new approach on  smaller projects, you can create an environment where innovation flourishes. When successful, this new approach benefits multiple business verticals and future projects.

Fast-track improvements from past mistakes with ClickUp’s Project Management Lesson Learned Template

The ClickUp Project Management Lessons Learned is the ideal template for businesses to foster continuous improvement. It enables the involved team members to track and document successes for the business to replicate in future projects. It also helps you jot down goals, analyze missteps, and assign action plans for improvement.

7. Offer professional development opportunities

Investing in professional development directly enhances the skills and capabilities of your project managers, making their management easier and less intensive.

Here are the two key aspects that this strategy focuses on:

  • Skill enhancement: Businesses must encourage project managers to undergo training and certifications. This approach will address knowledge gaps and equip them to handle and adapt to complex challenges. Learning environments also keep every manager’s skills relevant and reduce the need for intervention when unforeseen changes or challenges arise
  • Career journey mapping: When a project manager’s career aspirations align with the organization’s goals, there is greater synergy and drive to accomplish targets. Businesses must map their employees’ career paths and support their journeys. This results in a stronger relationship and transparently communicates that the project manager’s needs are valued
Align your project manager’s professional goals, set milestones, and visualize their progress with the ClickUp Career Path Template

ClickUp’s Career Path Template allows businesses to visualize an employee’s career trajectory, set achievable milestones, and track progress toward professional goals. This template helps employees understand the skills they need to develop and gives businesses insights into potential workforce gaps and performance evaluation. This template fits right in to effectively map and develop a project manager toward the organization and aspirational goals.

8. Empower project managers to lead

Trusting your project managers to make decisions within defined parameters shows confidence in their abilities and judgment. This fosters a positive working relationship, motivates them to excel, and demonstrates their contributions are valued.

By involving project managers in the decision-making process, you leverage their expertise and encourage them to take ownership of project outcomes. 

When project managers take ownership, it emphasizes that they are accountable for the success of their projects. This encourages them to take initiative, solve problems proactively, and manage their teams effectively. 

Pro tip: This approach is best coupled with a regular review of expectations and the latest goals.

9. Utilize dashboards and reporting

Dashboards are vital parts of management systems. They provide a visual snapshot of key project performance indicators (KPIs) such as progress, resource utilization, and quality metrics. These real-time insights reveal potential roadblocks or areas a project manager might struggle with.

Dashboards and reports facilitate proactive problem-solving by identifying trends and potential issues early on. 

ClickUp features an excellent management reporting template that delivers comprehensive, customizable, and easily digestible reports to all stakeholders.

Organize and visualize data into easy-to-understand reports with ClickUp Management Report Template

The ClickUp Management Report Template organizes and visualizes your data based on customizable KPIs. It is a reporting tool focused on identifying trends and scopes of improvement within your project or team. The template allows you to monitor progress, measure performance, assess risks, and make informed decisions based on data-driven insights.

10. Celebrate success and recognize achievements

By recognizing and rewarding achievements, you cultivate positive leadership, reinforcing the behaviors and actions that drive organizational excellence.

This strategy boosts morale, motivation, increased and productivity. It also strengthens team bonds and fosters a collaborative work environment where project managers feel valued, supported, and empowered to exceed expectations.

As the project manager’s state of mind is also an element that steers successful project management, businesses must adopt this strategy to help cultivate a workplace environment that is more receptive and welcoming to a managing authority.

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Empower Your Project Managers with ClickUp

As we’ve seen above, managing your project managers goes beyond the regular people management strategies. From resource planning tools to solid contingency systems, your project managers need comprehensive project management solutions to continuously drive performance and revenue.

But you don’t have to invest in multiple tools to make this happen.

ClickUp Project Management Software can be an end-to-end solution for all your management needs!

ClickUp's OKR Dashboard
Devise clearer goals, meet project deadlines faster, and manage your people better with ClickUp’s Project Management Software

The ClickUp Project Management Software is a comprehensive solution that allows you to set goals, establish metrics, and assign tasks seamlessly. It also comes packed with over 1000+ ready-to-use tools, including ClickUp API, to customize every solution and assist you in guiding your project managers.

You can use it to:

  • Create, delegate and track tasks using ClickUp Tasks
  • Streamline your project requirements with ClickUp Docs and enable better transparency for project managers
  • Use ClickUp Brain to automatically generate documentation and link tasks to the appropriate workflows
  • Create and track dependencies using Relationships in ClickUp and build connected workflows

When managing project managers, ClickUp can serve as your unified command center enabling team collaboration, reducing delivery timelines, and increasing the quality of your KPIs. 

Bowling equipment manufacturer QubicaAMF used ClickUp in its PMO and was able to increase on-time project delivery by 35% and save 40% of the time spent generating reports.

“Our team can now work on the same project together and communicate with any stakeholder instantly, wherever they are. ClickUp houses all of our projects—previous, current, and future.”

Charles FreyProcess Manager at QubicaAMF
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Steering Project Management to Perfection

Whether your project managers are newbies full of potential or seasoned delivery experts, your business must be equipped to support and steer them toward success, efficiency, and continuous improvement.

With the 10 strategies we have covered in this article, you are well on your way to seeing a transformative improvement in project delivery in quality and timelines. 

All that’s left is choosing the right project management software, and we recommend ClickUp, an all-in-one platform designed to meet all your project management needs.

Sign up for ClickUp and steer your project management to perfection!

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