As a project manager, it’s important that you start off your new projects the right way. Sometimes you may get a brand new project , other times you may need to take over a project that’s already in flight or has stalled. Either way, there a few recommendations I have to get the ball rolling.

First, focus on relationships and getting the inside scoop. Find out who the key resources and stakeholders are, then talk to them. Talk to them in a comfortable atmosphere so they can relax and give you their honest insight. This is where you will find out what type of project you are dealing with. You’ll discover the good, bad and the ugly. You won’t get this information in formal project meetings. You will also get to know your stakeholders and build trust, which is critical.

Next, focus on building momentum. You start to build momentum when you take action and create a sense of urgency. Set up your project meetings, schedule a kickoff and communicate status to all stakeholders. The key here is communication. Communicate often, the more the better! Update your stakeholders via email, in person updates, and status files. Under communication is a common mistake project managers make. If you bump into a stakeholder in the hall, they should know exactly the state of the project. They should feel the momentum.

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