Atlassian Blog Series

How to make life easier as a project manager

Project managers are generally very organised and efficient people. However, they can also experience chaos in their work and in their life so there is always room for improvement. This explores how a project manager can create an easy life for themselves

Consider the 80/20 principle

Less is more

Project management (PM) is a vital modern skill, and an area that has been extensively studied. Many theories have been promulgated as to how project managers can make their lives easier, but essentially the answer seems to come down to two key points: developing and applying the same key skills that have always been necessary in this space, and making the most of advances in technology – especially project management software.

The skills are already there

There is no need to learn anything new

Successful project management is essentially about identifying goals and then marshalling resources (time, people, budget and technology) in such a way as to achieve these goals on time and within the allocated budget.

Project management is essentially a form of applied leadership, and therefore requires clarity of vision – and the ability to communicate this vision. Interpersonal and communication skills are vital – especially in the current circumstances when team members may all be working remotely without the opportunity to collaborate in person.

The more complex or time-sensitive the task, the more these skills will come to the fore. In addition, multiple perspectives need to be integrated: attention to detail plus strategic oversight. Project managers need to find a balance between granting team members an elevated degree of autonomy and adopting a hands-on approach.

This duality at the heart of the role speaks to another aspect of making life easier as a project manager: the ability to negotiate successfully and resolve conflicts speedily. These tensions could be between people or competing objectives or demands on resources.

As with any leadership endeavour, project management can be greatly simplified by recruiting the right people in the first place. A trusted team can not only speed up project delivery, but greatly reduce the incidence of errors and oversights.

Goal setting on expert mode

Specific Measurable Actionable Realistic Timely

Coding and software development have their own unique challenges but also have commonalities with other types of multi-stakeholder project. Therefore the same "golden rules" can be said to apply.

These include having specific objectives - often, the overall objective will be supplied by the client, but within this, project milestones must be determined and adhered to. In everything you do as a project manager, you should ensure that your goals are 'SMART'.

Record-keeping is also vital - in this way, learnings for future projects can be captured, and backmarkers established in the event that a roadblock is unreached and there is a need to rewind the project to a previous iteration.

Achieving consensus will also make your life as a project manager easier - when your entire team is in agreement, the road ahead will be a lot smoother.

While project management could be described as applied optimism, if the goals you set are realistic, you can transform the common causes of project management stress into powerful motivational factors: variables, having to make your own path, and working within parameters set by others.

Float like a butterfly

Sting like a bee

The software development industry has made two major contributions to easier modern project management - software PM tools, and introducing the world to agile project management. This approach is based on the principles of agile software development. Essentially, it's an iterative approach to break workflows down into short sections or 'sprints', and which emphasises collaboration and interactions over processes and tools.

EPS has you covered

We're great at project management

At EPS, we have leveraged our software development experience to engineer software products and methodologies that can make your life as a project manager significantly easier. To learn more about how we can help, visit

Learn more