As Executive Vice President  and Chief Operating Officer of HTS, Kelly Guzman, RN, MN, has years of experience in the healthcare industry and has provided the company with services in transition planning and project management. In the following interview, Kelly offers several tips on how to be an effective project manager, for both the seasoned expert and the newcomer.

Q: What, in your opinion, is the secret to effective Project Management?

A: Saying what you do and doing what you say. It sounds simple, but the real key is communication – communicating your plan and knowing your plan inside-out. Also knowing who your key stakeholders are and maintaining good relationships with them will ensure your project’s success. I guess that’s more than just one secret (laughs) but the truth is, project management is a complicated thing and there is more than just one way to assure success.

Q: How do you deal with a difficult client (i.e. one that is ‘hard to work with’)?

A: Well, in my experience, when someone is difficult to work with it is, more often than not, because they don’t know enough about what’s going on, what we’re asking them to do or what they need to do. What I find helpful to do in such situations is to arrange some time with the client, sit down and inform them on the details of the project, breaking the information down to little manageable pieces: Here’s what’s been done today, here’s what going to happen tomorrow, here’s what still needs to be done, and here’s what we can expect in the future. I find that once the client is more “in the know,” it is simply a matter of time before they are easier to work with.

Q: What is your take on micromanagement? Is it an effective way to lead a project?

A: The short answer: No. But, certainly some things need to be micromanaged, but they’re usually things on a more ‘macro’ scale, like, for example, budgetary issues and scheduling. The usual day-to-day activities, however, do not benefit from micromanagement and, in fact, often suffer from micromanaging practices. You should be managing by outcomes and establishing milestones first. Micromanage those kinds of things, not people.

Q: Do you have any advice for young leaders who are just starting out in the world of project management?

A: Find a good mentor. Ask a lot of questions, take a lot of notes. Find someone with great experience and learn from them. It is important that you start by challenging yourself constantly, volunteering to do things even beyond your scope. Most important of all, take initiative. That’s really what’ll separate you, as a leader, from the rest. That way, soon enough, people will be seeking you out rather than you them.

Magdaleno Rosales, Press & Advertising Intern, HTS, Inc.