5 Essential Principles for Universal Project Management Success

Prateek Sharma
2 min readApr 25, 2024

Various industries may offer diverse insights and techniques for project management. However, some essential principles apply universally across all projects, regardless of industry or specific factors involved. Recognizing this, I’ve compiled a list of the top five critical elements that are consistently significant.

  1. It’s crucial to always promise conservatively and deliver beyond expectations. Making grand promises but failing to meet them creates a negative impression, jeopardizing both your reputation and the project’s success. Management may become skeptical and mistrustful, hindering progress and potentially halting the project altogether. To maintain trust and credibility, it’s best to set modest expectations and exceed them whenever possible.
  2. When everything is labeled as urgent, nothing truly holds urgency. It’s crucial to understand that treating every task as equally urgent is a flawed approach to time management and project productivity. Effective project management involves identifying and prioritizing critical tasks. This is where tools like the Eisenhower Matrix come into play. If everything is categorized as high priority, then there’s no real prioritization happening — it’s merely a list of important items without distinction.
  3. Bad news doesn’t improve with time. It’s the responsibility of the project manager to present it in a way that enables management to make informed decisions promptly. Delays in delivering bad news only exacerbate the situation. Additionally, it’s important not to solely focus on the negative aspects of the project. Presenting the project as it truly stands, both its strengths and challenges, is essential. Ignoring or downplaying bad news won’t address the underlying issues.
  4. A common saying in the market emphasizes the importance of getting things right, even if it takes a second attempt. However, the initial crucial step is to begin the project. Many can initiate a project and encounter challenges along the way. Yet, it’s the individual who sees it through to completion and executes it flawlessly who earns the title of a proficient project manager. Therefore, the mantra is to start, refine, and perfect — a three-step process to success.
  5. When embarking on a project, you must prioritize two out of three options: fast, cheap, or good. You cannot have all three simultaneously. Additionally, it’s essential to recognize that plans may unravel when faced with unexpected challenges, emphasizing the importance of thorough planning to avoid failure. Deadlines hold no value unless they are met with action, as project schedules quickly become outdated once printed. In large or esteemed organizations, it’s preferable to align with the majority than to stand alone in error. Lastly, while meetings may seem unnecessary when one is hesitant to take action, they remain indispensable for effective communication and decision-making.

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Prateek Sharma

A lifelong learner with keen interest in tech automation, finance & economics.