So here we are, less than two weeks away from Christmas, and you’re still trying to figure out what to get for the project manager in your life. Not to worry, there’s still plenty of time, as long as you get on-task right this moment. And to help you with that, here’s Unito’s 2021 Gift Guide for Project Managers.
Whether you want to give them something that’ll make their day-to-day at the office a bit easier, or a great read for all the time they’ll be spending by the fireplace over the holidays, this guide has you covered.
Here’s our guide to helping your project manager have a better day at the office.
A new keyboard: The project manager in your life is probably writing more than anyone else in the office — except maybe the copywriters. They’re writing tons of emails, setting up meetings in Slack, and writing out reports and project updates. If the office-supplied keyboard isn’t doing it for them, you should consider upgrading them. You’ll probably want to stay away from the loud clacks of mechanical keyboards, especially if you’re working in an open office. Check TechRadar’s list of the year’s top ten keyboards for some inspiration.
Noise-canceling headphones: Nothing says focus mode like a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. Your project manager is probably getting pulled into meetings or tapped for advice throughout the day. This makes a great gift if your project manager needs to get more work done.
Serious snacks: Is your project manager a hardcore snacker? Are they always running out to the corner store to grab something? With winter coming up, that snack run is going to get a lot more unpleasant. You can put an end to it by finding a snack you know they like and setting them up with their own stash. You could even hook them up with a snack subscription service.
Better coffee: Whether your project manager is really into coffee or just sick of refilling the coffee machine in the break room, this gift is a no-brainer. Find a good quality roast and get them a good supply of it. If you’re not sure what to get — or your PM is especially picky — you can sign them up for a coffee subscription.
Bonus idea: If your project manager isn’t a coffee drinker, get them a tea sampler instead. Check out one of the tea places near your office; they’ve usually got samplers ready for the holidays. And you might just help your PM discover their new favorite tea.
Project managers tend to be be well-read. Here are our picks for must-read books this year.
Brave New Work by Aaron Dignan: If your project manager hates bureaucracy and red tape, this is the book for them. Whether they’re looking for ways to get the team working at their best — or they just want to be proven right — this is a great read.
The Making Of A Manager by Julie Zhuo: The book’s tagline says it all: “This is the handbook you need to be the kind of manager you wish you had.” This is a must-read for leaders, whether they’re new to the game or not.
Nine Lies About Work by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall: This book is for the freethinking project manager, the one who challenges the status quo for their team. The book features real work stories and analyses of the things we take for granted at work.
The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek: Project managers know that the project never really ends. Sure, there’s a beginning, middle, and end (followed by a retrospective), but there’s always a new project. And if you’re using Agile methodology, your life is a series of sprints. This book is for the PM who wants to not just survive, but thrive in it.
Range: Why Generalists Triumph In A Specialized World by David Epstein: Project managers might just be the biggest generalists out there. They have to be able to tune into whatever their team is working on, be it sales, marketing, or development.
Bonus idea: If your project manager is always loaning out books and never getting them back, get them this personal library kit.
On the go
Project managers are always running — or flying — around doing what needs to be done to keep projects moving smoothly. Here’s how you can make that easier for them.
Portable power bank: Whether they’re meeting new hires in a coffee shop or travelling to keep a project going, the last thing a project manager needs is a dead device. A power bank can give their devices a boost to get through a long day on the road.
Passport holder: If your project manager is often flying for meetings and conventions, a passport holder is a great way to help them keep their travel a bit more organized. We recommend models with extra pockets for boarding passes and a couple of cards.
Bluetooth earbuds: Your project manager needs to be up to date on blockers and project updates. That means they need to be able to take a call even if they’re stuck in traffic or on the metro. With Bluetooth earbuds, your project manager can stay in the loop no matter where they are.
Travel mug: Maybe your project manager’s got their own gourmet brand of coffee, and they have no interest in waiting in line at Starbucks. But that means they need somewhere to keep that great coffee warm. Get them a slick, quality travel mug to show them you care about keeping them caffeinated. Plus, it means they’re not throwing away disposable cups every day.
A better bag: If your project manager is the carry-on only type of traveler, they’ll really appreciate having purpose-built carry-on luggage. If they’re a commuter, a nice, compact bag that can be carried in more than one way is great for those crowded mornings in the subway. We like this one from Gear Patrol.
Here are some gift ideas that’ll help your project manager add a bit to the “life” side of their work-life balance.
Blue Apron: Between endless meetings, team outings, and projects, the project manager in your life might have to eat out more than they’d like. If you know they want to eat in, but they’re not sure where to start, get them a gift card for Blue Apron.
Wake-up light alarm clock: The iPhone alarm is a terrible sound to wake up to. No wonder it’s so easy to snooze in the morning. Contribute to a better morning by getting your project manager something like this alarm clock which simulates sunrise by gradually brightening up the room rather than just blaring in their ears.
Bubble wrap calendar: Being a project manager is all kinds of stressful. Offer the PM in your life a bit of stress-relief with a calendar that really pops. Probably best for project managers with their own office.
Vacation hand-off: Your project manager might not feel like they can take a vacation if their phone’s always buzzing while they’re away. If you want your project manager to have a restful holiday, get together with your team and figure out ways that you can run your project independently from your project manager, even if it’s just for a week or so. They’ll thank you for it.
Plan the team outing: A team outing is a great way to make your team more close-knit, especially if you’ve just had a wave of new hires. But your project manager’s got enough on their plate without needing to organize an outing on top of it. So get the all-clear from them to plan the outing, and then own it. You’ll be contributing to the team’s overall cohesion, and taking some weight off of your project manager’s shoulders just in time for the holidays.
And there you have it, 20 gift ideas for the project manager in your life. Any of these are sure to bring a smile to your project manager’s face — and make their life a little bit easier. Now, after you’ve got your holiday shopping done, make sure you turn off the productivity switch for a bit. Happy Holidays from everyone at Unito.
Want to get as much work done as you can before the holidays? Check off “trying out Unito” while you’re at it. Sign up for a free 14-day trial right now.