By Michelle Symonds
Project managers have a tough task on their hands getting a project to work well. With one eye on the budget and timescales, they need to satisfy the needs of members of their team as well as keeping stakeholders and senior management happy. Sometimes managing a project can feel a bit like juggling eggs; one false move and it could all get very messy.
There’s no quick fix to make your project better, but with these five top tips for ironing out the bumps in the road, you might just make things a little more comfortable for everyone.
- Keep the communications flowingBeing an effective communicator is not just about being able to craft an informative newsletter or talk coherently on the phone. It’s about creating an effective communications plan and sticking to it religiously, so that everyone involved knows what to expect and when. From team get togethers in the morning to formal status reports to the project owners, you need to know when to do what and how to do it.
- Set expectations and manage them
You should always have a written scope of work to work to, so that everyone involved knows what needs to be happening and why. Take the time to sit down with your client and explain why the timescales have been set so that they are fully bought into the scope of the project. Educating clients on the processes involved in their project will help them to understand everything more thoroughly and appreciate the work that is involved.
- Know when the team need to be involved
There are times when you need to tell the team every little detail, and times when it is not necessary to take them away from their work to explain something. Knowing when you need the team to be involved in something is a key ability for any project manager to grasp. If you need the specialist expertise of a team member to answer specific questions, then bring them into the conversation.
- Know who your stakeholders are
Some stakeholders will be obvious. Your senior management team for example, as well as the client, are some of the more apparent stakeholders who will require your management. However, don’t forget that there may be other stakeholders who might not be so obvious, depending on the type of project you are working on. Think about the client’s customers, the general public, other industry experts and other people in your clients company who may also need to be communicated with and managed as part of the process.
- Lead with a positive attitude
You need to own and support the process whole heartedly if you expect to keep your team engaged and motivated and to deliver project success. You need to be able to give thanks where it is due when someone excels themselves, and need to be ready to boost the morale of your team when something doesn’t go quite to plan. A good leader is a cheerleader too, so shake off the worries of the day and walk with a bounce in your step to maintain a positive attitude within the team. If you need help to foster this upbeat attitude consider updating you skills on one of the many project management courses available.
Michelle Symonds is a qualified PRINCE2 Project Manager and believes that the right project management training can transform a good project manager into a great project manager and is essential for a successful outcome to any project.
There is a wide range of formal and informal training courses now available that include online learning and podcasts as well as more traditional classroom courses from organizations such as Parallel Project Training.
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