Project Management: Hits & Misses

There’s no doubt about it, being a Project Manager is tough work!

This week, we share some expert tips on how you can get your team under control while maximizing efficiency on any project:

It’s easy for a project to get out of control.  Establishing touch points for certain project deadlines are important, but it’s easy to forget to monitor costs, quality, as well as the emotional states of everyone involved.

Keep Up with Current Trends
Most successful Project Managers will tell you that the willingness to learn is one of the main reasons for their success. By keeping up with current trends and changes, and an openness to new ideas, professional development and learning should never stops for anyone on the team.

Know your Team
This goes far beyond the scope of communication. While successful project managers need to know how to communicate with the personalities in the team, it is equally important to know their strengths, challenges and limitations. This will enable the PM to assess project scope and timelines, anticipate challenges and how to achieve the end result.  Just important as knowing your team along the way, it’s important to know your team at the beginning of a project. By knowing the skills and limitations of your team, you will be able to avoid the common problem of over-optimism and provide stakeholders with a project model that you actually obtain.

Include Stakeholders in Important Conversations
Good communication is crucial to keeping all parties informed on project progression, scope and changing requirements. Strong communication and established touchpoints help to relieve stakeholder uncertainty and helps establish timelines and boundaries with the client. It also helps to identify possible risks as well as company values.

Anticipate Setbacks
Pay attention to warning signs such as missed deadlines, or exceeding costs. While not all setbacks can be avoided, crisis management skills are critical to being able to handle the unexpected. The best project managers are flexible, rational, and are great improvisers.

Avoid the Bad Actor Fallacy
A common mistake for project managers is to assume that any one person is the single likely cause of a problem.  It’s an easy mistake to make though. Many team members may contribute to a problem, and the entire performance of the team should be consistently evaluated and monitored.

The Fungibility Fallacy
A common problem associated with time management falls into a simple math equation:

1 person = 1 hour of output

This implies that we can easily substitute one person for another, overlooking the facts that team members have distinguishable skills. This can cost time and money when too many (or two few people) are on the floor without the right combination of expertise.

Don’t Forget the End Result
Many project managers are caught up in their own ideas and lose the main objective of the client in the process. Successful project management involves a plan that leads back to the overall goal of success for the organization.  A project map complete with milestones, check-ins and requirement lists are all valuable tools for planning and project maintenance.