There are at least 5 mistakes Project Managers can make, do you recognise any in you or your colleagues?
The “I’m Project Manager so do as I say” attitude
Granted a Project Manager is there to head up a specific or set of projects but there are different types of projects and indeed project managers. Businesses in all vertical markets have project managers whether they realise or not, that may not be their title but it is essentially a leader. Someone who motivates, organises and draws together the elements of the project and team to synchronise and get things done. Therefore having a bossy and arrogant attitude, often seen in BBC One’s ‘The Apprentice’ simply has the opposite effect. It de-motivates demoralises and downright aggravates! So PM’s need to have humility in management and harness leadership, in order to win round the team succeed more often.
Playing the Waiting Game
When coordinating and managing in-house and external projects, with the team and external stakeholders it can seem like a constant waiting game, waiting for sign offs, documents, feedback, ideas, opinions the list is endless. However as every good Project Manager knows, time is limited so you have to take control, in a non aggressive but an assertive way in order to keep things moving. Task and Project Management Software often helps streamline deadlines and targets such as this so be wise when deciding on which one to choose. Project Management Software can also be used to delegate tasks, comments and collaborate with all involved and record changes and versions of important files and documents.
Skipping out peripheral team members
Let’s be honest here, yes ‘John in accounts’ may not need to know (right now) that the client has requested a re-design of their creative and your client’s PA is not the person you need to urgently speak to about sign-off before the deadline, however trying to cut corners by not informing, or missing out altogether, perceived peripheral team members is a mistake. All associations of any project are as important as the end result itself. Keeping people in the loop involves and motivates them, promotes accountability and acts as an Audit Trail Engaging all group members on projects whether integral to the specific update or not, will ensure a joined up Project Management.
Projects thrive on team work. This team can be internal as well as external such as the clients you are directly working on the project for. Therefore it is important at the very beginning of each project to assess the skill set, track record, suitability and motivation of each person and then delegate the required tasks and responsibilities to them. Assessing these qualities though, involve two key things – Collaboration and Communication. Simply delegating based on what you ‘think’ is right or ‘want’ isn’t enough. Engaging team members and harnessing their strengths over weaknesses will enable you to choose the right person for the job, thus minimising any delays in progress due to a skills shortage or complacency in client’s sense of urgency and time constraints of the project.
Scattered or incomplete Project information
Miscommunication can be the most fundamental reason that projects fail however using too many methods of communication can be the final nail. In the digital age we have so many ways to communicate and this has been added to our tangible print life communication; whether it be emails, CRM systems, texts, Social Media comments, letters, whiteboards and yes even post-it notes on computer screens! (We’ve all had one) but it confuses things and it is simply not practical or viable on projects with vast amounts of information and data, to use so many methods. Try using as few sources of communication as possible whilst also involving every, yes every member associated with the project. Audit trails are a key part of the due diligence and communicating in a central place with easy access and secure file sharing can aid the project in its smooth running.