Expert tips to guarantee excellent project management
Project management can be messy. It’s the very human part of business that there’s no real science to. It’s a trial and error process, except sometimes that process can cost you money as a company and credibility as a project manager. One of the best methods for avoiding the “error” is to learn from the best. We’ve compiled a few tips from excellent project managers and leadership experts to keep in mind.
1. “Delegate up. Of course, a project manager’s job is to run the project; however, if they are confounded by a problem, it is better to ask for guidance than to flail and fail.” – Todd C. Williams, founder and president of eCameron, Inc.
If you’re a new project manager, this is going to be your best bet to avoid the same mistakes that cause project failure. In fact, 33% of projects fail because of lack of support from a senior executive. Eliminate your chances of failure by learning from those who can provide you with the resources you need, alongside a wealth of personal experience. All companies are different in terms of culture. Your team members are more likely to feel confident in you if they see support from above as well.
2. Instead of managing expectations through saying “no,” think about using the “yes, and…” principle – Keren Nimmo, Vice President of Client Engagement at EffectiveUI
Leadership experts swear by collaborative rather than authoritative approaches. Instead of telling employees “no” to a suggestion, say “yes” and then provide qualifications that will help achieve your end goal. This is a great way to make your employees feel empowered. As a project manager, it forces you to look for more collaborative solutions in order to reach goals. If you’re stuck on your vision and say “no” to all other ideas and opinions, you may miss some creative new solutions.
You would never ask the Finance team a question about progress and expect to hear answers like “getting there” or “good” – you want numbers! The truth is, everyone wants numbers as they’re the most simple way to quickly measure your team’s effectiveness. At the end of the day, the success of your project will be judged on numbers alone. It’s best you get focused on that early. To keep your team moving towards your goals, use numbers for tracking success in all areas of your project.
4. “Be as transparent as you can with all of your team members. The more they know, the more you all are part of the same dream and vision and you’ll all work harder to get where you need to go as a team.” – John Hingley, co-founder of startup Dasheroo
A strategy to increase employee engagement that’s proven successful is to establish a sense of ownership for employees. Projects are a great way to do this. Transparency determines how willing team members are to trust you as a leader and how willing they are to put the maximum amount of effort in. Being honest about your objectives, including their involvement, and illustrating your vision well are all key to getting the most from your team.
5. When implementing software, “get the entire team—not just part of the team—collaborating in the system” – Shawn Dickerson, GTM Director at Workfront
Nowadays, more likely than not, your team will be using software to collaborate on or complete certain projects. Arbitrarily introducing technology can waste time and confuse team members. There will be some that adapt to it faster than others. It’s vital to your team’s success that you get everyone onboard from the start. So, start all communication – even the small talk – in your project management system and avoid email entirely. Hibox is the perfect project management platform to get your whole team collaborating and communicating; try it out for free.
With the people-orientated parts of business, nothing is black and white. You’ll learn to develop your own leadership style to bring the best out of your team with practice. Learning some gems of wisdom from those who’ve been there before never hurts!