Five Ways To Be A More Effective Project Manager
Friday, January 24, 2014
Posted by: Russell Harley
There is a wide range of abilities in the Project
Management field. However, there are always ways to become better in our
profession. So here are a few suggestions that may help in this endeavor.
#1 Be a Leader
While this should be pretty obvious, it is very easy to get caught up in
personalities and the normal socialization of the workplace. Especially if the
project is a long-term one, or one that the team needs to work long hours
together on. As a project manager, the important thing to remember is that your
only goal is the completion of the project. It is not to be friends with
everyone or have them all like you. Projects can easily get into trouble if
things start sliding due to the project manager not wanting to hold people
accountable. Of course, if you can get the project completed and everyone still
loves everyone, then you may be canonized at some point.
#2 Stop Multitasking
This may be the hardest one to do effectively. It has been proven by numerous
researchers that multitasking is bad for everyone. Yet we still try and do more
than we really are capable. So how do you control this? In a word: Delegate.
You have a team of subject matter experts (SMEs) plus others on your team. So
ask them to help or assign tasks to them that they should be doing versus you.
Yes it is easier for you to do it, but what is the point of having a team if
you are doing most of the work?
#3 Have Effective Meetings
As project managers a lot of time is spent in leading meetings. To make sure
the time spent in these meeting is used efficiently, a key tool, which is
underused, is a Team Charter. This is a simple one-to two-page document that
details the protocol of the meetings that everyone agrees to. Items in the
Charter, are everyone agreeing to be on time, no cell phone usage, etc. Here is
one suggestion on how to create one: http://extension.missouri.edu/staff/sdeteams/Documents/ELD2010Documents/Charter%20Guidelines%20(2).pdf.(there
are many other examples online) Using something like this will not only help
the existing team, but will also allow new people that join to know exactly
what is expected rather than them having to guess on their own.
#4 Be an Agent for Change
Process and procedures are great for keeping everything running smoothly,
especially on difficult projects. However, one thing the team should be doing
is making sure that these are helping the project versus hurting it. If you or
someone on your team can improve a process, then speak up and let it be known.
Showcase how the change will make this project be done faster, cheaper, etc.
The change that is proposed may actually impact multiple projects versus just
yours (or even the entire company). However, if the change will only be a
benefit to your team/project, be sure to explain that this is just an exception
for this project and not a global one. If you can accomplish this, your team
(and sponsors) will thank you.
An important thing that project managers sometimes forget is that the
project(s) they are responsible for are not theirs. Project Managers normally
do not 'own' projects, the sponsors do. Project Managers are only responsible
(and most of the time that by itself is a huge task) for managing the project,
not owning it. So if massive changes occur for the project, including
canceling, it is not you, it is them. So do not react or stress out as if this
is something you or your team were doing wrong.
With the increasing need for Project Managers, we should all want to improve
our skills and abilities as our projects become larger and more complex.
Hopefully one of these suggestions will help you in becoming a better project
Manager. If it does, then this article has done what it was intended to, help.
About the Author
Russell Harley, PMO
Russell Harley is a veteran project manager
and PMO director, passionate about helping organizations embrace world-class
project management practices and "climb out of the quicksand" in
terms of gaining control over complex, ever-changing project portfolios. The
best practices he advocates stem from key learning's acquired from his M.S. Degree in Project Management, combined with over 20 years of hands-on PM
experience in the high technology, telecommunications, and clean energy sectors. See Russell's website at: http://thepmoview.com/.