Project Management, A Forgotten Perspective
By Jeff Klem
Effective project managers know how to get the job done, and get it done right. Success comes not only from wise selection of the team members and utilization of the best project management software tools; effective managers know how to lead, and how to encourage project team members to do their best. This includes clearly setting and communicating project goals, providing proper training and/or equipment, as well as other necessary items and expertise. Effective project management also requires constant re-evaluation of your performance as the project leader. The most effective form of leadership is by example. If your team members see that you strive to live up to the high standards you require from the project team, they will inevitably be more productive.
Set Attainable goals. Project managers should clearly define the objectives of the assignment and then see that each stage of the project plan has reasonable milestones that mark the accomplishment of the included tasks. All project team members should be aware of the project goals, and understand what his or her part is in accomplishing these goals. Break the project down into sections that allow members to see real progress being made at each stage.
Provide Training & Equipment. Project Team members should be chosen for roles according to their areas of expertise. However, if training is required, the project manager should make sure it is adequately provided. Additionally, being available for questions and feedback is extremely important. The manager should foster an environment in which project team members feel comfortable asking for help if needed.
It is also vital that the project manager provide the project management software tools or equipment that may be needed that will expedite the project and effectively assist the project team in meeting the project goals & time lines. Web-based project management software will enable the team members to collaborate from any location and will instill accountability. The project management software should be simple, keeping project management the focus unlike some “everything but the kitchen sink” solutions.
Monitor Budgets & Time lines. Effective project management requires attention to monetary and time constraints. Project management software can help managers track progress and understand where they are within the outlined budget. Managing risk and proactive containment of problems that arise are important aspects of keeping cost and time where they need to be.
Evaluate Your Performance. The most effective project managers will continually review their own performance throughout the project. They ask themselves whether or not they are listening to the concerns of team members, and they explore the atmosphere they’ve created for the project and it’s team members. A mature, upbeat attitude with a diplomatic skill set can assist a project manager in being viewed as approachable by the project team members. Additionally, it helps the morale of the members, and encourages them to complete their work with alacrity. Resisting the inherent urge to offer critical feedback and offering constructive feedback instead will help your team do the best job possible. Praise should be specific and sincere, and needed improvements should be tactfully pointed out to team members in private.
Communication is fundamental to accomplish project tasks successfully. Nearly every key listed above has to do with effective and positive communication. When a project manager remembers to purposely inject the human element into their project management leadership the odds of a successful culmination are high.
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