Support an Environment for Success, Be a Better Project Manager

August 2, 2016


This is a guest post by Brooke Cade

In the world of business, the average person juggles about 3 to 4 concurrent project at any given time along with all of their other daily duties. With so many irons in the fire, there is a greater chance for tasks to be forgotten, deadlines missed, miscommunication, unbalanced effort and commitment among projects, and host to many other challenges.

When faced with completing a project with team members who work at different paces and learning styles, it’s important to remember these 6 tips to help you to manage your team and become a better, and overall more effective, project manager.

1. Effective Communication

  • Listen to your staff and stakeholders first. Take personal views out of the situation and listen to the needs of all those involved so you can properly address all the needs in your action plan or next sprint.

  • Create a communication plan to determine how often meetings will take place and measure the effectiveness to see if you’re communicating enough with your team. If not, is there an area you need to work on? How can you be transparent with your team to lead them to success?

  • Clearly explain expectations to everyone on your team so there is no confusion to when things need to be completed and ensure your team knows what you expect from them.

  • Streamline communication by limiting excessive meetings through conducting stand-up meetings or even hold walking meetings where you all get to stretch your legs and share quick info.

2. Action Plan

  • End every meeting with a clear list of action items. Everyone should know the priority of the tasks, who is responsible for each task, and what the expectations are. By ensuring everyone on the team has a clear idea of what to expect and who is accountable for what assignments, the better employees will be able to stay on track and reach the project objectives.

  • Hold team members accountable.  As your team understands their roles in a project and are held accountable for getting tasks done, the better your team will run because each person understands the tasks they need to complete, can resolve issues that arise quicker, and feel more freedom with their tasks.

3. Time Management

  • Set deadlines for each task. Develop a standard process, template, or visual cycle for everyone on your team to reference when they have questions about the process. Outline basic steps from start to finish to have a guideline for how time on each project should be managed.

  • Help employees find their time management strengths and weaknesses. Encourage employees to set up their calendars with reminders, make to do lists, manage tasks on their phones, utilize a time management software company-wide, etc.

4. Create An Environment For Success

  • Build strong working relationships with your team. Get to know them and understand their work processes. Plan a breakfast or happy hour with your team after the project to evaluate and learn what worked and what didn’t.

  • Accept Criticism. It’s easy in a leadership role to get caught up in results and deadlines or get set in your ways. Learn to be self aware and accept constructive criticism from all those involved to ensure you are being an effective leader.

  • Say “Thank You!” It’s easy to move on to the next project immediately after one has ended. Take time to show your gratitude to the team members, put personal thank you post-it notes on their computers, give them a good review on a professional networking site, and inform supervisors of their good work.

5. Lead Fearlessly

  • Jump in where necessary. Don’t let the title of “manager” go to your head; be willing to take on any role necessary within the project. “Grunt work” is above no one, including you.

  • Address Issues Head On. Follow through with consequences of inaction or missing deadlines, but also reach out at the first sign of slacking, either in person or by email. Also, encourage your team to come talk to you about any problems they may be running into so you can find a way to solve the issue before it grows into a bigger problem.

  • Don’t be afraid to delegate. You may be responsible for the completion of the project, but you can’t do it alone. Recognize your team members’ strengths and find ways to use their strengths to get the job and delegate effectively.

6. Learn

  • Failure is an opportunity to learn. If a project didn’t work under one method, it may not be a failed project, just a misdiagnosed method. Review the process at the end of each sprint and after the project is complete to determine where you could have improved and what you learned from the experience.

  • Learn from other project manager. Network with other project managers, browse online forums, and research blog posts to find out what is working for other project managers in your situation. Seeking advice and ideas only makes you a stronger manager.

Armed with these 6 tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a project management master. Gain more insights to become a better project manager with Workfront.

About the author: Brooke Cade is a freelance writer with Workfront. When she is not writing, Brooke is committed to learning more about helping businesses and marketing professionals succeed with their project management goals.