New Year’s resolutions for project managers…

It’s nearly time to make those (soon to be forgotten) New Year’s resolutions…why not skip the diet, smoking and gym resolutions this year  – you know you’re going to break them anyway – and rather make resolutions for where you spend most of your time, at work?

Here are three simple things that project managers should be looking to do in 2016…

Remember to manage your team, not do their jobs
Yes, when the pressure is on it is tempting to roll your sleeves up and get involved in some of the tasks piling up but that’s the quickest way to lose that all important “bigger” picture view. The most effective project managers empower their teams to give their best and that means giving them the space, knowledge and tools to do their jobs as effectively as they can.

And, team members who know that the project manager is always looking over their shoulder, waiting for the opportunity to jump in and “interfere”, are less likely to deliver their best, because they know that you are going to come along and change or fix what they’ve done anyway.

Tailor the meeting to the audience
An inordinate amount of time is spent (many would say wasted) in meetings every day and this holds as true in the project management world as everywhere else.

How often have you sat in a meeting thinking of your ever growing to do list while you listen to someone ramble on about something you have little interest or input in? Rather hold smaller meetings that include only the relevant team members when you want to drill down into more specific issues that warrant lengthy discussion.

When the whole team is in the room, focus on the challenges and risks the project faces and strategise about how to manage and solve these, rather than just getting a simple status update. In other words, create meetings that add value rather than just turn into a report back forum. The latter can be managed far more effectively using a web-based project management tool into which team members can report their individual progress and the PM can access as required.

Share information and knowledge
Make sure that every team member has access to the information they need to do their jobs properly; keeping your team on a need to know basis does not empower them. They’ll just end up frustrated and disengaged.

Clear, concise, constructive communication is what project teams need.

And remember that knowledge is the one thing that you can share freely without depleting your own levels, so share it generously; after all, the worst thing that can happen is that you end up with a smarter team!

© Tony McManus, McManus Consulting.