It is important to inculcate a culture within the organization and project where improvements are continuously being done. This helps raise project performance and helps in successful project delivery. It contributes to the profitability of the company. When a project manager looks for improvements constantly, it will rub off on some if not all team members and it will become a practice throughout the project lifecycle and in future projects as well. Here are some project management techniques to bring improvements in your project.
Pay attention to team members and team dynamics
It is not enough to assign tasks to resources and get daily updates from. Do you also congratulate a team member on a job well done? That is good. You should have a good working relationship with your team . Keep your eyes and ears open and be alert. You will know a lot about your team members, their fears and apprehensions. You will understand who works well with whom, who is popular and who is not a team player. You also get to know their likes, dislikes, opinions in informal set-ups like lunch and coffee breaks. You can use this information to steer the project successfully.
Hold Meetings regularly and send Meeting Agenda in advance
Sometimes weekly team meetings or status update meetings might not have enough content and you might want to cancel it. Do not cancel the meetings. It is a good way for the team to communicate and there might be new information which would not have come up in any other forum. You should send the agenda for the meeting at least a day in advance. If there is not enough content, it could be topics like ‘share a learning’, ‘share project concerns’ etc.
It is important to regularly communicate with team members even those who are situated elsewhere geographically. You should communicate with support functions, client representatives and vendors regularly and establish a good professional rapport with them. It will help to handle sticky situations.
You make a project plan at the beginning of the project. You list down risks and risk mitigation strategies . You estimate the size of the project and draw out detailed costing and schedule. Sometimes, all this good work is put into a repository and never reviewed or referred to. A project manager should revisit the plan, schedule and estimates. He should check the risk list and update it if required. During the course of the project, new risks can arise or schedule might change for some tasks. Revisiting the planning documents helps improvements in execution of the project.
Know about the project
It helps to know what the project is all about and what problems will be solved when the solution is implemented. Your interest level and commitment will be higher if you know more than just tasks, schedule and milestones. As a project manager, you should make sure that the team is aware as to what problems the project is solving and how the solution will help the client. Engagement and ownership will be higher and there will be a sense of achievement once the project is delivered which heightens motivation levels.
Be a People’s Person
You do not have to win a popularity contest but you can be nice to people. It is not required to try and please everyone but be considerate and view people including front office colleagues, clients and vendors as allies to solve the problem. You should respect team members and their opinions even if you disagree with them. You should avoid bad mouthing client representatives, vendors etc. in front of your team. You are the leader of the project and you should lead the team from the front whether the project is running smoothly or facing trouble.
Use tools to improve collaboration and productivity
You should try and use tools that will improve collaboration and improve productivity.
For example, you can use a mind mapping tool like, Xmind , Freemind or
Bubbl.us to manage your project. You can store ideas, questions, project notes, issues and milestones in it. You can link pieces of information in a visual manner which is easier to understand.
You can use Evernote for storing notes and organize project information. For example, you can list to-dos, capture progress in work and minutes of a meeting or a call. It allows for seamless integration between desktops, mobile devices and the web.
Revisit Planning Documents
Less of shocks and nasty surprises in the project.
Communicate openly and Frequently
Build good and Professional rapport with team and stakeholders.
Beware of team dynamics and team members
You will know more about team members
Do not skip scheduled Meetings
Different types of Information can be shared
Ensure that the team knows what the project is about
More engagement and ownership
Good working environment and reduce stress levels
Here is a snapshot of small ways to improve project management that can go a long way.
Do let us know if you have any ideas on this subject and how these have helped your project.