Project managers often have their work cut out for them. Not only do they have to align different personalities into one project but also keep everyone productive and focused on the task at hand. Managing a project based on digital technologies, software development or any other field can be exhausting for the person in charge.
While difficult, their work is very much doable and often an incredibly rewarding experience. The process requires patience, planning, and multitasking above all else. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the five main rules that separate poor project management from a successfully developed product.
1. Set milestones and goals
Project management always starts with a pre-planning phase. A project manager should be aware of the project goals and his available team roster before anyone else. This can lead to a planning phase in which a project manager should set milestones for the remainder of the project.
For example, a graphic design project can start with brainstorming and sketching followed by production and editing. This is a simple example which can illustrate the need for adequate planning. Studies have shown that 75% of business owners deem teamwork as extremely important for the longevity of someone’s professional development.
If a team leader isn’t aware of the exact requirements of the project, the entire production phase can fail. Should you find yourself in the managerial position, ask your superiors for as many details as possible in regards to the work that awaits you.
2. Build the team early
Working with a flexible (or agile) team isn’t necessarily a good thing. For one, you can never be sure when a team member might leave and focus on another project. Their work might get lost for good and require you to backpedal and lose precious time and resources.
In order to amend for this possibility, make sure that your team members are available for the remainder of the project’s duration. Ask your superiors for several days or weeks of production (depending on your needs) with a set team.
Once your team is ready, the members will have a far easier time working together. A team dynamic will spring up and alleviate much of your troubles as a project manager. It is always preferable to work with a team of dedicated developers or technology experts rather than a ragtag group of coworkers.
3. Remote teamwork works
Breathing down your team members’ necks will rarely produce tangible results. This is where remote work environment can help manage the project and steer it in the right direction. Platforms such as Asana and Trello are good choices for online project management regardless of the industry you work in.
You can easily delegate work, collaborate on common bugs and fix them in a timely fashion. This can all end very well without seeing eye-to-eye with your team members on a fixed work schedule. Many developers and technology experts prefer working from home or remotely to avoid unnecessary tension or clash of personalities.
One of the more obvious examples of remote collaboration is the software localization process. A newly-created piece of code often has to translate into different languages for a better RoI. Employing translation reviews, hiring a professional translator and using an online project management platform can deliver the needed results.
Data shows that 34% of businesses anticipate a full transition into remote project management in the next several years. If you choose to work remotely, you can achieve high productivity and team morale without having to chase team members down and have them in the same room. After all, the concrete results of their work are more important than their presence in the classroom.
4. Promote collaboration – not individualism
The teamwork pipeline you establish at the beginning of the project is bound to stay for good. This means you should set clear rules and lines of communication with your team members before doing anything else. Ensure that everyone can get in touch even without your knowledge to reduce potential downtime.
Most importantly, make sure that your team members are aware of the bigger picture at hand. Everyone on the team is working on a common goal – no one is working for themselves. Recently conducted research shows that teams improve in performance and motivation greatly when they collaborate. It can be difficult to make individualists play well with others but it is a necessity in team projects.
Do your best to bridge personality gaps and ensure that your colleagues play along. After all, if the project underperforms you as the project lead will be solely responsible for it. Play your cards right and everyone will not only look to you for guidance but work together as a single entity.
5. Don’t micromanage – give feedback instead
Lastly, never underestimate the expertise or responsibility of your coworkers. They are experts in their respective fields and the only thing separating you from them is your job title. Surveys show that 97% of employers believe that team alignment and collaboration is the key to a successful workflow. This means that you should never micromanage their work to a point of exhaustion.
Delegate work according to individual skill sets, professional experience and willingness to learn something new. Consult them on your own work and do everything you can to make the project come together in the end. Constructive feedback will always be more appreciated than your taking over of their hard work. Just because someone isn’t as proficient at something doesn’t mean that they can’t learn as they go along.
Have patience and trust your team members to do their work accordingly. After all, the entire team is responsible for the timely delivery of project results – not one individual member out of everyone. While you are the project lead, it’s up to everyone to pool their resources and come out on the other side successfully.
Ongoing management (conclusion)
You never know who you might work with tomorrow so you should always plan a few professional steps in advance. Chances are that you will have the privilege to work with the same people multiple times.
Building an ongoing relationship with your colleagues is very important in today’s corporate world. Make sure to leave a good impression on both your clients and team members in order to build your career as a project manager even further.
About the author:
Elisa Abbott is a freelancer whose passion lies in creative writing. She completed a degree in Computer Science and writes about ways to apply machine learning to deal with complex issues. Insights on education, helpful tools, and valuable university experiences – she has got you covered.