Project management is a fast paced highly involving world of deadlines, information and teams. So how can you survive it all and come out with your and your colleagues sanity intact? Well Here is my survival guide.
Words to Live By
Each Project Management Leader should have the mantra of “Don’t Panic”, friendly text optional. Panic at any level will spread and cause mistakes, so if you feel it coming on, take a breath, count to five and trace the problem to its source, clearing up any other issues that may have sprung up around it in the process.
Know what your project is about, have clear goals and make sure the investors and yourself know why the project has been requested, what will be produced during it and what the successfully completed project will have and when it will be.
No one likes to feel forced in to something so learn the art of negotiation, it is much easier to have a team member or employee do whatever task has been set willingly rather than have them fight you or become unhappy which will bring a very obvious note of discord that could disrupt the rest of your team.
Communication is vital to your survival, Don’t just talk at people, remember to interact with them! Listen and give appropriate well thought out responses when questioned as this will encourage others to do the same for you. It is also a good idea to document all communication and correspondence that goes on throughout your project as this will leave everyone on the same page and with a thorough understanding of each aspect of the job. This will be irreplaceable if something happens to a team member as their stand in or replacement will be able to review past notes and comments and pick up where they left off.
Get your team working as one, even if this means going back to basics with team building exercises that is okay, one day spent on this could mean a much happier work environment with no miscommunication or unfounded resentments. Treat your team equally and help out with suggestions, mentoring or offering an ear for some counselling if needed.
Make sure there is a process for decisions when they need to be made, this way no one person has the “fate” of the project hanging on them, though is need be you can step in to make an executive decision – just remember that each team should be taught to see both sides of their point and you need to be able to do that too.
A Plan For Everything
You may not like hearing this but it has to be said; Plan for everything, even failure. Look at your project critically, what happens if everything goes wrong? Set aside some time to investigate this and work out some fail safes with your team, this way you’ll be prepared for every eventuality and you’re much more likely to succeed.
Vari thinks that survival guides are needed for most things from zombie apocalypses to engineering project management.