Good to Great: The 9 Must-Haves for Project Managers to Manage Teams Successfully

Are you a project manager? Then, we’re pretty sure that you desire to create a team that not only hits targets but also fosters effective collaboration while doing so. Successful team management that creates a cohesive workplace may feel like an impossible feat. But it isn’t unattainable.

Here, in this post, we give you a list of must-haves to take yourmanage team successfully.

  1. Clearly Defined Goals

    This one goes without saying for effective team management. Without goals, your team is like a ship without a rudder - Lost and clueless. Before, you begin any project; you need to know what your goals are and where you are headed.

    When you aren’t aware of the what’s, when’s and why’s, you’re bound to lead your team into chaos and confusion. This not only affects your current project but tarnishes the overall reputation and image of your business.

    The Fix: Ensure that everyone on the team is clear about their roles, responsibilities, time-frames, and deliverables right from the start. Always start a project by conducting a kick-off meeting with all stakeholders to get the scope, objectives, and results clearly defined.

  2. Realistic Deadlines

    This is one of the most important reasons why major projects fail. Initially, everyone is inclined to impress the client, and this leads them to set unrealistic deadlines. By choosing a deliverable date, that isn’t remotely possible; you’re not only piling stress on your team members but also lowering the quality of work.

    When members have to work within a tightly-drawn deadline, they are more focused on completing it, without worrying about the end-quality.

    The Fix: The project manager must communicate the limitations and capabilities of the team to the stakeholders, to identify workable deadlines.

  3. Scope Definition

    It’s the most dreaded fear of all project managers – scope creep. Very often, a project starts off one-way, and by the time it progresses, it takes on an entirely different scope. It no longer resembles the project you started with. The main reason why this occurs is a result of scope creep – expansion of the project beyond the initially planned objectives.

    This places the team members and the manager in a precarious position, as you keep on adapting the workflow to suit the newly added objectives. Remember, a lot of small changes are as bad as a single colossal change.

    The Fix: There’s no 100% protection against scope creep. But, by clearing defining project goals (costs, quality, and schedule) and communicating challenges to stakeholders, you can get the support of management as well as the clients.

  4. The Right Team for effective Team Management

    Any team is only as good as its members. Some projects are highly demanding that they need employees with the right skill levels. Very often, a team is not assembled due to their expertise but due to their availability. When team members don’t have the experience, skills or proper training for the job at hand, it puts work progress at risk.

    The Fix: It’s the responsibility of the management to document the core skills of each employee and have a clear picture of his/her strengths and weaknesses. This helps you to assemble the right team for the job. Also, it’s essential to provide the right skill training to update knowledge of the employees as well as bridge skill gaps.

  5. Proper Communication

    This is one of the biggest challenges faced by teams today. With the growth in internet connectivity and a global market, today teams are spread out than ever before. Team members no longer work from the same office and very often, are located on even different continents and varying time-zones.

    According to a report by the PMI, over 56% of all allocated project funds are at risk due to ineffective communication.

    The Fix: With geographically diverse teams, you need the right tools to facilitate communication not only by the team manager with the team but also among the team members. This is where collaboration software comes into the picture, as it helps everyone stay in the loop about the progress of the project and who’s responsible for what and much more.

  6. Trust among team members

    Finger pointing and fault blaming are the main reasons why most projects fail. Any team consists of several members each with totally conflicting personalities. This can make it quite challenging to bring the entire team on the same page.

    With so many different members working together, differences and issues are bound to crop up from time to time. It’s the responsibility of the project manager to continually look for ways to keep the team glued together for the successful completion of the project.

    The Fix: Try to eliminate any simmering issues or negativity in the team, by addressing it as soon as it crops up. You can also include some team building activities to foster teamwork and unison among members.

  7. Resource Allocation

    Gone are the days when team members worked from the same office. Today, with changing requirements and a global market, teams are now spread across the globe. This makes it difficult to allocate the right resources for a project.

    Very often, project managers and even the management aren’t aware of what resources are on hand, for how long and the best way to utilize them.

    The Fix: You can try using tools like the eResourceSheduler to give you an accurate view of the available resources, which in turn helps in better utilization. This tool gives you both a bird’s eye as well as micro-view of the available resources.

  8. Risk Management

    Risk management involves identifying, assessing and prioritizing risks, thereby allowing for coordination and allocation of resources to monitor, minimize and control the events.

    Very often projects do not proceed according to plan. There are bound to be hiccups and glitches along the way. It’s the role of the project manager to deal with these unexpected changes. A good manager is one who not only predicts risks that creep up but also has the right solutions to deal with it.

    The Fix: While it’s not possible to predict every potential risk that may occur during the course of the project, with proper planning and the right data, you can make an educated guess. This helps you develop control measures to tackle the risks before it explodes.

  9. Finally, Diversity

    This doesn’t refer to the geographical location, nationality, or expertise of the team members. Instead, it refers to individual attitudes and personalities. You need a critic, a smart worker, a hard-worker, and several more varying personalities, within the same team.

    The beauty of a team is that you get exposed to diverse perspectives and experiences, all of which help to widen your outlook. Plus, it would be utterly dull and stagnant, if all members of the team were exact carbon copies of each other when it comes to their personality. You need a diverse team to learn new skills along the way.

    The Last Word
    “A project manager is like an artist. He has to combine the streams of different colors to create an enchanting work of art” – Greg Cimmarrusti.

    A project manager must possess excellent leadership, organizational and communication skills. With the high stakes involved, you need the right team as well as the right tools to bring your project successfully to the finish line.

    Have we missed out on anything? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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