Project management is always evolving and depending on the field you’re in, varies vastly from one company to the next. That said, just about every project manager across the board is always looking for new ways to increase their Project Management Team’s efficiency. If this sounds familiar, here are a few tips that will put your team a step ahead of the rest.
Use a project management system
Implementing a system, whether software like Leankor or a Gantt chart, will help everyone on your team better understand their responsibilities, the progress of their projects, and where improvements can be made to increase efficiency. Having a visual indicator is sometimes a better motivator than simply having a to-do list, since people can clearly see how the task is laid out, what resources are being used, and the timeline (as well as any adjustments to those things).
Gantt charts can even be made in Excel, making them one of the most cost-efficient PM systems around. If you are on a tight budget, you can also look into free, open-source PMtools that have everything you need to prioritize, streamline, and delegate tasks in the workflow.
Eliminate the unnecessary
How often to you come out of an hour-long meeting about a project status update and feel like that hour was really put to good use? Chances are, not very often. The project management system mentioned above can help eliminate these time-wasting meetings since the progress and everyone’s status is already laid out in front of you. More importantly, that frees up time for discussing useful things in the meetings, like the next phase of the project, important changes in the timeline or resources allocated, or discussing what has worked and has not work thus far.
For some people, they think these meetings translate to strong communication. They do not. They waste time. Encourage strong communication among team members through Hangouts, Skype, or other chat platforms. You might even start a group for specific projects and tasks so everyone is on the same page. Also consider how your Project Management Team members like to communicate. Many people prefer just sending a quick chat message, but others might do better with face-to-face communication or prefer using the actual telephone. Do your best to communicate with preferred communication styles to prevent misunderstandings or a breakdown of communication.
Get the Project Management Team behind you
Regardless of the technology you have, the systems you have, the great projects you have, it is hard to be an effective project manager if your team does not support you. One of the easiest ways to get your team on your side is simply by actively and enthusiastically listening to them. Everyone wants to feel valued, and listening shows your team members that you value their opinion. Do more than just listen to what they are saying, though, take steps to make changes whether this is in policies and procedures or addressing problems, risks, or obstacles they are facing. Not only will you be able to make better decisions for your team as a whole, but you will earn their respect and their support, which will make working collaboratively together on projects easier.
Once you have the team behind you, you have to keep them there. This means remaining enthusiastic when problems arise with project timelines or resources. If your team sees you stressing out or getting overwhelmed, it will trickle down and their efficiency and focus will suffer.
Good training and good tools
As with most departments, one of the best things you can do to improve team efficiency is encourage ongoing training. Whether this is attending conferences once or twice a year, listening to podcasts together, or subscribing to a helpful newsletter, ongoing training not only shows you are truly invested in your employees, but it will help everyone on the project management team get better at their job.
However, there is one caveat. Training can only take an employee so far. It is important to hire the right people in the first place and then assign the right tasks to the right people for each project. You likely have a team with a robust set of skills, and each person has their strengths and weaknesses. Take time to get to learn who is best at what, and keep that in mind when it is time to delegate. Arbitrarily assigning tasks to team members will not just reduce efficiency, but can even lower morale when people struggle to complete their tasks.
It is also important to use the right tools. This means utilizing a good CRM that will help your team members manage clients and their respective projects and will help you as a project manager to stay organized.
Ultimately, developing an efficient and effective team will take some time and you are likely to experience some trial and error. Pay close attention to what your team members have to say, do your best to get to know the strengths of each person, and you’ll have a standout Project Management Team before you know it.