People make decisions based on the information that is available to them. This can be problematic in team projects. Why? Well, because individual team members could possibly work for the good of their own interests instead of for the good of the project. As the team leader, you are the one responsible for communicating what is needed, figuring out how well team members are doing, and keeping them on track. To be most effective, it is critical to utilize the following key points.
If you are the manager in charge of leading the team, then you are also the one who should have the best understanding of the steps needed to achieve the goals in question. For example, if you are leading a team designing a new product, you need to identify the target audience, determine if you need to conduct research, delegate team members to handle the design process, and then delegate more team members to create the product. You must be able to understand the necessary steps so that you can assign them to team members, monitor their progress, and use the collected information to gauge the overall progress of the project.
Cost and Schedule Management
Although there are times when letting team members exceed their allotted resources can prove beneficial to the overall project, you need to impose limitations in order to meet deadlines and remain within budget. Good budgeting and scheduling provide team members with enough resources and time to complete their portion of the project, with enough remaining to permit some leeway. Although you should be the one who retains ultimate control, you should consult with your team members during the process. This is beneficial because they are the ones who best understand their needs, while you are the one who best understands the responsibilities with which they will be entrusted. As a general rule, exceeding allotment is acceptable, so long as the benefit of doing so exceeds the cost, while ignoring sunk costs.
Stay on Top of your Game
All too often managers get bogged down in processes over time and their skillset rarely gets refreshed since their initial training. With the internet there is an abundance of learning materials and resources, and there are less and less reasons for managers to not be on top of their game. Online Project Management Professional (PMP) training courses are very flexible and can be done alongside working. Many companies are also open to sponsoring training and equip their managers with PMP certification. Many courses focus on communication skills, team building and networking skills.
Maintain Open Communications
Remaining in touch with team members is one of the most important aspects of management from start to finish. Good communication ensures that your team members understand their roles in the team and the responsibilities placed upon their shoulders. At the same time, good communication ensures that you can catch potential issues prior to them becoming problems, and understand the progress that your team members are making in regards to their responsibilities. Keep in mind that good communication must get the right meaning across while remaining efficient. One of your first priorities should be identifying the individuals in the chain of command with whom you need to keep in touch, so that you are not overwhelmed by a deluge of unnecessary information.
Since you are the person who binds together the members into a cohesive team, you are also the individual responsible for negotiating compromises when conflicts flare up. Move to resolve such issues as soon as you become aware of them, in order to avoid blow-ups. As you are the person with the best understanding of the project’s overall direction and progress, use that knowledge to push for a solution that produces the best result for the project, while making sure that everyone stays on the same page and on task.
Good management is dependent on you being able to maintain a balance between launching into outright micromanagement and keeping control of the situation. Incorporating these key aspects into practice will provide guidance in finding the perfect balance for your project’s success.
David Sanders knows that there are no shortcuts when it comes to team management strategies. He is an independent operations researcher and he enjoys sharing his finding on various blogs. Find out more about preparing for the PMP Exam using sophisticated eLearning software.