Project management is continuously evolving and depending on the field or industry that you are in, it can vary significantly from one company to the next. However, that being said, pretty much any project manager is always on the look-out for new ways to increase their efficiency when it comes to managing and getting results from their project management team. If this situation sounds familiar to the one that you are currently in, we’ve put together some top tips that you can use to help you get ahead of the rest.
Implementing a good project management system will help ensure that everybody on your team has a clear understanding of their responsibilities, know where they are up to in terms of team and individual progress, and where improvements can be made in order to improve efficiency. There are many systems out there that you can download and use in your company or you could use a tried and tested Kanban system, which uses cards to track progress and can be used in a physical or digital form. You can follow the link to learn more about how to plan a project using Kanban cards and make it one that will actually work.
Systems tend to improve efficiency as often, having a visual indicator can be a far better motivator compared to simply having a to-do list to work through. It allows team members to clearly see how the task is laid out, the resources that are being used, and where they are up to in the timeline. You can use Excel or Google Sheets to create a Kanban board or a Gantt chart – making these some of the most efficient and cost-effective project management systems for businesses on a budget.
How often have you come out of a long meeting, only to wonder what you could have actually gotten done instead during that time? It’s not uncommon for project managers to feel like the time that they spend in meetings has actually been put to no good use, especially when there are plenty of other things to be working on. Using a project management system, as mentioned above, can help to eliminate any time-wasting meetings since the progress of the project and everybody’s status is clearly laid out for all to see. More importantly, it also frees up additional time for discussing more useful things in any meetings that are held, like any important changes to the timeline, the next phases of the project, and any resources that are to be allocated. It also gives you more time to spend discussing what’s worked well and what’s not been such a good idea so far, helping you make better future project decisions.
Many people think that lengthy meetings translate to strong communication, however, more often than not, the only thing coming out of them is actually wasted time. Instead, it’s a good idea to encourage strong communication between team members through apps like Slack or Hangouts, which can be used to communicate digitally, and free up time spent in physical meetings. You can even create a specific group for different projects and tasks so that everybody stays on the same page.
Finally, be sure to consider how your project team members like to communicate. Some might do better with sending a quick message, while others may prefer to meet face to face as this helps them be more productive. Doing your best to communicate using these preferred styles will help prevent any misunderstandings or breakdowns of communication.
Regardless of the project management systems and technology that you have, one of the most important factors is that you are able to get the support of your project management team – and the best way to do this is to first show that you are supportive of them. Actively and enthusiastically listen to your team, take their ideas on board, and make sure that you are fair when it comes to giving everybody a chance to get their point and ideas across and put their stamp on the project, if suitable.
Everybody wants to feel valued and heard at work, and one of the best ways to do this is to actively demonstrate to your team that their opinions matter. Do more than simply listen to what they have to say – take positive steps to make changes, whether this relates to workplace policies and procedures or proactively addressing any issues, obstacles or risks that they are facing. As a result, you will not only be able to make better decisions for your team as a whole, but you will earn their support and their respect as a leader.
Whatever industry your business is in, one of the best things that you can do to improve the efficiency of your project management team is to encourage high-quality ongoing training. Team members who are well-trained and very familiar with not only the project but the goals and objectives, plus the tools and systems used to manage the project, tend to work far more productively. There are several ways to implement and encourage ongoing training, whether it’s regularly listening to relevant podcasts or attending industry events and conferences together.
However, bear in mind that training – no matter how good – is only able to take employees so far. It is crucial to make sure that you hire the right people for your team in the first place; when interviewing, look for candidates who have not only the relevant experience but also the right qualities and skills for the projects that they will undertake. As a result, you will have a team with a robust set of skills – each team member will have their own strengths and weaknesses, and it’s a good idea to take this into account when hiring so that you can strike the right balance.
When it comes to efficient project management, using the right systems, offering excellent training and being supportive goes a long way.