As project managers, we often run into team members that require a great deal of attention. In an opening post for this series, we discussed a general approach to dealing with resources that need TLC. This post offers techniques for getting the most output out of folks who have personal circumstances that are objectively more critical to them than work.
Did you think a Project Manager had just 1 job? There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes than simply “managing a project.”
PMs are often overwhelmed, and always looking for spare time between meetings to get work done. They are pulled in a number of directions, and can easily be distracted from more important tasks. If they’re not careful, they get caught up in politics above them and drama below.
How can a PM stay focused on the most important activities that will best serve their project, organization, and career? By performing these 5 hidden functions:
As project managers, we often run into team members who require a great deal of attention. In an opening post for this series, we discussed a general approach to dealing with resources that need TLC. This post offers techniques for getting the most output from folks who lost interest in work because they expect to exit soon.
Coasters Need TLC, Too
Some project team members know their days of working for the company are counted. Some are coasting towards retirement. Some know their jobs will likely go away when the project is complete. Typically, they just stop trying. Without emotional buy-in, these team members are often more harmful than they are helpful.
IT project managers cover a lot of ground during the workday. From meetings with their team, business counterparts, stakeholders, and users, to prep work before and after meetings, to sending ad hoc communications as the project demands, PMs are birds in flight.
Let’s follow along a day in the life of a typical project manager to explore what needs to be done, why it’s important for the success of the project, and how to make each task more effective.
IT often has a complex from being considered a non-strategic business unit, or a necessary evil. In response, many IT professionals try to prove the cynics wrong. They think, “We’ll show them….”, and put a lot of pressure on themselves to come up with game-changing ideas. This overcompensating mindset within IT is counterproductive.
Every time I attend an IT conference I visit technology vendors’ booths. Vendors have gotten really elaborate with their sales techniques. Many offer ROI templates or business case building tools to help IT professionals demonstrate the value of purchasing one product or another. These vendors are enabling the exact behavior that is so self-detrimental.
Let’s admit it: ideas born in IT have little chance of securing participation from the business, let alone budget for developing a prototype. IT-generated innovations don’t get much support because they tend to be technology-based.
A solely results-oriented project manager (PM) sees every project as a personal opportunity to achieve success. On the other hand, some PMs see a project as a series of process steps where their individual role is simply to check boxes.
Neither of these approaches is effective.
To be a great PM, one needs an array of leadership skills. The most critical leadership skill required from project managers is genuine care about the project team members. If you genuinely care about individual contributors you can achieve extraordinary results.
TLC is a natural part of caring about people. Although some team members need more TLC than others.
Motivation is a concept well-covered in project management resources, and is required constantly for project success.
Intensity is the level of focus by a project team on a particular activity. Without taking deliberate steps, intensity tends to naturally slide. Maximum intensity is not appropriate to maintain at all times, as it could lead to burnout. However, at key points throughout the project you will need to turn the intensity up to its highest level.
The graph below shows a healthy intensity fluctuation over peaks and troughs.
Posted byAndrey Alekseyev in IT Projects with No Comments
Throughout my projects with Abraic, I have worked with quite a few project managers. And while some were first-rate, others had a little catching up to do. Below are my observations on what makes an IT project manager great.
It boils down to two key areas – vision and emotional intelligence.