Task Oversight: Finding the Right Balance

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

One of the biggest challenges facing a new project manager is the fact that they are the least experienced member of the team. That can be just as tough for the team as for the PM—trusting a leader who is managing one of their first projects can be a leap of faith.

However, in the vast majority of cases, PMs will find that they are given that trust; their job is then simply to keep it. That’s not always the easiest thing to do; team members may have an inherent belief in their PM’s ability to lead them, but if that PM shows any sign of not being worthy of that trust, they won’t hesitate to withdraw it—and that’s a nail in the coffin for both the project and the PM.

One of the areas that is most likely to cause problems is the monitoring and tracking of work. In traditional project management, the ability to deliver work to a predetermined schedule is one of the most fundamental elements of the project. The project manager is expected to ensure that work is proceeding in accordance with that schedule—that work is being completed when it should, by the people who should be doing it and at a level of quality that is appropriate. While modern software tools can handle much of the data capture for that automatically, the project manager must work with each team member to address variances and clarify the situation.

The dangers of …

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"Maybe this world is another planet's hell."

- Aldous Huxley