Categories: Best Practices, Career Help, Change Management, Communication, Human Aspects of PM, Innovation, Leadership
by Dave Wakeman
The new year is a good time for every project manager to take a moment to pause and reflect on what has worked and what hasn’t worked during the last 12 months. Many of my blog posts last year (like this one, and this one) focused on the intersection of strategy and project management. So I thought it could be valuable to suggest three ways you can propel yourself, your projects and your organization forward in 2016.
1. Set clear goals and objectives. As a project manager, you’re usually like the CEO of your project. So even if you’re in an environment where most determinants of success and failure are laid out by others, you still have the opportunity to set goals and objectives that will set your team up for success.
Imagine a project that is stuck. If you’re in the middle of this situation, it’s a good time to sit down and look at the project holistically and try to define some goals and objectives to get the project moving again.
This might require more than just saying what you hope to achieve over the next month, quarter or year—it could involve ways that you can give your team some short-term wins to create new forward momentum. The important thing is to take the opportunity to stop, think carefully, and decide with intention which way you want to move.
2. Simplify communications and decision-making. One of the supreme challenges for all project managers is the constant need to juggle information and communicate to various stakeholders effectively. Being the filter for most communications can hamper and complicate the communication process. As a strategic-minded practitioner, you’re going to have to simplify processes to avoid becoming a bottleneck.
You may find it easy to streamline your communications and decision-making processes by taking the following three steps:
First, set clear expectations for communication.
Second, empower your teams to use their best judgment and to take action within certain well-defined parameters.
Third, regularly review these processes to reinforce what’s working and change things that aren’t working.
3. Always return to the outcomes you need to produce. I’m guilty of belaboring this point, because it’s essential. The end results are what you need to be working toward. You have to be clear on expected outcomes and what you are trying to achieve. This will inform every action, tactic and process you roll out in your projects.
Get started by clarifying the desired results of your project, and then break them down by each piece of work that you need to produce to make them reality.
If you do this in combination with the items in #2, you’re on your way to becoming even more of a strategic partner in your organization’s success.
By the way, I write a weekly newsletter that focuses on strategy, value, and performance. If you enjoyed this piece, you will really enjoy the weekly newsletter. Make sure you never miss it! Sign up here or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!