Meeting deadlines are at the core of a Project Manager’s role and critical to the success of any project. It’s no hidden fact that there will be times when you need to step in and apply some pressure to steer the project in the right direction. However, how do you set teams up for success without the all too familiar signs of micromanagement? From the conversations we have with Project Managers on a daily basis, here is their advice.
Clear Expectations from the Start
When starting a project, deadlines will inevitably be one of the first things crossed off at the initial kick-off meeting.
Clear expectations from day one is key. By using a brief that contains the vision, objectives, milestones and expected outcomes for the project, you’ll be able to make sure that every team member is on the same page as to responsibilities, what needs to be achieved and when. Obviously, everything isn’t always black and white, so this is where having strong relationships with your project team is important. That way, they’ll always be comfortable speaking up or questioning any aspects that are unclear.
Scheduled Check Ins
Consistent communication is one of the main vehicles used by successful Project Managers to beat time limitations. Whether it is daily, weekly or monthly, checking in is imperative to monitoring the pace of delivery.
The best way to do this is set a regular time to touch base with staff members about their work (sometimes it’s just a quick conversation at their desk). By creating a place to check and mark off what has been accomplished and what needs to be done, It also provides an opportunity to feedback.
Checking in regularly has two distinct benefits:
- It opens the doors of communication by offering individuals a chance to raise any concerns regarding the project.
- It offers a birds-eye view of where the project stands at any given time and what roadblocks are holding back the delivery of certain milestones.
Show the Big Picture
Some of the Project Managers we’ve spoken to have indicated their teams didn’t fully grasp the value of certain deadlines. They are, after all, right in the middle of it. However, being able to see the bigger picture puts everything into context. When starting a project, make sure they know how each piece of the project fits together to achieve the end result or goal. Highlight the importance of each milestone to the overall success and reinforce that every small task matters. If a person has a sense of how their contribution affects the overall project, they’re more likely to prioritise its delivery.
The world of Project Management boasts an array of software and management systems like Smartsheet and Workfront that are crucial for achieving positive outcomes. To fully take advantage of these systems, teams must be able to access information easily. Whether it’s tasks, deadlines or any other pertinent details, it’s important that everyone can view these things no matter where they are.
Be a Team Player
The impact of micromanagement in meeting deadlines can be counter-productive, resulting in lower motivation as well as lower morale. Conversely, Project Managers who cultivate a team based on transparency and honesty where individuals are comfortable in surfacing any issues before they compound into big problems, often reap the rewards of success.
The best way to build these relationships is to be on the team, instead of just someone that is purely interested in meeting deadlines. By carving your role as one of support, rather than punishment, can go a long way. People will always be motivated to meet deadlines when they feel a responsibility to contribute to success of the whole team, rather than just getting it done to avoid being reprimanded.
With that in mind, communicate daily that you are there to support and help them succeed. Don’t forget to acknowledge good work and provide positive reinforcement. Show your team that what they do truly matters.
Maintain a Healthy Workload
Let’s face it. Sometimes, things get crazy – that’s an unavoidable reality of project-based work. The importance of meeting deadlines can also get lost in the frenzy. Unfortunately, overworked employees will quickly lose interest and enthusiasm, make mistakes and forget things. As obvious as it sounds, make sure the workload is manageable. Planning sessions are a great tool to ensure everyone has the time and resources to get everything done.
By setting clear expectations at the outset, touching base regularly, supporting your team and offering a clear overall picture, you will be in good stead in accomplishing all the pertinent milestones. Bear in mind that the foundations for this success start with fostering strong relationships with your project teams through honesty and trust. What do you do to make sure your team meet their deadlines? We’d love to hear from you.