The basics for anyone starting out in management
I have written and taught management and systems related topics for many years, always trying to offer pragmatic approaches. Recently though, I ran into a young man who was about to become a project manager for the first time and wanted some advice on tackling the assignment. He was being put in charge of a small team of workers, consisting of seven people, and wanted to know how to best manage the project.
As this was his first management assignment, I told him the three keys to success were organization, communications, and interpersonal relations. I cautioned him against trying to over-supervise his team, in other words, not to micromanage them.
Actually, it is all rather simple:
First define the methodology for the project to follow, including the work breakdown structure, benchmarks and deliverables, and review points. Be sure to include an initial phase for planning, and an ending phase for review. Although some projects are executed serially, others may split into parallel paths.
Second, understand the skills and knowledge required to implement the project, then examine those of your workers, including their proficiencies. Provide training where required.
Third, articulate the project assignment to the team. Define the allocation of human resources within the methodology, thereby defining Who, is to perform What, When, Where, Why, and How (the 5-W’s and H). When this is done, empower the team and let them get on with their business.
The team should report progress on a regular basis, such as weekly, but otherwise stay out of their way and only get involved if a problem arises. In other words, let the workers supervise themselves, freeing you to manage the overall project. The responsibilities of the manager, as I explained it, was to:
* Plan the project carefully.
* Train the workers appropriately.
* Communicate the project assignments effectively.
* Empower the staff.
* Monitor progress routinely.
* Look for trouble spots, and take corrective action. In other words, run interference for the team.
* Regularly communicate progress to your superiors.
The real key here is to treat the workers like professionals, thereby empowering them with a sense of responsibility and ownership. To do so, avoid the temptation to micromanage everything which will only cause problems with morale and slow the projects. Employees are much more inclined to attack projects zealously if they believe management trusts their judgement and is not breathing down their throat.
Finally, be sure to review the project at its conclusion, which many people tend to overlook as they do not see the wisdom for doing so. The review should include an analysis of estimate versus actual time and money spent, what went right during the project, what went wrong, and recommendations for future projects. Sometimes this is written by the Project Manager, but it is preferable to have a third person write it who is more objective. The final report should be reviewed by all members of the project team.
If you have performed your job properly as manager, your people will become more disciplined, more enthused about their work, and will develop a professional attitude, all of which benefits the company.
Thus ended my five minute lesson.
For some of my other tutorials on management, click HERE.
Keep the Faith!
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Copyright © 2018 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.