The digital revolution is already underway. Both individuals and organizations must adopt new habits, modes of thinking and ways of living if they want to thrive in an increasingly technology-driven world. Whether you’re automating existing processes or designing cutting-edge digital-first strategies, implementing new technologies can make your business more agile, competitive, productive, and ultimately, successful.
But implementing new technologies also has the potential to be disruptive. To reduce this friction, you need to have a carefully designed project management plan in place. Whether you’re ensuring workstation compatibility in the wake of a merger, carrying out a routine hardware upgrade, or performing an enterprise-level cloud migration, follow these pro tips to ensure that your project runs as smoothly as possible.
1. Be proactive, not reactive
As a project manager, one of your most important professional responsibilities is to ensure that team members stay on track, on task, and on budget. For this, strong communication skills are essential.
Also, the key is honing your ability to anticipate challenges and potential stumbling blocks—and preparing the team to move past them. Always ask questions, and keep your eyes and ears open. Your goal should be to communicate strategy and next steps before confusion or problems arise. By the time team members start asking you questions, it’s too late.
2. Keep your eyes on the bigger picture
Getting too caught up in the details can lead you down the proverbial rabbit hole. Maintain focus on the project’s starting point and finish line, and remember what it’s going to take to get there.
This is always a balancing act: it’s not that the small tasks are unimportant, but that larger-scale goals need to stay front-of-mind when you’re allocating time and resources.
3. Concentrate on the most essential responsibilities
The better you understand what’s most important to the project overall, the more you can help team members prioritize their tasks and responsibilities. With so many competing demands on their time and attention, project participants need clear signposts showing them the smoothest and most efficient route to project completion.
4. Overcommunicate! Team members can never be too well informed
To establish a truly collaborative culture around the project, you need to get all stakeholders to understand why the project’s going the way it’s going. Give frequent updates. Make sure everyone knows what the next steps will be—always document them.
You’ll get stronger buy-in from team members who fully appreciate how each action they’re taking contributes to the project’s completion, and who are privy to full and accurate information.
5. Document everything
The most important items in any project manager’s toolkit are their standard templates for documenting all the steps, stages and allocated responsibilities within the project. Recording the team’s progress is the key to keeping everyone on the same page. By minimizing misunderstanding, you can also reduce opportunities for disagreement.
Meetings are also far more productive when they’re organized according to a fixed agenda. Review what’s been accomplished since the last time you got together, what needs to be talked about today, and what should happen before the team meets again.
It’s also important to keep accurate records of what team members have said. These records serve to jog people’s memories, to reaffirm the worth of their contributions, and to verify their understanding of what they need to accomplish.
6. Listen to all the voices in the room
Oftentimes, when the “experts” get the floor, they sometimes monopolize the conversation, but other people involved in the project have ideas, opinions and expertise to share as well. Even the team’s quietest or most junior members can bring valuable experience to the table.
In fact, they might well the ones who supply the most creative insights, approach problems from a fresh perspective or see things that others have overlooked. Make sure you’re allowing everyone to contribute to the conversation.
7. Keep your focus on the project’s logic and not on individual emotions
It’s a reality: when project managers are doing their jobs well, they’re not always going to be the best-loved people in the room. Though it’s important in your role to be friendly and sociable, it’s also critical to keep everyone’s focus on the project at hand. That means holding team members accountable.
It also means encouraging and recognizing individual contributors who exceed expectations. It might mean bringing in bagels when things are going well. And it means noticing—and rewarding—excellence in ways large and small.
Red Level offers professional-grade project management services to help you handle changes—big or small—within your organization. We rely on a hybrid assortment of project management applications, including specialized software (ConnectWise) and custom tools. Our on-staff project management professionals are full-time, dedicated and highly experienced.
For more information about how we can help you with your project, contact Red Level today.