Most of non IT teams have always thought of Project Managers as mainly coordinators, and that’s where our challenge starts, as a Project Manager our thoughts are always on how to better get to the different milestones of our project plan, regardless of the constraints, people, schedule, budget, tools and processes. Thinking on the interaction of teams, culture and personalities, to better communicate and make the teams work towards a single objective is one of the most challenging tasks of a Project Manager, because is not only the plan, with predefined tasks. It’s motivating, executing and assuring quality of the tasks to be done.
Besides the people that has to work towards this goal, are many times SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) that reports do different business units or departments, this makes even more difficult the task if the Project Manager is not empowered by a heavyweight sponsor within the organization or has built his/her own reputation regarding leadership or technical knowledge. Once you get the team respect things start flowing easier, with minimal escalations and aligning the tam.
It’s always good to have a clear mitigation strategy, to have a way to identify deviations and propose a mitigation that do not hamper the project with minimal impact in the scope, time, costs balance.
Not always the best strategy is to be blunt, but the way we communicate even the slightest variance in a project might be perceived as a huge risk from the customer we are working for internal or external. Its key to have control, but it’s more valuable to have everyone engaged, and helping the project progress and success.
Managing the correct expectations is paramount to any project success, there if we know where we want to go and our customer (internal or external) has the same expectation and even more, know what is the path that will take us there, could become one of the most important if not the most important task in our project. Sometimes there is a mismatch on the request, the project and the outcome, that needs to be addressed before we even start the project to avoid losing time and money.