Benefits of collaborative working

How to Become a Project Manager: The Complete Guide

We’ve all seen the scenes in Alan Sugar’s – ‘The Apprentice’, when each week individuals put themselves forward to be the project manager and then after a short vote, one lucky person takes home the title. 

As we know, in reality, getting your dream role doesn’t quite work like that. . That’s why we’ve put together this complete guide on how you can become a project manager. So, without further delay, let’s get stuck in. 

What Does a Project Manager Do? 

Exactly what the project manager does will differ slightly depending on the sector that they work in. However, there are some responsibilities that are exclusive to project managers across the board. 

The responsibilities of a project manager may include:  

  • Developing ideas for projects. 
  • Devising detailed project plans and project proposal documents.
  • Managing the budget.
  • Overseeing the project scope and timeline to ensure timely completion.
  • Communicating with external and internal stakeholders.
  • Motivating and supporting team members working on the project. 
  • Tracking and monitoring the progress of the project. 
  • Overcoming any challenges or issues that may arise. 
  • Delegating and assigning tasks to the correct team members or department.
  • Ensuring that the correct processes are followed.
  • Evaluating the projects’ effectiveness.

This list is not exhaustive, but these are the main responsibilities of the project manager. Ultimately, it is their responsibility to oversee the project from idea, to execution, to the final piece. It’s also their responsibility to evaluate how it went and what can be improved on for future projects. 

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What Skills Are Needed to Become a Project Manager? 

As you can see from the previous section, the project manager has a lot of plates to spin. They need to keep their eye on the ball at all times, and it can be a lot of pressure. For that reason, there are certain skills that will come in handy. These include: 

  • Leadership
  • Creativity 
  • Strong communication
  • Decisiveness 
  • Problem-solving
  • Adaptability
  • Drive
  • Passion
  • Accountability
  • Stress management 
  • Strategic thinking 
  • Integrity 
  • Organisation  

Again, this list is not exhaustive, however these are the key skills that many successful managers possess. You don’t necessarily have to be a natural-born leader to be a project manager, or have every single skill one of these skills mastered. 

You can learn and develop your skills along the way, and you may even find you don’t get the opportunity to fully expand your skill set in all these areas until you’re actually in the role. With that being said, the skills you will need from the get-go are passion, drive, and determination. A passion for what you do, and the drive and determination to see your projects through to fruition. 

The Different Types of Project Managers

So, now we’ve taken a look at what exactly the role of a project manager entails, and what key skills they possess, let’s look at the different kinds of project managers. There are generally two kinds of project managers. The first kind may have taken a formal qualification, or gone into an apprenticeship in order to gain the role of an official project manager. 

The second, is the unofficial project manager. That is, they have all the responsibilities of a project manager, but it isn’t in their official job title. For example, you may be in a managerial or senior role, and as part of that role you take on the responsibility of a project manager. 

On the other hand, you may be in a less senior role, but taking on all the responsibility of a project manager. (In that case, it might be time to talk to your manager about a promotion). 

The point is, depending on the structure and size of your company or organisation, project managers aren’t always referred to as such, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a person fulfilling that role. In this article we’ll look at a few ways you can get into project management / project management oriented roles. 

How To Get Into Project Management  

As we touched upon earlier, there are generally two routes to becoming a project manager. The first one is by completing a formal qualification, and then seeking a PM position. Even if you  didn’t initially set out to become a project manager, but have found yourself in a PM-like role, you may now want to take that to the next step. 

The Direct Route 

Though taking an official or formal course in project management will heighten your chances of getting into project management, it’s important to note that it’s not the only route, nor does it guarantee you a PM position straight away. However, it will help you stand out during the selection process, and teach you valuable skills and knowledge that you may not otherwise have been exposed to. 

If you know from the get-go that you want to be a project manager, or perhaps you’re already heading down that path and want to level up your skills in the area, then embarking on a course is a good call. Some questions that might help you decide are; 

  • How much time and resources can you dedicate to the course?
  • Is there a particular course that’s mentioned a lot within your company, or on lots of job descriptions? 
  • If you’re already in a job – will the course accommodate for this? 
  • Will you need funding for the course? If so, are you eligible?  

Once you have completed the course, you might need to take on a less senior role, such as project coordinator or assistant project manager. There’s no need to be disheartened by this, though, as these roles will provide you with the practical experience that you need to become a successful PM.  

In addition to this, it’s not going to be enough to simply get the qualification and never think of it again. Some courses expire after a few years, so you’ll need to retake them to prove your knowledge is up-to-date. 

Even the ones that don’t, you will need to ensure that you stay on top of industry knowledge and are constantly striving to improve, if you want to succeed as a project manager. 

The ‘Accidental’ Route 

Another way into project management might be less direct. Perhaps considered ‘accidental’ in the sense that you didn’t set out to become a project manager, but you have found yourself exposed to a project management orientated role, and you want more.  

This route is in no way less valuable than the more traditional route, and you can still be in the same role as someone who obtained a degree, the road may just be a little more windy. 

If you are already managing the odd project, or are involved in lots of tasks contributing to the completion of the project, there are a few steps you can take that will help you propel into the role. 

Shadow the Current Project Manager

By shadowing the current project manager, you will be exposed to their day-to-day duties. Take the opportunity to learn how they approach each task, as well as how they organise themselves. Learning from those already in the role will help you massively when it’s your turn to take the reins. 

Level Up Your PM Knowledge 

Just because you don’t currently have, or aren’t planning on, getting a degree in project management. That’s not to say you can’t still learn more about it. You could ask your manager if there are any short courses the company would be willing to send you on, or if there’s any internal training you can attend. If not, you can carry out research in your own time, there’s an abundance of short, online courses out there that are either free or don’t break the bank. 

Not only will this expand your knowledge and skill set in the area, but it shows initiative and drive too -traits that are important when it comes to managing a project.  

Take the Lead 

Once you’ve shadowed on a couple of projects and spent some time furthering your knowledge in the field – then it’s time to take the lead. One of the best ways to learn is by simply doing. So throw yourself in at the deep end and ask to take the lead on a project. If you’ve been unofficially managing projects for quite some time, learning from your colleagues and researching the topic, this shouldn’t come as a massive shock to the system, and is the natural next step. 

Our Top Tips

Whether you’re on your way to becoming a project manager or have just landed the role, here are some helpful tips to help you flourish; 

  • Never stop learning. Whether you’re one year into your PM journey or ten, there is always something new to learn. Seeking to learn new skills from a mentor in your company, or an online course – expanding your knowledge in the field can only work in your favour. 
  • Be open. Just because you’ve always done something a certain way, doesn’t mean you always have to. Be open to try new methods and approaches — you never know how it might turn out. 
  • Listen to feedback. Actively seek out the opinions of your team and address any issues that they raise. Doing this can go a long way to improve current processes and styles of working. In turn, you may see an influx of projects heading your way. 
  • Communicate well. Being an excellent communicator is half the job of being a successful project manager. Communicate effectively with your team, wider departments and stakeholders. Keep everyone sweet and on the same page, and you’ll find your job will run a lot smoother. 
  • Appreciate your team. It’s true that no one works harder than someone who feels valued. Those around you are more likely to do a better job, and even go above and beyond, if they know their efforts are seen and appreciated. But beyond that, good manners and politeness are a basic common courtesy that no one, even the PM, is above.  

How Verto 365 Can Help You Become a Project Manager 

We have  partnered with Microsoft Teams to bring you all the tools of both systems under one roof. So instead of having your communication platform and work management platform running separately, both Verto 365 and Teams can run together, within the one system.

Verto 365 is a work and project management system, so it will come as no surprise to hear that it’s going to improve your project management journey tenfold. Project managers, budding and current, rely on our service to streamline their process and workflows. 

Verto 365 assists with project planning, reporting, collaborative working, team and task management, stakeholder engagement and so much more. Alongside this, our features allow for Kanban board and Gantt chart creation, instant messaging, document management and more. 

Start your Verto 365 journey today, and enjoy an unlimited free trial. 

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The Project Management Process Explained

The way we manage our projects can make or break them. It’s not enough to simply have a good idea, you need to make sure that you can execute it too. One sure-fire way of helping you do this is by implementing a project management process. 

This guide takes a look at some of the most tried and tested ways you can manage your projects. Before we begin, let’s take a quick look at what a project management process actually is. Well, the clue’s in the name; it’s a way of controlling and overseeing a project, to secure the desired outcome. 

The five key phases of the project management process are:

  1. Initiation 
  2. Planning
  3. Execution 
  4. Monitoring / Controlling
  5. Completion

Using a project planning tool like Verto 365 will help you manage your project from start to finish, offering a range of tools to help you on your way. Learn more about it here – Why Verto 365?

What are the 5 Stages of Project Management?

Phase 1: Initiation

The first stage of the project management process transforms your idea into a meaningful goal. During this stage of the process you’ll need to justify your project from a business perspective and create a business case.

 

Consider the example of a chocolate manufacturer who would like to introduce a vegan range of products. During the initiation stage, they would need to prove there’s a demand for it. 

You’ll also need to make sure that the product is feasible. Though you should not get too caught up in the logistics and technicalities (as that will all come later), but you will need to make sure that you can finance it. 

Once you’ve made your business case, and proved its feasibility, you’ll need to create a project charter document. The project charter document should include details such as; potential barriers, goals, budget, stakeholders, and predicted timeline. You’ll also need to assign a project manager. 

Phase 2: Project Planning   

This phase is where you’ll get into details of the project. Planning is an integral part of the project management process, and is, arguably. is the most important step. As you know what they say – fail to plan, plan to fail. 

The primary tasks in the planning phase will include; identifying the technical and logistical requirements, producing a project schedule, setting up communication channels, and pinning down your project goals and deliverables.  Attention to detail is absolutely vital here. 

There are lots of ways you can establish the goals of the project. However, two of the most popular ways of doing so are by using S.M.A.R.T and C.L.E.A.R goals.

SMART stands for; 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely 

Smart goals are ideal for bringing a sense of direction and clarity to the project. Not only that, but they can fuel motivation, and clarify the importance of each task too. 

The second acronym; CLEAR, stands for;

  • Collaborative
  • Limited
  • Emotional
  • Appreciable
  • Redefinable

This approach often appeals to the dynamic and fast-paced nature of some workplaces, and allows for flexibility. Using either method is guaranteed to maximise your chances of success. 

This stage of the project management process will also require you to undertake some risk mitigation research. You’ll need to make sure you have assessed all the potential risks, and then plan for them accordingly.

Expect the unexpected. It’s definitely worth planning for unpredictable events too. As the project progresses, you may find that you need to adapt or change the plan slightly. To be best prepared for this, you should include an effective change management plan. 

Phase 3: Project Execution  

This phase of the project management process will see the idea and the planning come to life. You may want to have a meeting with everyone involved to kick-start the project and drum up some excitement. 

You will also want to make sure that everyone is on the same page, and knows exactly what their role is. You can set expectations and assign accountability. This will help the project run smoothly and efficiently. 

Once that’s been done, you can set up tracking systems, update project schedules, assign resources, and hold regular updates as you go along. The execution phase of the project management process often works in conjunction with the next phase… 

Phase 4: Project Monitoring & Controlling

This phase of the process is all about making sure that everything is going according to plan, and that the project goals are being met (or are at least on track to be). 

You can use a few different methods of ensuring this, but two of the most commonly used are Key Performance Indicators (KPI), or Critical Success Factors (CSF).  

These are a helpful way of measuring performance over time, and can help the project manager assess the effectiveness of both group and individual work. They can also help the project manager make better informed decisions, and re-assess areas of the project if needs be.  

During the project monitoring and controlling stage, it’s a good idea for the project manager to take a look at the finances too, to ensure that nothing is running over budget. 

Phase 5: Project Completion

The final stage of your project management process will be completion, signalling the wrapping up of the project.

During this phase it’s a good idea to hold a meeting with everyone who’s been involved. This will give you the opportunity to not only thank everyone, but evaluate what went well, and what could have gone better. Assessing your wins and losses will help you massively in future projects. 

This stage will also see any contractors that were brought on to help with the project let go, as well as any paperwork finalised. 

If the project was a significantly big one, you may even want to host a small work event to celebrate its completion. 

For our full take on project completion, check out our Complete Guide to Project Completion.

Hybrid working

Enhance Your Project Management Process 

Verto 365 is ideal for making sure you’re in control, organised and informed throughout every stage of the project management process, with features such as; 

Our partnership with Microsoft Teams gives you all the power of two systems under one roof. The end result? Effortless integration and collaboration. 

With Verto 365, all your work is centralised – from project documents, to schedules, to task list. So you don’t need to worry about people not having the right access, out of date-documents, or using multiple services.

You can use Verto 365 for all your reporting and data tracking needs too. As the reports will be run in real-time, and all the information will be up-to-date and accurate. This is useful, particularly during the project execution and monitoring phases. 

 So, as you can see, there’s no doubt about it that an effective, cloud-based system like Verto 365 is perfect for all of your project management needs. But hey – don’t just take our word for it, see for yourself with our unlimited free trial. 

Try Verto 365

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Why do you need Microsoft Teams to manage more than just communication?

It’s been well documented how beneficial Microsoft Teams (MS Teams) is for many business sectors. Whilst it is one of the best tools out there for communication, it’s also host to many more features that make it perfect for other work activities by using the right tools. 

Benefits of the MS Teams Ecosystem

MS Teams plays host to a growing number of integrated services that can help you do more from one place. It’s a logical ecosystem focusing on collaborators and includes the whole workforce, not just those with digital as part of their agenda. 

The internal AppSource (MS Teams’ app collation and management area) is increasing in size as more apps are being developed by organisations that are seeing the benefits of aligning with MS Teams. Not only that, but a number of emerging ‘power apps’ are beginning to surface that help you achieve even more by offering tools which have never been seen within the MS Teams system before, such as Verto 365

Apps like Verto 365 are changing the game for MS Teams users, improving productivity by retaining more of their daily tasks within one place. The benefit of working in this way means tracking data and information is much easier, which in turn makes reporting a cinch. 

1) Streamline Comms

By including more of what you do in one platform, collaboration flourishes as documents are stored, accessed and worked-on in a space where everyone can see changes and comments being made, in real time. There’s transparency that creates inclusiveness and helps governance flow easily. 

When it comes to work management, many juggle several activities at once involving multiple different teams and colleagues. So, retaining focus on a single task by not having to switch from platform to platform to access different areas of your work, encourages greater productivity and reduces frustration.

Working within one platform also helps across departments, including remote and hybrid working staff, as well as collaborating with external organisations. Just as it’s possible to use MS Teams to call external parties, the emerging power apps, such as Verto 365, enable project work to be accessed and managed by anyone who is brought into that group within Microsoft Teams. 

2) Easy to Share Documents and Data 

The nature of work output often leads to lots of files and documents ‘floating around’. So, with more people spending an increasing number of hours on MS Teams, it makes sense for the platform to store files safely, securely and more accessibly for anyone within the right MS Teams channels to view. The power platforms making an entrance are embedding all functionality are making this a reality – great news for anyone who has information to manage of any kind who can now create folders to keep work organised, all within MS Teams.

3) Effortless organisation  

When managing your own actions effectively, it’s because you’re organised. However getting everyone on the same page as you can be a struggle if this doesn’t come naturally. From one system, it’s easier to create good habits like keeping Kanban boards of activity up to date. When including an app like Verto 365 with this functionality, you don’t need to move to another system and log in just to assign a task to a new team member. It’s all done from within MS Teams as well as notifying that team member of their new task. 

4) A Clean User Interface  

When completing any kind of task for work, clear navigation from the tools you use helps to maintain a good flow of work and minimise disruptions to your day. MS Teams is easy-to-use and familiar for people working at all levels across all industries. Therefore, apps like Verto 365 have been created to fit perfectly with the MS Teams interface, so you won’t notice two separate systems are being used and instead feel like you’re getting so much more from MS Teams. 

5) No sign-in necessary

The apps you use to improve your MS Teams experience must integrate fully. The time you spend using them should feel lag-less and smooth, as if you are simply using an upgraded MS Teams, rather than separate systems. This is why Single Sign-on (SSO) methods are so popular with the newest apps. Rather than integrate to a certain point, they embed themselves within the MS Teams platform and require no log in, just as with your current MS Teams experience. Once you open MS Teams for the day, you will be able to access apps like Verto 365 as part of the same system without having to do anything. It’s an innovative but fundamental feature to keep the productivity flowing.

Ultimately this method of working saves you time, streamlines your workflow, and puts you in the driver’s seat of the work you do. 

A Complete Work Management Solution Within Teams

Microsoft Teams and Verto 365 bring popular work management tools together. If you’re already using MS Teams, Verto 365 is the next logical step. Kanban boards, Gantt charts, dynamic dashboard capability, reporting tools and benefits tracking are just some of the additional features that Verto 365 brings to MS Teams. 

Upgrading with Verto 365 doesn’t just improve your capabilities, it turns MS Teams into a one-stop solution for managing so much more of your work. Try Verto 365 for free today, or get in touch with our team for more information. 

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How to Create a Project Management Schedule

How to Create a Project Management Schedule

When first approaching a new project at work, it can often seem daunting. Organising your team, meeting deliverables, engaging with the stakeholders and hitting the final deadline can all seem quite overwhelming. It’s easy to fall into the trap of putting your head down and pushing on without much consideration, but this will only lead to unnecessary complications further down the line.

Taking a step by step approach to your project will make it more manageable and clear. A project management schedule gives you just that, allowing you to completely plan out the who’s, how’s, what’s and when’s of the project. Putting together an intuitive schedule will help relieve the stress of reaching deliverables, delegating responsibilities and leading your team.

Spending time to put together a project management schedule is always a worthy investment, providing clarity to you and your time and saving time in the long run. Today we’re going to give you a step by step guide on how to plan, develop and implement a project management schedule.

Project Schedule

1) Clearly define the goal of the project

It may seem obvious, but defining the end goal of the project should be your first port of call. When planning a journey, the first thing you think about is the destination, and the same should apply for project management. Once you’ve identified the goal, then we need to plan out how to get there.

2) Identify your milestones 

Once you understand your goal, now we need to break the project down into the milestones and deliverables you’ll need to reach along the way. Do you have stakeholders you need to pitch to? Have you been given any internal deadlines? Do you have a versioning plan in place? These are all milestones that need to be put in place along the road to project completion. 

3) Work collaboratively with your team

Don’t plan your project alone. Work collaboratively with the team you’ll have on the project to gain their insight into the intricacies of their roles. This will help you to gain a holistic view of a project from each side, ensuring that milestones for every team member are taken into account. Not only does this help your team feel more included, it also helps to reduce the number of unforeseen milestones that may arise, allowing your project to run smoother. Additionally, your team will be able to provide more realistic timeframes on your project, meaning that stakeholders won’t be misled by unrealistic deadlines. 

Team Collaborating

4) Engage with stakeholders on their view

Stakeholder engagement is a key element of project management, and including it in the project schedule will ensure that everyone is on the same page. Start by listing everyone that needs to be involved in the project, and identify those you will have to report to on a regular basis. The earlier you start to build a relationship with them, the easier working with them will be. Talk to them about what timescales they are visualising, and correlate those with your team’s expected timelines to create a project management schedule that works for everyone.

5) Plan for potential risks and conflicts

To realistically align project completion to a deadline, make sure to factor in potential issues that might arise. This may come from conflict between parties, perhaps where a decision requires compromise on both sides. It may also be risks of a financial or qualitative kind, which should be tracked, measured and planned for. It is always wise to come up with multiple contingencies for risks, and factoring these into the total project schedule. This allows you to be more agile with how you respond to these risks, and helps keep your project on track.

Management Presentation

6) Break down your milestones into tasks and subtasks

Next, break down your milestones into their requirements. What tasks need to be completed to ensure a milestone is met? It may be that your tasks need to be broken down even further into subtasks, ones that might even take less than a day to complete. This will make it easier for you to allocate tasks to team members, and will make it simpler for your team to understand. After all, any big task is just a bunch of smaller tasks on top of each other. 

7) Order your tasks by priority

Once you have an idea of the necessary tasks needed to complete the project, you now need to order them. Some tasks will be reliant on the completion of other tasks, so take care to consider where your dependencies are. Once you’ve aligned your tasks in priority order (based on prerequisites of other tasks / milestones) add them to the schedule and give your team a clear visual aid for the project.

Collaborative Presentation

8) Delegate!

You’re almost done with your scheduling, and nearly ready to get down to work. But first you have to assign tasks to team members. This is not always as easy as you think. Many project managers will just throw tasks to the four winds and hope they are picked up, while others will assign tasks based on availability of the team member. However, you should always look to delegate tasks to team members based on their individual strengths. Perhaps even assign a task to a duo where only one is an expert. This will help you reap the benefits of collaboration further down the line, as your team learns from each other, and help to better their skills. Be considerate of each team’s workload, as overloading any one member could cause them to miss deadlines or produce work that could be so much better.

9) Share and monitor the schedule

It’s go time. As we mentioned earlier, the whole point of a project management schedule is to keep your project on track and running smooth. Give your team access to the master schedule, or even create sub-schedules for departments or individuals. Monitor the progress of the project, and support your team members where they need it the most. 

This is where Verto can help. Our easy to use project management system allows you to create, manage and monitor a project management schedule. Alongside this, you can assign tasks to teams, work collaboratively online, calculate risks and much more. Verto is a cloud based solution, meaning that it can be accessed anywhere on a range of devices. 

Workplace Mental Health

Join the hundreds of organisations using Verto to create intuitive project schedules, and keep their projects on track all the way to compilation. Our system is relied upon by a range of sectors to help them streamline how they manage projects, programmes and portfolios. 

A project management schedule is an essential part of project management, especially in today’s technology-driven world. Utilise an interactive, customisable schedule will help to keep your project running smoothly, and keep your team on top of their work.

Try Verto 365

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Managing a Team: Project Management Best Practices

Managing a Team: Project Management Best Practices

Managing a team is rarely easy. On top of your own workload, you have to manage the workload of other people, ensure it is done correctly, and then fit it into the project at large. Being a project manager comes with many responsibilities beyond that of other managers, so we’ve put together this list of tips to help you manage a team to the best of your ability.

Management Presentation

Managing Project Teams: Top Tips

When managing a project team, you may find it slightly different to other styles of management. More frequent deadlines, stakeholder engagement and changing business requirements are just some of the hurdles facing project managers today. But there are ways to streamline the way you manage your teams, and here’s the ones we recommend.

Praise your team where it is due

First things first, one of the best ways to keep your teams engaged with their work is to acknowledge when praise is due. There’s few things worse than working your hardest to receive no praise, so be a project manager that does. Recognising the good work your team does also helps to relieve pressure from their shoulders. Lots of people silently doubt their own work, so a pat on the back every so often will go a long way. What’s more, when a team is engaged and motivated in this way, you’ll find they bond as a unit much better, which in turn engages them even more.

Be approachable and encouraging

As a project manager, it can be hard to strike the right balance between being a boss, and being a friend. You don’t want to come across as harsh and robotic, as this will make you seem approachable, which is one of the main causes of issues within the workplace. On the other hand, if you are too much like a friend, you run the risk of your position as manager being ignored. Regular catch ups with your team are a good way to instil both respect and appreciation, which translates to a healthy team to manager relationship.

Workplace Mental Health

Allow your team to work in their style

The whole point of teamwork is to combine different working styles to benefit the greater whole. Therefore, a good team leader will learn how to make the most of each member of the team’s strengths. Everyone has a slightly different style of working, and a project manager, your job is to delegate work based on these strengths, while also working to improve their weaknesses. Your team’s progress is your progress, so taking an active interest in their individual development is not a bad idea.

Be decisive, not flaky

A good leader is nothing if not decisive. One of the most important parts of managing anything – whether it be a coffee shop or an international tech firm – is the ability to make decisions quickly and effectively. You also have to avoid making snap impulsive decisions, so your decision making has to be done based on raw facts and data. If presented with a difficult decision, inaction is often worse than wrong action. At the end of the day, the buck stops with the project leader, and that’s you.

Know how to delegate

Like we mentioned earlier, a good leader will know where the strengths and weaknesses lie within your team. Use this to your advantage by delegating tasks to those team members who are better suited to them. As a project manager, the actions of the team fall under your responsibility, and you are the one who will be looked to if any mistakes are made. Because of this, it can be tempting to try and take on more work than you can handle. If this sounds like you, you may be having issues trusting your team. Instead of hoarding all the work because you’d prefer to do it yourself, educate your team on where you think their weaknesses lie. Involve them in your workload, which leads us to…

Planning Tasks

Lead your team by example

There is a big difference between a leader and a boss. A boss will stand at the back of the team, shouting commands to those at the front. A leader will be right there on the front lines alongside their team. Which one do you think is a better method of managing a team? Being a true leader means sitting down with your team and taking stock of their concerns, while also sharing their pressures and workloads. It is very easy for leaders to forget that they are actually still part of the team, not just managing it. Working alongside your team in this way will do wonders for morale and engagement, and might just yield better results.

What Makes a Good Project Manager?

Being a good project manager comes with a different set of requirements than other managing styles. Managing a specific project or programme often requires managers to be more versatile and adaptable in the aid of delivering one tangible goal. Here’s how we recommend you do that.

Maintain good communication with everyone

As a project manager, you act as the glue between the team members and the stakeholders. This requires you to maintain exceptional communication with everything involved in the project. This includes timely reporting of progress to stakeholders, along with relaying the team’s queries to the stakeholders or third parties. Maintaining watertight communication ensures everyone stays on the same page with the project’s progress, which helps that progress continue.

Communication

Never settle for ‘one size fits all’

One of the main areas that project management differs from day-to-day management is variability. There is no one set way to manage a project, as every project will come with a completely different set of KPI’s, goals, risks and issues to manage. Even the most seasoned project managers will know this, and will never adopt a one-size-fits-all mindset. While this may seem daunting, project managers must replace tried-and-true methodology with an agile mindset, and the ability to be versatile.

Set realistic goals for stakeholders and team members

Setting realistic, achievable goals is vital to ensuring the success of a project. Many project managers fall victim to setting unreasonable goalposts, simply to appease the wishes of stakeholders who may not be aware of certain intricacies. Doing this forces you to rush your teams, which stresses them out, and causes the work completed to be of a lower quality. This stresses you out, and then only serves to irritate your stakeholders when you fail to meet the deadlines you set. Consult your team before agreeing any hard deadlines with your stakeholders, as they know best when realistic deadlines can be set.

Conduct team reviews on a regular basis

Being a good project manager means being there for your team when they have concerns. Take the time to speak to each member of the team and develop a relationship with them. Encourage your team to be transparent with their issues or worries, by offering support and guidance. A great way to do this is with one to one reviews, where you can explore the strengths and weaknesses of each member, and help them set goals for self improvement. Operate an open-door policy with any matter that may be bothering them, as their success is your success.

One to One at Work

Don’t be reactive, be agile instead

Like we’ve mentioned before, a good project manager has to be agile and versatile. But what does this actually mean? There is a big difference between reactive and agile project management. Being reactive in your management of a project means that you will be reacting to events beyond your control, instead of adapting to accommodate them. Instead of scrambling to adapt to changing circumstances, plan contingencies for every eventuality, and you will never be caught off guard. In today’s world of fast paced business environments, a project manager must be ready for anything, which is why managing your risks is a huge part of the job.

Encourage collaboration on every level

Just because you assign roles to your team members does not mean they have nothing else to offer. One great way of managing an agile team is to encourage collaboration across workloads, taking advantage of different viewpoints to produce the very best results. A chief designer may have some great ideas about consumer engagement, or a marketing executive may be excellent at planning out timelines. If you have taken the time to understand your team’s strengths and weaknesses, encouraging collaboration should be a breeze. 

Bear in mind that cherry picking from this list may not be helpful, managing a team effectively is an extensive process that involves many different avenues. Once you action one of these points, you’ll find that the others fall into place. Learn to understand your project team, and you’ll be able to manage them in any way that is required.

Productive Meeting

How Can I Implement These Ideas?

This is where we come in. Here at Verto, we have created a streamlined, easy to use system that makes project management easy. With Verto, you can manage your team easily, from anywhere. Hosting a range of tools to simplify project collaboration, Verto allows project managers to stay on top of their teams, assign tasks, track benefits, calculate risks, collaborate on documents and much more. 

With our cloud based platform, managing a project team has never been easier. You can use it to implement all the practises we’ve gone over today, just as hundreds of organisations have already done. Trusted by government bodies, healthcare providers and private sector partners alike, Verto can be customised to work for you in the way that suits you. 

Take a look round our website today, or send us an email with any questions you might have. Our teams are always happy to help.

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Editors picks

The Benefits of Collaborative Working

As the world of work adapts and pivots to changing environments, a project…

A guide to successfully tracking benefits for your programme.

Benefits realisation allows organisations to plan, manage and monitor how…


Benefits of collaborative working

The Benefits of Collaborative Working

In today’s world of modern working, the benefits of collaborative working cannot be understated. As the world of work adapts and pivots to changing environments, a project manager’s strongest tool is promoting collaboration within their team. In this article, we’re going to go over some of the chief benefits that collaborative working gives to projects.

9 Benefits of Collaborative Working

 

1) Increased creativity, perspective and innovation

 

One of the first things that comes to mind when we think of collaborative working is how projects almost always benefit from multiple perspectives. The phrase two heads are better than one really rings true here. Two people may have completely differing views on what is required for a particular task. These differing views and personalities create a dynamic working environment, and help to foster fresh ideas and innovative insights.

Whether you bring together individuals with complementary or contrasting skill sets, innovative ideas and viewpoints can always be seeded. With the correct managerial guidance, collaborative working can help solve problems and complete tasks in more efficient and effective ways.

2) Teams educate and learn from each other

 

When you bring together a group of people who specialise in different areas, you are likely to see one of two outcomes. The first outcome is that your teams end up working in silos, not being overly communicative. This is not the outcome you want, as you’ll be missing out on one of the fundamental benefits of collaborative working.

If a team is nicely oiled and working well together, you will find that skill sets begin to blend. If you encourage your team members to collaborate with each other – especially on tasks that may be out of some people’s comfort zone – you will start to see your workers pick up on each other’s abilities.

This helps foster a culture of skill development, and your team will be better integrated with each other as a result. Your workers may even end up working on each others’ tasks, which continues the cycle of collaboration, and all the good things that come with it.

Collaborative Presentation

3) Camaraderie breeds engagement and productivity

 

When a team really begins to work well together, they will undoubtedly develop a sense of camaraderie. No matter how different they are as people, the shared goal will unite a well-curated team and foster an affinity. If your team bonds in this way, you will likely find they become more engaged with their work, thanks to the goals they share.

This heightened level of engagement helps create an increase in productivity. As team members gain headway with their work, they find themselves encouraged by both their colleagues and the environment they create. The combination of all this will increase the productivity of both individual members and the team as a whole. If you can nail your team engagement strategy, the rest will take care of itself.

 

4) Well-oiled teams are agile and flexible

 

The ability for project teams to adapt to changing environments is essential for modern business success. Regardless of your sector, every industry is being shaken up in some way at the moment, so this skill has never been more important. When teams collaborate efficiently, this ability is maximised. Some may think that a team is harder to steer in changing environments, but when a team is tight-knit and well integrated with their workload, the opposite is true.

Faced with a major change in circumstance, a well-oiled team can put all hands to the deck to help the project change course where necessary. With each team member focused on their own aspect of the project, team leaders can focus on steering the ship away from the rocks. This style of agile project management comes as a by-product of healthy collaboration, and should be kept in mind when deciding whether or not to increase the amount of collaboration within your project.

Team at Desk

5) Improved workplace mental health

 

Perhaps one of the most important benefits of collaborative working is the effect it has on the mental health of those involved. Developing a good rapport with their colleagues helps members to feel valued as part of a team, which offers plenty of mental health benefits. This feeling of value helps a worker feel more confident in their own work, and more likely to ask for help where they need it.

A valued team member will also find themselves more engaged with their work, and more productive than they might have been without this feeling. In today’s day and age, the mental health of your employees should be a cornerstone of how you manage them. But this does not require you to babysit them, but quite the opposite. Introduce collaboration into your teams, instil in each of them a sense of value, and watch your productivity skyrocket.

For more information and ideas on how to do this, check out this article on Innovative Team Building in the workplace.

 

6) Teamwork is attractive to top talent

 

Because of all the reasons we have discussed so far, a collaborative business is more attractive to top talent. The best individuals in your field understand that collaboration in the workplace offers many benefits and opportunities. This means that organisations who embrace collaboration are more attractive to work for than businesses who ignore it.

Research shows that those startup companies who receive the most attention (both media-wise and recruitment-wise) are the ones who embrace collaboration. There is a reason that all these quirky companies in renovated warehouses have open-plan offices: they know how beneficial collaborative environments are. Take a leaf from their book, and show off your collaborative working environments when hiring.

Team Collaborating

7) Overall project delivery is accelerated

 

While we’ve talked about how one of the benefits of collaborative working is individual productivity, it applies to the team too. If your team members are working more productively, the team as a whole will be too, amplified by the collective atmosphere and rapport they develop. With the whole team helping and learning from each other with constant back and forth, you’ll find that the atmosphere they create breeds productivity.

Have you ever heard the expression the whole is greater than the sum of its parts? Well this applies heavily when it comes to collaborative working. Two individuals working separately are not as fast as two people working together, this we know. But also, two people working together will be working at a higher quality than they would apart. This is because of how they learn from each other and encourage each other to do better. A slight hint of healthy competition doesn’t go misplaced here either.

 

8) Workplace bonds help businesses retain their staff

 

When an employee develops a bond with their colleagues and the business they work for, they are less inclined to want to leave. If you have helped to develop an employee through collaborative working, you don’t want them to leave either. You’ve helped give them the skills they need to become a major asset to your business, so losing them would be a blow. Surprisingly, this also applies for developing a rapport with management.

More so than with personal relationships, workers are more likely to stay with a company if they feel valued by management. These feelings can be instilled in your workers with the help of collaborative working. When a team member is valued by both their team and their manager, this sense of personal confidence is multiplied. It would take a damn good offer for a worker to want to leave a business where they feel truly valued.

Team Learning Together

9) Better communication with stakeholders

 

When a team puts their heads together and really gains an understanding of a project, communication with stakeholders is made much simpler. As a project manager, it is your responsibility to report progress and risks to stakeholders. With individual team members in charge of separate aspects of the project, they will be able to provide you with more insight that you could perhaps provide on your own.

With a crack team of specialists, you will be able to provide more detailed insight to your stakeholders, and refer them onto your team if they require more information. If detailed task-specific terminology is required in stakeholder reporting, a quick chat with the relevant team members will ensure you can explain it all in layman’s terms. This avoids baffling the stakeholders with jargon they don’t understand, and helps to relay information in a more concise way.

 

10) The bottom line

 

All of the things we’ve discussed today are essential to business success. From increased productivity and skill development to mental health and employee retention. But what do all these benefits add up to? More success for your business. If your employees are working harder, are more engaged, learn from each other and feel valued, you have a winning combination for business success. Don’t take collaborative working for granted. Utilise its benefits, and watch your business improve.

But how can you do it? How can you seamlessly implement collaborative working practices into your teams? This is where Verto 365 comes in.

Verto 365: Cloud Based Collaboration Tools

Verto 365’s cloud based project management system allows teams to work collaboratively in real time, wherever they are. Thanks to a range of tools like document sharing, instant messaging and streamlined workflow diagrams, project managers can effortlessly implement collaborative working into their teams.

Verto 365 is designed to seamlessly integrate into Microsoft Teams, bringing a whole range of collaboration tools into the Teams interface. If your organisation could benefit from a tool like, get in touch with our team or try Verto 365 for free!

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