Picking the right project management team is the first step towards a successful project. The art of guiding a project from initial planning to final implementation relies on key members within the team delivering on time, on budget, and with a high level of communication and collaboration. This means that the success (or failure!) of the project is often sealed from the beginning, when the team is put together.
Creating a skilled, cooperative and cohesive project management team is no easy task. It is vital to make sure that the team members not only provide all the necessary skill sets, but are also willing and able to coordinate their efforts, prioritise necessary communication, and meet every project goal on time.
One key role that is vital to any successful project is, of course, the project manager. They are responsible for defining the project framework, identifying necessary tasks and resources, and setting milestones. The project manager bears ultimate responsibility for ensuring that project goals are delivered on time and within budget. Good project managers inspire, encourage and coordinate all team members, always keeping the next project goal (and the ultimate objective) fresh in every team member’s mind.
The team leader is a key role in larger projects. In smaller projects, the project manager will often wear both hats. The team leader often acts as a negotiator, coordinator, initiator, facilitator and coach, as well as contributing to the project as a working member of the team when appropriate.
The team members are, of course, at the heart of any project. They work together to bring the project to fruition, by meeting every project goal on time, so that the project can move forward. It’s important to pick team members according to the specialist skills needed to meet the project objectives, but they also need organisational, interpersonal and problem-solving skills. Picking the most technically skilled member of the organisation for a key role will not pay off if they do not have the necessary talents and qualities to form part of a cohesive team.
Successful project management relies on a few other essential elements. All team members must understand the project goals and objectives and how the various team members and tasks will bring the project towards them at each stage. There must also be clear channels of communication that everyone understands and (most importantly) uses, and there must be systems in place to coordinate all the different tasks that make up each stage in the project life cycle.
In the digital age, it is surprisingly straightforward to take care of these elements – it’s simply a case of picking the right software and technology. Often, the difference between a successful outcome and a failed project can come down to the quality of the systems being used for communication and coordination within the project.
Are you a project manager wanting to exceed all expectations on your next project? You could do a lot worse than focus on two obvious but sometimes overlooked things. Pick a rock star team (in terms of interpersonal and communication skills, as well as technical) and the perfect project management software and systems. They both go a long way to making the whole much greater than the sum of the parts.