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.