It’s a great time for project management. We’re seeing the more traditional methods being slowly phased out and newer approaches recognized as more beneficial. Methods are changing, and so is the role of project managers.
Traditionally, a whole lot of our knowledge of the process performance was dependant on project status reports, ratings and partly on performance appraisals. One of the main problems associated with project management run in this way are long intervals between a project’s start and finish, which impact a manager’s influence over how the process went. Also — where employee opinion on how things go is included, you face the typical and unavoidable risk of getting a subjective and potentially colored version of project progress.
So what are the changes that we’re seeing?
For a few years now, the Agile approach to software development processes has been seeping into other areas of business, getting attention from HR and marketing teams — and going further on from there. Today it’s common to hear of Agile being used in any activity type, from accounting and law firms ops to coffee and repair shops daily work.
This spread alone has probably had a big part in changing the current state of project management overall.
For companies that aren’t ready to go all in into agile management yet, there are baby steps changes that can be introduced to move closer towards a more innovative approach. A fairly easy change that can be made is increasing the frequency of status updates from once every few weeks to 1–2 a week. To make it less of an effort and time expenditure, consider moving to online tools for managing quick communication. They top email, since you don’t need to be part of a discussion in order to follow it, and they top having to set up 2 meetings a week to get the same result. Using an online application, like Kanban Tool, to track the tasks also helps to build a great record of what was done, when, by whom etc.
Though we’re on the subject of project management, it doesn’t mean individual projects are the extent of the concern. Think about how each of the projects you work on adds up to a sum of company efforts, each of which make up the direction in which the organisation is moving, as a whole. In recent years we’ve seen a shift from project-centric take on employing new people and devising goals to more of a strategic approach. It seems more than reasonable to spend more time and effort on planning a general strategy than on fretting over single projects, which outcome and weight for the entire organization cannot be precisely estimatedanyway.
Employee strengths cherry picking
Since employing cross-functional teams has proven successful in Agile environments, a good way to freshen up a company’s mode of team building is to assign tasks on the basis of an individual’s strengths and expertise, rather than based strictly on their usual placement in the company hierarchy.
That’s not only a good way to make the best of what you have but also of helping the team grow and be able to work on the tasks they excel at.
If you’re seeing the need to modernize your company’s project management method, give these baby steps changes a thought — see how far they can take you concerning modernizing your organisation.
The article was originally written for the Kanban Tool Blog.