Agile has a particular meaning in the project management world and suggests a special way of handling projects – but these days we all have to be agile to keep up with the challenging and ever changing business world.
You and your team need to move quickly and be flexible enough to grab opportunities as they come along before they pass you by or are grabbed by the competition.
If you can engage your team and keep motivation high whilst putting all your great ideas into practice, all your work will be delivered more successfully – and that means… happy customers, happy workforce, happy you!
Can project management techniques help you to achieve this? They most certainly can. Here are some top tips to show you how:
- Be the ‘project champion’ not the ‘project manager’ – stay involved and interested in the project work you have kicked off, but the person actually managing the project should be close to the frontline and understand the daily issues of the team – and that person is not always you!
- Reality check your ideas – find someone in the business who can act as a bridge between your strategic world and the operational world of your organisation. They can help you spot potential pitfalls before your idea hits the real world.
- Involve your team – the earlier you can involve the team in a new idea, the more engaged they will feel. You want them to feel some ownership for the project so allow them to share their expertise when you are developing the ideas.
- Give clarity – the biggest reason given for project failure is lack of clear project definition – that means knowing exactly what you want delivering and why.
- What’s in it for them? – understanding why a piece of work is needed and what benefits the business will gain from it is a great way to help teams to feel a valued part of the organisation. They will see the importance their small part can play in the overall success of the business and it might encourage them to add some great ideas into the mix.
- Be honest – if you are not sure of the best way to approach a problem – be honest with your team and ask for their input – you will be sure to get some great ideas which you would not have considered – and you will have a team highly motivated to show how great their ideas are by delivering them in style!
- Use appropriate methods to control the change – project management processes can be seen as bureaucratic and over burdensome but you can cherry pick a few simple tools to give structure to your work without overwhelming your teams with paperwork.
- Listen – managers hate teams who whinge about how something cannot be done – but often they are trying to let you know that whilst something is a challenge, they are more than happy to take it on – as long as they have your support and understanding of the challenge they are facing. In the world of project management this is called risk management.
- Who’s who – when planning a project, it’s really important to be clear on who is doing what – this will reduce duplication of effort and will make sure that tasks do not fall between the cracks. It is also good to agree levels of authority. Give your team a little space to make their own decisions, but be there for the difficult ones. A good boss is one who has confidence in their team, shows it but knows when to support.
- Celebrate – and of course be ready with the champagne when the work is done. Celebrate not only the successes of your team, but also the hard work done when things are not so good.
Put all those ideas into practice and you will have an agile team delivering success after success.
This guest blog was provided by Sarah Wilson from 54 Degrees
Sarah Wilson, from 54 Degrees, is a highly experienced and qualified project manager, project management advisor, and trainer. With over 20 years of experience in both private and public sector organisations Sarah has a wealth of experience in both projects and programmes to help support her clients. Sarah is a qualified APM (Association for Project Management) practitioner with over 15 years of experience working with PRINCE2 and MSP based methodologies.
For more information, go to www.54-degrees.co.uk