Maybe you are not a project manager at work, but, have you ever organized a birthday party? or raised funds for a present? Or maybe even contributed to your community through some kind of committee? In these, and many other ways, we all manage projects from time to time. Even at work, you may not be an official manager, but have to act as one under certain circumstances.
So, what are some project management skills that we could all profit from?
- Having a project charter
This may be the first time you hear this term, but it means, basically, to define the scope and objective of the project before you start working on it and making sure everyone agrees. Knowing who will be in charge of each task, what can be expected from each participant and what are the main goals you want to achieve is a great way of starting with the right foot. Project charters provide clarity and accountability and can avoid a great number of misunderstandings down the road.
- Carry out a comprehensive risk analysis
Rather than letting throwbacks surprise you, why not start the other way round? See all the possible ways in which a project may go wrong. Of course, it is impossible to anticipate every single risk, but it is also unwise to pretend “nothing bad will happen”. When you know what the possible problems may be, you can: reduce the team’s anxiety, ask for more resources if necessary, present your case to the higher management with better grounds, and plan your risk mitigation strategies.
- Always take the time to debrief projects
Companies tend to run from one project to another and this sometimes means not taking the right time to debrief past projects and learn from them. Just as in the military or in the health area, taking a look at what we did, what worked well, and what did not is one of the best ways of not repeating the same mistakes over and over. This is not just “a good idea”: it could really help you avoid several problems that had already appeared in past projects.
But what could be better than the voice of experience? So, we have also asked some of our team leaders for their advice on leadership skills that apply to all collaborators. Esteban highlighted the importance of personal leadership -being able to know oneself before trying to lead others-, while Ariel mentioned the importance of constant and clear communication, where objectives are clearly set and regularly updated. On the other hand, Esteban told us how important soft management skills are for all team members since they allow them to be better team players. Ariel also mentioned how, from his own experience, management tools should be part of everyone’s training, regardless of their seniority, as a way of being better prepared for handling daily challenges.
We believe that project management skills are not just for project managers. Training all your staff to know how to best deal with projects, whether big or small, will help them in their daily tasks and also empower them both at work and in their community. If you had not considered it before, now is the time!