~ By Duncan Haughey
As we close the door on another year, I thought it would be a good time to look at the top five items project managers should have on their wish list for 2015.
Nobody has the right to receive respect from their team; this can only be earned by reputation or deed. Within project management, respect of your team is essential.
What will encourage team members to go that extra mile if they don't have respect for you as their leader? Will they care about the project enough to ensure success? You must lead by example, and then your team will follow. If they respect you as a project manager, they will put in the extra effort needed to ensure success.
It is hard to deliver any initiative, product or service without support from an organisations' senior management. Most successful projects have leadership support and champions from the highest levels. If people further down the organisation are going to take your project seriously and help you succeed, they must know it has support from the top.
All the respect and leadership support in the world won't deliver a successful project; your team does this. When selecting a team you must recruit the right people, and by 'right' I don't mean best. The right people for a project are those who can deliver what is needed, to the required quality, on time and budget. Look for a mix of different skills and abilities applicable to your project, and not just paper qualifications you'll never need.
With respect, leadership support and the right people you're well on your way to a successful project. The one activity that binds this all together is good communication. Without it, the project will start to drift, and people lose interest as the next new and exciting project comes along.
Developing good communication channels to keep everyone updated and talking together is essential. By good communication channels, I don't mean a status report every few weeks; we need a lot more. We need regular team meetings for discussion of risks and issues; update meetings with our stakeholders; demonstrations of work in progress and of course regular status reports.
As the saying goes, you make your own luck. You must foster a sense of optimism and enthusiasm in and around your team. Negative teams who constantly look at why they can't succeed find it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Things go wrong because they expect them to. Working with a sense of purpose and energy creates opportunities and many more possibilities for solutions to risks and issues. Forget about all the reasons why something may not work. You only need to find one good reason it will work.
With these five essential ingredients in place, you will be well on your way to running successful projects. Without them, it's questionable whether you should start a project in the first place. Think about this before you take on your next project and make sure you’ve got these items ticked-off on your wish list.
Good luck in 2015!