Whether you’re an executive, project director or a project manager, putting your team in a position to succeed is a key component of your management responsibilities. In this post, we’ll look at some best practices of management that are specific to how software implementations work.….

Managing Your Project Team

For Project Managers

Keeping frontline staff engaged, motivated and on track isn’t easy, especially at the start of an implementation. Even after go-live you’ll constantly be onboarding new staff, taking on new projects that stretch your analysts’ capability and capacity and responding to changing demands and technology. These are some strategies we’ve seen the most effective Project Managers use:

  • Match tasks to strengths
    • Your team is responsible for a myriad of areas: guiding decision-making, building complex records in the system, designing and implementing effective test plans, implementing change management strategies and creating engaging training, among many others. Identify your analysts’ strengths and guide them towards the work that leverages that strength. Make sure your strongest meeting facilitator is the one who deals with the difficult group of users, and avoid giving that task to your introverts. Your most technical analyst should be building the most complex functionality. The creative types should be engaged in problem solving and new workflow design. By allowing your staff to play to their strengths, you’ll improve the function of your team while increasing their engagement.
  • Use workplans
    • Your team should know what they’re responsible for in a given week. Format is not important, and you can use different workplans for different team members. The important part is clear expectations. Your staff should be able to identify the work in front of them, and if they can’t do that at the start that’s ok. Help them get there, and they’ll be more independent and you’ll be better able to assess progress.
  • Identify barriers
    • If you’re using workplans, it will be easier to see what is and isn’t getting accomplished. It’s important not to use these as a stick for punishment, and to use them as a way to identify barriers to progress in an non-judgmental way. Asking questions like “what help would you have needed to get this done last week?” can suss out problems that you weren’t aware of. Maybe end users are calling your analyst directly, maybe they have an unclear direction, or maybe they’re not receiving the support from other teams. By working with all of your analysts this way, you can help them overcome obstacles and also identify themes or issues to escalate to the Project Director.

Want to learn more or discuss specifics on setting up your team? Contact us about our Facilitation practice if you want some guidance on managing your project team

This is the third post in a series about how to manage your project team. This article is targeted towards project managers