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 Directors

Project Plans. Meetings. Status Reports. Project Directors have to balance an enormous scope (the whole project) with an intense detail burden (what is on/off track?). It can feel like managing your direct reports--usually project managers or directors over areas--is an additional burden on top. By following these guidelines, you can turn that burden into a boon:

  • Structure is your friend
    • The status reports you receive should give you key project information in a format that’s both easy to compile and easy to understand. When done on a regular schedule and with standard content, you don’t have to spend as much time digging for updates. If you find that you’re spending a lot of time trying to determine status or progress, it may be time to re-examine how you’re receiving project information. It may require significant effort up front to build this structure, and it will pay dividends when the project gets chaotic.
  • Focus meeting content with your reports
    • By managing your status updates outside of meetings, you can spend your time with your direct reports focusing on solutions to problems, ways you can help and general career growth. Your staff will be more open and engaged if your meetings are productive problem-solving sessions, rather than interrogations of what things are off track. Career development may seem like a superfluous conversation with so much to do. Consider how much your charges have on their plate, and how important it is for them to be doing their best work. They’ll do this when you can connect their skills and growth to career goals that you discuss with them. It can be easy to focus purely on tasks. Focus your meetings on helping your staff with problems and developing their skillsets and you’ll reap the rewards of motivated, improving staff.
  • Know your people
    • With so much area to manage, it’s important to know which areas need what level of oversight from you. Some managers are good “peacetime leaders”, where when things are going well they will continue to get better and better. Some are “wartime leaders” who really shine when things get off track and they’re firefighting at all angles. Their management styles and strengths will be different, which will present unique challenges for them as the manage their team and build relationships with operations. Be judicious about your time: help the managers who are outside their comfort zone, and recognize when a situation is under control and needs only a lighter hand. While it may seem like this is mostly related to on- or off-track areas, it’s also a function of the skills of the people involved in managing those areas.
  • Find the real ask in measurable terms
    • It will sometimes feel like the complaints are unending. We’re not getting enough support from Epic. The physicians/billers/steering committee can’t make a decision. Other teams aren’t pulling their weight. In such a high-paced environment, complaints often get emotionally charged and it’s difficult for people to see a way forward. You can be an invaluable resource for your team by working through complaints to find the real issue. If there’s a lack of support or communication, how is it materially affecting progress? Do you have the right structures in place to make sure people are operating with the right information? Your slight remove from the situations helps you give perspective and find the way forward. Of course, it’s also important to let your people vent when they need to. Make sure you know when someone is just letting off some steam and when they really need your help.

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 second post in a series about how to manage your project team. This article is targeted towards project directors