Being able to implement excellent project management practices can flourish any thriving business. Not to mention, you foster a healthy collaborative ecosystem when good project management processes are in place.
A collaborative relationship among your teams can contribute to increase revenue and reduce overhead costs. Collaboration inevitably creates a synergy in the workforce. This is why organizations need project managers.
Project managers are not office wallflowers. They exist to lead and guide the team into completing a particular task. In a study published by Pulse Report, they discovered 80% of high performing organizations say leadership skills are among the important acquired skills for project management professionals. Project managers, in essence, need to be great leaders.
In this article, we share with you a few techniques to improve collaborative project management.
1. Document everything
In every project, it is important to document the requirements. This lays out the project objectives and what the desired outcome is. No one should be left guessing what to do.
These documents serve as the team's guide on their respective tasks—making sure that everyone is on the same page.
2. Utilize cloud-based application
Cloud-based applications are ideal platforms for collaborative project management because of its convenience and accessibility. Staff members from various departments can open it on-the-go, as well as receive real-time project updates.
With applications like Google Drive or Dropbox, anyone can comment or edit the document as long as they are granted permission. This can help facilitate collaboration.
3. Schedule tasks
With a ton of things to do, it is easy to lose track of what needs to be accomplished. Following a schedule like a Gantt chart can help avoid project delays and unnecessary mistakes. It can also ensure everything is in order.
Similar to having a Gantt chart, you can also measure and track milestones to see how far you are and what else needs to be done to complete the project. Keep in mind, though; that milestone should be designed with the key deliverables in mind.
When something happens, whether good or bad, write it down. The key to perfecting how you manage a project is by treating each one as a learning opportunity. There is always something new to learn.
Make it a habit of dissecting things that went wrong, pondering on what went right, and reflecting on what needs to be improved.
The Achilles heel of every project is the lack of communication. In fact, communication is the very heart of good collaboration.
Train your staff to express themselves concisely and clearly. Avoiding jargons and ensuring everything is on paper for future reference. Communication also keeps everyone in the loop.
Do not be afraid to share what you know. To work collaboratively, you need to be transparent with the team such as informing them about key project decisions and plans.
6. Ask open-ended questions
What sets good project managers apart from the bad ones is how involved they get everyone in the team. Excellent project managers enable everyone to define their contributions.
They ask "how" or "what" questions to find out if there is anything they can do to support the team to work collaboratively. Apart from this, they are also open to feedback.
They are not afraid to ask what they need to improve on or the things they are doing right. What is important is to make sure everyone is working harmoniously.
At the end of the day, think of the team as a naval ship, where project managers are the skippers. They delegate tasks, making sure everyone is rowing to sail the ship where it needs to be.
The skill set required to promote a collaborative project management system cannot be achieved overnight. But, with practice and hard work, you can encourage better liaison that is mutually beneficial for everyone.
About the Author
Karthik Subburaman is currently the Country Manager of ECC International (ECCI) and Apex Global Learning. He has notable experience as a lead consultant and solution architect for clients across industries - in the areas risk management, business process re-engineering, corporate sustainability strategy and organizational learning management. Among other expertise, he has an eye for problem solving, decision analysis, and quality excellence helping a number of companies across industries to improve business processes and learning improvement and sustainability.
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