We’ve already discussed many important aspects and roles as a project manager. We’ve discussed the important roles of communication, technology, risk management and risk management response, and even using different types of project management software. Managing teams is yet another critical area of project management. The overall quality of a particular product or service is only as strong and as successful as the team behind it.
Where Does Teamwork Start?
Teamwork begins with the team, and ultimately with the project manager. How a team functions and operates, and the attitudes instilled within, all stem from the project manager. While this may seem like a lot of pressure, it’s important for project managers to understand that team members should be encouraged to be successful in the projects and in their jobs, to treat other team members with the same respect, and just remember to treat them how you would want to be treated. So where does teamwork start? It starts with you.
Leader vs. Manager
As mentioned above, project managers need to properly monitor team performance, tasks, and activities in order to ensure the overall success and quality of a project. This doesn’t mean micromanage: Project managers should strive to be strong leaders rather than just “managers”. Leaders are just what they are…leaders. They want to encourage team members to be the best they can be. Team members that work under this type of supervision are happier and want to be good at their jobs. This positive attitude is contagious and will only lead to overall project success.
Working within Remote Teams
One of the greatest challenges of today is working with remote teams. It’s becoming more and more common today for team members and managers to work off site, remotely, or in different countries and time zones. While this is an excellent benefit, it sure doesn’t come without its challenges. While it is more cost effective for companies to function this way, and most of us don’t miss having to sit in the four walls of a cubicle, communication among team members is a little more difficult. Opening up the lines of communication and working closely with team members is the sure way to ensure overall project quality and success.
All in all, managing teams certainly doesn’t come without its challenges…like any other area of project management. Team members want to work in teams that they feel comfortable with, as well as work with a project manager they enjoy working with and feel comfortable with addressing issues and concerns. Team members that work in environments and capacities where they feel comfortable will only help them be successful, making it easier for project managers to evaluate overall team performance.
In addition, by practicing excellent leadership skills and methods, working as a leader instead of a “manager”, and practicing effective communication methods (for both on site and off site teams), project managers can absolutely manage teams effectively and ensure overall project quality, success, and even team member success.