As a project manager, it is your job to make sure that the project goes to plan. It might sound easy when you put it like that, but it is far from easy. To begin with, the success of the entire project is on your shoulders. And, to make it even worse, the project never runs smoothly. There are far too many moving parts for the process to go without a hitch, so you are going to have to put out a lot of fires. The trick is to catch them before they occur. Then, you can deal with them more easily. Here’s how to spot the problems before they escalate.
Delegating power is a great tool in any PM’s armory because it also delegates responsibility. That might sound as if you are passing the buck, but you can’t be expected to oversee every little detail. By delegating responsibility, you are making sure that every member carries out their role. Any problems that occur on their watch are, theoretically, their problem. If you are lucky, they will solve it before they need your help.
The reason that problems occur is because people don’t know what they should be doing and when they should be doing it. That is a lack of communication, and it is your worst nightmare. Luckily, it is easy to rectify. All you have to do is simply tell people what you need them to do at that specific point of the project. If you do that, they will carry out your instructions to the letter and less should go wrong. Try taking the time to talk to them face to face instead of passing messages. Messages often get lost in translation, which is when the mistakes occur.
Think of your team like a sports team. You have the main guys and girls that are integral to your success as they are the best. But, you also need capable squad members that can fill in for them at any point should there be a complication. Employees, for instance, can call in sick out of the blue. There is nothing you can do about that other than get on with the job at hand. If you have someone who understands the role and is eager to please, this scenario shouldn’t cause a disturbance.
The term firefighter is a euphemism for people that can solve problems and save you from disaster. Unfortunately, there might come a time when a problem spirals out of control. When that happens, you need an expert. For example, a catering equipment maintenance repairman is a great person to have on call if you run a restaurant. What you have to do is make sure you always have a backup plan. Project managers that don’t have one, tend to fail.
The last thing you need is a sense of organization. Organization will allow you to hit deadlines and meet your goals as and when. Without it, you will get further behind and the work will start to suffocate you.