Monday, February 9, 2015

Communication and Proactivity Make You a Better Project Manager

Project managers often have the difficult job of dealing with projects having inter-team disputes, being over budget and missing deadlines. However being able to avoid problems and potential pitfalls before they even arise is something that can put the better project managers head and shoulders above the rest.

A recent article by CIO Magazine has pinpointed key areas and scenarios that may arise for project managers and how best to deal with them. The key elements that are prevalent are communication and proactivity. By keeping a stream of communication between manager and team helps to check in on progress in order to make sure problems aren’t a surprise and can keep the team focused and happy. By building a good relationship with the team will create trust and increase productivity, as workers are more likely to put in more effort for a manager they trust and enjoy working with.

Communication with higher management is also key for keeping a strong team; by being pro-active and making sure you know if a key member of your team could be taken away for something else could be the key to keeping them. A good project manager will be able to show facts and data that can back up the need for the member which can be the way to keep them. By showing in data form that without a certain member a project could potentially go over the deadline day or the time and effort to train a new member could push the budget up past the quota creates a much stronger case for keeping the team intact. If the communication with higher management is there it can give time to gather evidence instead of arguing a case with nothing to back up the claims.

The proactivity of pre-empting issues like that can be useful for other potential project setbacks. Communicating with the team and making sure they understand their specific roles and setting a number of mini deadlines will keep the project on track. Setting specific roles for each member keeps the team from potentially overlapping and doing the same thing twice which is inefficient. By setting early smaller deadlines can mean if there are problems along the way they can be dealt with quickly to make sure they overall deadline is kept to.

The final point on communication is that sometimes members may be in different countries or time zones and have difficulty accessing each other’s work. However new technology such as EMC Syncplicity allow members to be able to collaborate easily to share their work with each other to make sure the project keeps flowing.

The project manager is not just there to set schedules and crack the whip; they are there to keep the team together and on course by creating an atmosphere of trust and keeping good inter-team communication. Pro-activity is also critical for anticipating and averting potential difficulties that may arise in the project. These assets are paramount for a project manager to succeed and move forward in their company and gain the trust of peers and management.

About the Author: Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at

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