Many people think that project management capability is either overrated or unimportant during the day-to-day activities of an organisation. Uplifting project management capabilities often becomes a backlog item that gets done when people have spare time, which, let’s be honest, is almost never. However, projects underpin the very work you do EVERYDAY! So how can you know if you need to uplift this and how urgent it is to do so it does not get left behind in the backlog? Here are six signs that you’re lacking project management capability.
You can’t keep to a schedule
The effect of a schedule delay can be a minor inconvenience or a big headache. It’s one thing if a project deliverable gets delayed, but when those deliverables are essential for another phase of the project, the delays have the potential to stretch out further and further. Schedule delays can cost organisations and their clients’ money. Having frequent schedule delays can be the result of poor planning, a talent shortage, or not having the right resources in place to manage the project. If your project is constantly falling behind, it’s important to understand why.
Project team members are unmotivated
When the team isn’t motivated, this can bring productivity to a crawl. There are endless reasons why a team could be unmotivated, but frequent reasons include endless change requests, poor communication, or static work styles. If the team doesn’t feel that they matter, it can be hard for them to stay motivated. Adopting an agile approach that empowers individual team members to take ownership and accountability of their work can help keep your team motivated.
Team members are mismatched to their tasks
Your team is one of the biggest stakeholders of a project. They’re also the project’s biggest asset. An effective project manager needs to be able to identify the skill set of each team member and where to best use them. If you don’t identify each team member’s skills, it can be easy to overlook any areas where your team faces a talent shortage, or assign them to tasks that aren’t the best use of their time. By getting the most out of a team, a savvy project manager can keep things on track. As a bonus, by putting team members in positions where they’re likely to excel, they’re more likely to stay motivated too!
Change requests never stop
The scope of a project determines what work will be done on the project. If the scope of a project isn’t clear, then it can be very easy to get caught in an endless loop of change requests. These change requests can cost time, and money, and hurt the morale of the team. Many projects tend to get bogged down as customers and project sponsors attempt to pack as many features into their projects as possible, even if they aren’t related to the original project. It’s easy for an inexperienced project manager to try and please everyone by accepting every change request that comes their way, no matter what the effect will be on the project. An organisation that has good project management capability can handle these change requests without allowing scope creep from occurring.
Nobody documents anything
Many aspects of projects require documentation. From things like communication plans to change logs, leaving a paper trail is essential. Without proper documentation, it can be impossible to concretely define the project requirements and what its deliverables will be. Documentation also keeps everyone on track by letting all the stakeholders know who has done what, and when. Documentation from previous projects can even help a project manager in future projects. Any project manager who doesn’t get in the habit of documenting everything is only going to set themselves up for a tough time later on.
Ego gets in the way
It’s essential for project managers to not have an ego that discourages team members from making suggestions. The project manager might have the final say, but the team is a valuable resource of experience and subject expertise. Fostering an agile environment where team members feel like their input matters goes a long way toward improving productivity. A happy team makes it easier for project managers to use the full potential of their team. It takes a lot of confidence as a project manager to admit their talent shortcomings, or that they need a pointer in the right direction. It may seem like a sign of weakness, but others will appreciate your honesty and openness if you ask a peer, a colleague, or a team member for pointers.
If you notice any one or more of these signs of lacking project management capability in your own organisation or yourself, it’s time to do something about it! By fixing the shortcomings in your project management repertoire, you can ensure that you aren’t lacking project management capability.
To learn more, check out this post by our CEO Fatimah Abbouchi on how PMOs themselves can enter a downward cycle of constantly setting themselves up and tearing themselves down.
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