Any project, no matter how good the initial planning, may encounter new situations or unforeseen circumstances that will need to be dealt with. In a project managed using flexible methods, the project manager must demonstrate this flexibility and capacity to adapt to changing circumstances to thus convert problems into challenges and emerge stronger from having resolved them.
To do this, project managers will need
to demonstrate certain characteristics:
This is very easy to say but much harder to do. When faced with an adverse situation, it is likely that team members will adopt a series of negative attitudes. Some will show pessimistic behavior that will magnify the seriousness of the adversity, and they will transmit these negative attitudes to colleagues. Others may become paralyzed from not knowing how to behave in light of the new circumstances, demonstrating a passive attitude that allows problems to grow on their own if they are not resolved.
Project managers should show their leadership skills and be able to nip these attitudes in the bud. They should demonstrate strength by offering solutions and transmitting a positivity capable of ending the vicious circle of negative and passive attitudes.
Avoid the temptation to increase resources
When faced with an unfinished task or one that is not achieving the expected results, a simple solution will always be to increase the material and human resources being applied to completing that task.
However, such situations cannot always be resolved in this way. For example, increasing the number of cooks in a restaurant might increase the total number of dishes prepared but will not necessarily improve the quality of the best one nor indeed the average quality. Hence, although the waiting times may be less or more diners may be served, it is quite possible that the end quality of the product (and customer satisfaction) will be lower; the very opposite to the desired effect. Therefore, rather than increase the resources allocated to the task, it would be better to consider whether the best use is being made of current resources or to even reorganize the project entirely.
Project managers should be capable of considering to what extent allocated resources need to be increased in order to achieve added value in the project and how those resources will need to be used better.
Show the reality how it is
There is a certain tendency to sugar-coat problems and show the reality in a different light to how it actually is. Nonetheless, in time all problems will eventually come to light. Given that there is no way to hide a problem forever, it is better to truly accept it from the very beginning. By doing so, in the long term, project managers will gain credibility, respect and trust.
For example, when discussing the degree to which project goals are being met, project managers should honestly communicate the real status of the project to all team members. This can be accompanied by a halo of optimism and proactivity that might stimulate the team into doing their best job every day but without hiding or sugar-coating the facts. Project managers should combine realism with optimism.
Second World War historians say that “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat their errors”. In the same way that this sentence can be applied to people or cultures, it can also be applied to projects.
Project managers who do not analyze the tasks in which they were involved will repeat the things they do right and commit the same mistakes time and time again. It is possible that they will sometimes benefit from luck or a special skill in certain fields that will enable them to emerge victorious on many occasions. However, in the long term, work has its rewards and the best people in any field will be those who make the greatest effort; the same applies to project management.
Hence, a constant review of all actions taken is necessary; in the most exhaustive and neutral way possible. Reviewing actions immediately after they are completed is useful because, if a mistake is detected, corrections can be made now and in any actions in the immediate future. However, it can sometimes be useful to let time pass between events and their review in order to thus obtain a less biased perspective and make a more objective analysis.
It is also important to accept advice from critical voices. It can sometimes be cruel to uncover our weaknesses but this is merely the first step towards converting them into strengths.
Constant passion for ongoing improvement
Project managers should be able to apply everything they learn to the project they are managing. All the improvements stemming from the reviews and analyses should be applied as soon as possible. Similarly, project managers seek new ideas in their daily lives that enable them to improve what they are passionate about, achieve improved efficiency in their projects, and obtain greater satisfaction from the client and workers.
You are not alone in the pursuit of these goals; you have the best possible support. At ITM Platform, we work hard to develop the best project and service management solution that will help you organize all your projects and services, as well as eliminate subjectivity from the executive team when tackling the project portfolio.
We work every day so that the management of your projects is as simple and efficient as possible so you can increase your productivity. Try ITM Platform for free. “ITM Platform: projects delivered, clients satisfied”.