As a project manager for a technology company I am frequently put in the position of developing solutions to different business problems. Most business projects will run into problems, some small and some big, no matter how much planning goes in by you and your team. These five helpful tips are important for anyone starting out and always a wise review for seasoned project managers.
Tip 1: Always include others
Successful companies solve big problems by including their best people in the process of building a solution. I’ve learned that solving big problems in project management requires different perspectives from people on the issue. This allows me to use my own skills to select the right approach, gather information, and build the right solution.
Tip 2: Banish bias
Although it’s tempting to cling to familiar processes or ideals I always remember a key point of critical thinking: banish bias. This helps me tackle big problems with a clear and reasonable thought process that leads to the best solution and schedule for the team and company.
Tip 3: Get accurate stakeholder goals and requirements
A successful project with few problems is one with the team and stakeholders together and in agreement on goals and requirements. One of the most successful projects I worked on got stakeholders from multiple departments involved to tell us their needs for a solution with a financial process problem. Gaining a real understanding of the requirements gave us a clear idea to develop a solution with a positive outcome that would last for years.
Tip 4: Address issues immediately
I make sure on any project to address issues immediately with the team and escalate up the management chain if needed to ensure we can tackle problems while they are still manageable. This was a key factor in a project’s success during a very large company acquisition integration where even the smallest problems had the potential to snowball and affect the schedule and budget.
Tip 5: Document decisions
I always document the decisions made by the team and store them in place accessible and viewable by everyone. Documenting and agreeing on these decisions fosters a greater team attitude by improving motivation and providing a clear path to success for team members.
Mastering these concepts is not always easy, however veteran project managers know the importance of finding a balance with each of these for a successful project outcome.