Most experienced project managers have worked on at least one project that has been at risk of being derailed at some point. If your current project is at crisis point here are some ideas, gathered from delegates on some of our project management courses, to get it back on track.
Cut the conflict
Clashes of personality are a common hurdle in all walks of life including a day at the office, and even the best-laid plans can quickly go awry due to a difference of opinion that turns into a dispute. Armed with the skills of diplomacy and empathy; a PM can leap these hurdles.
Going hand in hand with managing risks; problem-solving is the solution to any issues that a PM does encounter as a result of risks that cannot be foreseen, such as staff absences. The title of project manager could equally be translated as problem manager because after all; every project is a solution waiting to happen or be discovered.
Everyone knows, for instance, that doctors are infamous for their messy writing which can lead to all kinds of errors. Clear written communication is just as crucial for project managers as you can’t expect your team to take information on board and carry out instructions if they can’t read and understand them.
Rolling with the punches
Planned change rarely involves hurdles because it arises as a result of strategic planning. Emergent change, however, can present hurdles because it arises out of the process of planned change due to unforeseen circumstances. We all have a natural fear of change because we equate it with chaos and confusion, but emergent change can be good in the long run; leading to a better way of doing things that we couldn’t initially see. Effective PMs, therefore, learn, with experience, to roll with the punches that project management brings because instead of a problem; it can be viewed as an opportunity for business growth and the increased success of a project.
Know thy limits
There are times a PM needs to put on a brave face and power through a hurdle, and there are other times when they need to lay down their sense of pride and admit that they too have limitations. This is actually more of a strength rather than a weakness, and the ability to admit to not always having the answer can lead to a greater sense of trust within your team. Reaching out for their opinions or turning to someone of higher seniority can mean the difference between overcoming a hurdle quickly or waste precious time struggling with one that is too high to simply overcome on your own.