Sometimes when you are leading a project, things can go wrong, and in this time of crisis, the true meaning of leadership is defined. A crisis for a leader is a test to see whether they can step up to right the wrongs. Training for project managers shows us that projects can go wrong in countless ways. However, here we will focus on the common types of crisis management techniques you may wish to use to get through a crisis.
1.Respond to early warning signs
There are always warning signs that a problem is going to occur. Learn to detect this sign and take preventative action. You will need to develop a plan of preventative actions to eliminate the crisis situation or minimise its negative impact. Make sure that you have developed a good risk management and contingency plan as this will specify actions to take.
3.Contain the crisis
Once you have identified the crisis, it is important to stop it spreading any further. You can control it and also take measures to eradicate it. To contain the crisis, make sure to act quickly gathering factual data regarding the cause and encourage fresh ideas from your team.
2.Identify the cause
To get your team back on track, identify the cause of your crisis by locating the department in which the problem first surfaced. Meet with the team and the department head taking an inventory of the degree to which each member was responsible or not. Try not to single out members but review facts and discuss how best to prevent this crisis from repeating itself.
3.Have a bank of ideas
Make sure to have at least one idea to respond to a challenge of your project. Having a range of ideas will allow you to be flexible and see things from several perspectives. You can efficiently respond to the negative impacts of a crisis situation if you can generate a number of solutions. Be solution focused no matter what problem you are going through.
As the project manager you will need to lead by example in a crisis situation as your team will look towards you for guidance. If you show you are focused, calm and collected, they will copy you. Show that you are optimistic and together can pass through this difficult time together. Do not give false hope but be optimistic so that it motivates your team to carry on working to the best of their ability.
Communication is the best way to coordinate and remain involved with your team throughout the crisis. Make sure your communication management plan is up to date so that your project team and stakeholders are communicating with each other and you. So if a crisis occurs, they know that you have the situation in hand and any uncertainty goes away.
Finally, after surviving any crisis, make sure to have catalogued not only how it began but the steps which were effective in solving it. These records of crisis management will allow you to hone your project management skills, and do a better job next time another crisis befalls you.