You’re NOT The Boss – Lead Anyways

Are you a project manager? How about a person that leads the a team without the title of manager? I was a very lucky manager to have working for me, some awesome project managers. They did not have a staff of folks that worked for them – they got their resources from Resource Managers. Those project managers would share their concerns, issues and successes with me on a regular basis. How many projects do you think were 100% spot on for complete success? That answer will be coming in a later paragraph – sorry..

How does a project manager really get their team to be successful? How do they make stuff happen without having their team reporting directly to them? There are some initial basics that each team needs to have to be success:

  • Goals are clearly defined and matched with measurable outcomes. Basic project management tools help to make sure that this is written down. How do they really get everyone on board – that is the trick. My best project managers used to pull everyone in for complete understanding and formulation of the project charter, outcomes and deliverable’s – as a collaborative effort. Making sure to really focus on Tuckman’s model of forming and storming… Make sure that you have set realistic expectations..
  • Accurate 2-way communication. Setting up the working norms for the project team. Could be meeting workspaces, social media group or anything that everyone felt comfortable using. The project manager set up regular review meetings that were short and focused. Meetings do not mean work gets done. Regular one on one discussions are scheduled – around the critical milestones. Of course we have the normal communication channels – the hallway, email, phone and cafe – but if you have a dispersed team – those channels need some TLC to work.
  • Cooperation and collaboration. Probably the single hardest thing is getting work done through people. Since you are responsible, as the project manager, you need to move the team from storming to performing as quickly as possible. Getting everyone to be all in. I usually see good project managers – meeting with their team one on one to fully get to know the person. Understanding them and how they work to help move forward. Spending lots of time listening and understanding. Taking that knowledge and applying it to the the team as a whole. Reviews can be a good thing, if structured well, (I like them rapid fire). Focus on encouraging dialog among team members on the time-lines and deliverable’s.
  • Shared identity. I know this seems somewhat cheesy, but having a team name, maybe a logo or something to identify helps. When working with shared resources – the more you can make those resources feel special – the better off you will be.
  • Celebrate and recognize extra effort. Want to keep your folks motivated to keep on keeping on track – when something special happens – celebrate.. Award the team or set of individuals on the above and beyond effort. Praise never hurt anyone.. Just be fair and consistent.
Back to the question on success rate. Not every project manager has achieved 100% spot on project management. It just does not happen. What does happen is leading their team is a lot easier if they focus on the above. 
  • Anonymous

    Really solid suggestions.  Agree fully!

  • Thanks Laurie!

  • Melanie Mcbride

    Great post Steve!  I especially like the point about building a team identity and I’m going to work on that for my next project.  Can’t wait to hear you speak tomorrow morning at the Chandler PMI Breakfast meeting!

  • Thanks Melanie.. Looking forward to it!

  • Awfully good
    concept! As a project manager I like all the pointed issue about making a team
    identifies. The points mentioned for successful project manager. Thanks
    dude 🙂