Project management presents a bigger challenge than just telling everyone on the team to do things a certain way. People that are not used to working within a formal structure and framework can sometimes rebel when they are asked to do it for the first time. These people will first tend to get negative and view the new processes a bunch of overhead. To help you be successful, I recommend you look at five areas.
- Be the change leaderAs the project manager, you are the primary person to lead this change. You set the priorities and you set the tone for how the project is run. If you make sure to define and plan the project well, and then execute and control the project using good processes, the other members of the team should follow your lead. But, if project team members see that you are not communicating well, and if you are not modeling the same behavior, they will obviously question what they are doing. Don’t let that happen to you. Talk the talk and walk the walk.
- Use good project management processes and templatesYou cannot successfully introduce good project management discipline without implementing a set of processes and templates that everyone can see and understand. You need good processes and templates for creating a Project Charter and schedule. You also need to have a process for managing issues, scope, risk, communication etc. These don’t have to be long, tedious procedures, but they have to be at a level where people understand what is expected of them and how the project management processes work.
- Find at least one supporterTry to find someone on the team that can be an inside partner. The team will accept the new processes much more quickly if there is another team member who is also on your side. This person should be a senior individual whom the rest of the team respects. They don’t have to be a cheerleader, but they will set a good example and encourage the rest of the team to go along with the work processes that have been established for the entire team.
- Communicate extensivelyYou should make sure that the team is aware of what you are doing and why. Explain to them the value and benefit to the project. This is not a one-time message, but one that should be repeated over and over. This type of communication can take many shapes over time. For instance, you can catch someone doing something right regarding the project management procedures, and praise them for their effort. It is very difficult to introduce a culture change without a frequent, ongoing and consistent message.
- Make sure the staff is trainedLastly, after you have dealt successfully with the people dynamics and the required processes, you should make sure that no one has difficulty because of a skills problem. You should think about providing short awareness training to the entire team, and then sending your team leaders or other project managers to more formal project management training.