When the Project Management Office of Nexus Technologies was established in 2016, that was what everyone thought project managers did – take down meeting minutes during meetings, create a project plan, chase down action items, get sign off when project is completed, then compile everything into a nice folder for filing in some cabinet somewhere.
Maybe that’s all you’ve been using your project manager for to date. Or perhaps you’ve stalled on hiring a project manager, thinking – my team can do that! What’s the big deal?
What if I told you that having a good project manager can make your 2021 epic?
In this time of COVID-19 where the world as we know it is changing, the businesses that will survive and thrive are those that can adapt. Change is hard. To evolve means to execute something new and different in addition to our already hectic day to day activities of keeping our existing business afloat.
This is where a Project Manager can step in and bring these things to the table:
1. PROVIDE FOCUS
A project is defined as a set of tasks to achieve a specific purpose, with a limited budget and set of resources and within an intended time frame. By this definition, a project has a start and an end which is different from Business As Usual (BAU) activities, which just keep going on as your business continues.
The biggest leg up a Project Manager has over the operational team members is they don’t have to deal with BAU activities, which, truth be told, will always have higher priority. If an irate customer calls, or a package goes missing – people in operations have no choice but to drop the theoretical-for-the-distant-future project, and instead address these very real concerns ASAP.
Project Managers on the other hand, can focus on the details of the project itself and find ways to keep it moving, which leads to my next point –
2. FIND WAYS TO GET IT DONE
Do you have that friend or family member who loves making lists? Yup, that’s just like us Project Managers. More than making lists, we love crossing things off. (And we confess, sometimes we add things to the list even though it’s already done…just so we can cross it off!)
What that brings to the table is a resource who has an intense need to Get. Things. Done. That list needs to get crossed off or they cannot sleep! As it’s said, necessity is the mother of invention, and from this need, project managers will come up with endless ideas of how to finish a task, catch up to a late deadline or corner an unresponsive vendor. If there’s a will, there’s a way! The challenges organizations face are not unique and seasoned Project Managers have seen it time and again. After dealing with several clients and vendors, we have the experience to and can…
3. INTRODUCE A NEW PERSPECTIVE
Project Managers can bring in a new way of looking at things or tackling a problem that your organization may not have been exposed to in the past, thanks to the experience of working with other clients and vendors. Interestingly, it is possible to benefit by applying learnings from a completely different industry!
Not being a subject matter expert in the field also gives us permission to ask questions with a fresh set of eyes: “Why do we need to do it that way?” Often, the answer is a simple “because that’s the way it’s always been done.” This realization alone has broken many walls and helped projects move forward.
4. MAINTAIN STABILITY
That said, even though we borrow ideas from various situations, Project Managers continue to provide solid ground for the project team. Most BAU activities have set schedules for tasks to be done on a certain day or time. Projects, however, tend to be a bit of a wildcard with no real schedule UNLESS a conscious effort is made to keep one.
Good Project Managers bring that rhythm and discipline with weekly project meetings, routine follow ups, and by acting as the primary point person that everyone knows they can turn to in order to determine what to do next. This stability also primes the team members to come to meetings prepared so fruitful discussions and decisions can happen when all the right parties are in attendance.
5. UNIFY THE TEAM
Last, a good Project Manager pulls the team together. It is not unusual for different groups who are part of a project to have conflicting interests. For example, imagine a project where you are setting up a new store. The store manager may want multiple shipments with items arriving in a specified order, so the store team has sufficient space and an orderly way to stock the shelves. For the warehouse and logistics crew, however, this sorting and multiple deliveries is extra work that may put them behind schedule with other projects. The Project Manager can act as the impartial third party, reminding the team of the shared goal and handling escalations to clear any roadblocks.
So, about documentation…
Yes, project managers still should take meeting minutes, file sign offs, etcetera. All these serve as a good foundation in order for the abovementioned benefits to become reality. The key thing is that a good project manager doesn’t just stop at documentation – they enable your project team to move mountains.
Are you ready to tackle your next big project?
Don’t need a full-time project manager on staff, or not yet ready to commit to hiring one? Nexus Technologies offers project management as a service with flexible arrangements. Contact us to see how we can help.