What Is The Best Way to Improve Your Project Management Department?

It's no secret that managing company projects can be quite a challenge. Sooner or later, you'll run into clients with unrealistic expectations and deadlines. Not to mention clients who change their minds halfway through the project.

Still, you and your team have to pull through no matter the circumstances. Therefore, you find new ways to improve efficiency, productivity and overall performance. In most cases, project management departments are often in conflict with the employees working on the project.

The main reason is that there's a gap in communication. While managers oftentimes have a corporate point of view, employees tend to be more realistic about what can or cannot be done within a given deadline. The end result is overworked employees whose morale is declining.

This may work for a while, but it will eventually turn into a major issue. That's why it's of the utmost importance to find a way to improve your project management department so that both the needs of clients and employees are met efficiently. 

With that in mind, here are some of the best ways to improve your project management department.

Avoid micromanagement

Some managers prefer a tight grip over the projects they manage, as well as the teams working on that project. Controlling the situation isn't all that bad, but it will have a counterproductive effect if you overdo it.

If you constantly ask people about their progress and remind them about the deadlines, you won't magically make things happen any faster. In fact, your team members will get agitated, and their productivity will only continue to decrease as long as you keep that up.

Micromanagement is, therefore, the bane of every project. Don't be that person. Instead, work together with your team and determine if there's any room for improvement. 

Things happen unexpectedly during projects, especially things that may cause delays. Don't go around blaming employees. What you should do is anticipate such scenarios and prepare a plan for how to deal with such issues. 

The purpose of project management is to establish the best way to successfully complete the project within the given time frame. Therefore, you have to know what your team is capable of doing so that you can create the best strategy.

Give everyone what they need

Both managers and employees need access to the right tools, resources and data to do their job well. For example, the most important asset everyone should have clear access to is information. 

If your company withholds information within a silo, neither project managers nor will employees be efficient enough to do their job as they're supposed to. So what can your organization do?

The best approach would be to rely on information management for business. That way, any relevant data or information will be available to everyone company-wide. What this does is help avoid any unnecessary complications for the project. 

Just imagine how counterproductive it would be if employees had to formally request access to information from project managers while managers have to also formally request access to information from the executives.

When information is available to everyone, it helps streamline the entire project management process. Managers can lead the project forward, while employees can work on tasks seamlessly. 

Efficiency is vital for projects, especially larger projects that are difficult to keep track of.

Consider using an Agile approach

Agile methodology was initially designed to help improve software development. However, Agile, as a set of practices, soon found its way in various different processes ranging from manufacturing to project management. 

Today, the Agile methodology is used in multiple non-software projects. This may be the very thing your organization needs to improve your project management department.

The main reason is that Agile uses a set of principles that focus on efficiency, collaboration, communication and continuous improvement, among other things, of course. 

Using Agile for project management can help you significantly improve the entire process. Here are a few of the main benefits of using Agile in project management.

  • Use of product backlogs.
  • Sprints or iterations.
  • Cross-functional and self-organizing teams.
  • Continuous improvement.
  • Iterative development.
  • Time boxing and scheduling.
  • User stories.

Agile benefits explained

A product in Agile can mean anything ranging from developing a digital marketing strategy to developing an e-commerce website, for example. The product is basically the project you're currently working on. 

Product backlogs indicate important features and aspects that should be included or steps that should be taken towards the successful completion of the project.

The project itself is divided into sprints or iterations, allowing managers and teams to segment the project and prioritize tasks. Sprints are usually two-week time-boxed iterations designed to help achieve milestones or goals.

Notably, the most important feature of the Agile approach is user stories. User stories are basically feedback from stakeholders or clients. This type of feedback helps managers and teams stay on track and allows them to adapt to changes quickly.

Once the project is finished, the whole process is revised to determine if there's any room for improvement. That way, project managers can improve the efficiency of their teams for every next project. This allows continuous improvement and iterative development that helps both managers and employees to become more productive.

Emphasize communication

Communication is the foundation of every successful project. 

If your organization isn't communicating with the project management department or with its employees, for that matter, then you cannot expect them to do their job well. That's why it's important to emphasize the importance of communication in your company. 

Often it's very important to communicate with your team before accepting a new project. Moreover, once the project is carried out, you have to communicate your expectations for your team clearly. 

Here are a few examples of how communication can help improve project management.

  • It helps you determine the scope of the project.
  • It helps you understand what's possible and impossible to achieve for a given due date.
  • Ensures that you understand your team well.
  • It helps you set goals.
  • It helps you create templates.
  • It helps you organize and prioritize tasks accordingly.

As mentioned before, sometimes clients will have unrealistic expectations, and they may not be certain of what exactly they want. 

The main responsibility of every project management department is to help convey client's needs to the teams, as well as help clients understand what's achievable and what isn't. You simply cannot do that if there's a gap in communication within your company.

Leverage project templates

One of the best ways to improve not just the project management process but your project management department is to leverage project templates. This helps create a consistency that everyone is familiar with.

As you may already know, every project is fundamentally different, but how you approach project creation, how you assign roles and responsibilities, and how you manage the projects are more or less the same.

Using a template will streamline the entire process and allow you to have a well-developed strategy for each new project. That way, you won't have to waste time creating new approaches from scratch for every project.

Improving the project management process for your department isn't always easy. However, if you focus on your employees' needs and your clients' needs, you'll find a way to ensure that both sides are satisfied with the results.

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