So technically, project managers aren’t a branch of HR.  They’re in charge of leading a team to get work done by monitoring schedules, requirements, and resources.  There’s nothing in there that mentions managing people, right?


If you’re a project manager, you are also, essentially, a people manager.  Even if you just “borrow” people from other established teams at your company, you still need to give these people feedback on how they’re doing as it relates to project progress.

Below are some ideas project managers should already be thinking about, if not doing:

Conduct Regular Performance Evaluations
One-on-one performance evaluations are a one-two punch that allow you to 1) understand what motivates your team member and 2) give critical improvement tips before something goes bad.  This doesn’t have to be a 10-hour drawn out process, a simple chat over coffee will do.

Solicit Project Suggestions
You’re probably a pretty smart project manager, but you can’t possible understand all the intricate details that go into executing your project.  Empower your team members by allowing them to talk to you about “big-picture” ideas.  Even if you don’t use all ideas (and you won’t), you will have a chance to tell people why you are making the decisions and create more overall team buy-in.

Give Bad News as well as Good News
People realize that everything about a project isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.  If you only talk to them about the good stuff – like when the client loves project process – but ignore the bad, they’ll pick up on it.  Worse, they won’t understand how great the good news is when it comes around.  Tell your team when bad stuff is happening and let them know how it impacts the team and how you’re mitigating that impact.

Push Accountability and Authority for Everyone
Project managers generally don’t have a problem with accountability, but they sometimes forget that also means giving out authority.  You lose a little overhead control, but in exchange you get increased motivation, better buy-in, and faster implementation of good ideas.  If you’re unsure of how much authority to give, start with a little and then increase it when your team mate shows results.  Good rule of thumb: if you aren’t a little uncomfortable with how much control you let go, you’re probably not giving enough.

If you aren’t doing at least a handful of these things, ask yourself: when was the last time you liked working for someone who told you exactly what to do and didn’t care about your opinion?  If you treat people like disposable clogs in a wheel, that’s exactly what you’re going to get.   Not exactly a win for your project.

-Deborah Fike

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Plus