When Red Branch Media first started, I was the sole project manager. At that time, my staff wasn’t developed enough to manage projects on their own. But as business has grown, so too has the need for me to delegate. Other businesses may relate to this, seeing as 97% of organizations believe project management is critical to organizational success and business performance. Something so crucial to small business success shouldn’t be taken lightly, and the wrong project management processes can completely destroy business growth.
Problem No. 1: Your Team Doesn’t Understand the Project
One of the most obvious problems occurs when your team doesn’t understand the project. This is the result of a lack of communication between upper management, the project manager and you. As the owner of the company, it’s your duty to ensure your management team and project managers (PMs) are equipped with the tools they need to seek accurate information regarding the projects. You don’t have to spoon feed assignments, but you do need to make sure they have everything they need to complete the project. Whether they need access to files, invoices, client proposals, budget information or client communication collateral, make sure your PMs know how to access pertinent information.
Problem No. 2: The Project Manager Is Either Too Relaxed or Uptight
Not everyone is cut out to be a project manager, and having someone who is too lax about deadlines or the work that needs to be involved leaves your team idle and frustrated. On the other hand, a project manager who is too rigid and micromanaging can overwhelm and demotivate your team. If you have a project management novice, make sure to pass out peer evaluations after major projects. This will give you a 360-degree view of how the team really performed together, especially the PM. Questions you should ask include:
- Was your project manager helpful and willing to assist with information you could not find on your own?
- Was your project manager positive and upbeat about the project?
- Was it easy for you to contact and communicate with your project manager?
Ask open-ended questions and ask team members to share their experience. This information will help you assign future projects, and you’ll see that each PM has their own style — one that may work well with a specific style of project.
Problem No. 3: The Goal Timeline Is Impossible
If your PM can’t envision the big picture and understand the team’s workload, then projects will never be finished on deadline. PMs need to be able to see that every member of the team contributes to each ongoing project and foresee the end results. I see the most change involved in project timelines, and getting into the practice of pushing back deadlines can be a nightmare for team productivity (and ultimately the reputation of your company).
While you do need enough time to deliver work that exceeds your clients’ expectations, you also need to know where and how you can get it. Enlist the help of project management software (we use Bitrix24) that allows project managers to assign tasks, set deadlines and estimate the time it should take to complete. Employees can then track their time, and PMs can get detailed reports on each project to see if they are overestimating (or underestimating) a certain project.
If you already have or are thinking about delegating project management, be on the lookout for these three issues. Be proactive in fixing these problems, and consider how project management software may help you. Don’t forget to conduct peer reviews after projects are completed, and give your PMs access to all important information they need to complete the work. After all, the success of your business is ultimately dependent on the performance of your team.