The advancement of communication platforms and project management tools, programs, and resources has allowed just about everyone to have access to what’s needed for a team’s success. A successful team must recognize that it is every individual’s responsibility to become their own project manager. Below are three steps you can take to ensure every team member has the tools and knowledge they need to take control of their projects and manage them effectively and efficiently.
3 Steps to Make Everyone on Your Team a Project Manager
1. Make Your Email Work for You
Similar to the old phrase “a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind”, a cluttered email inbox makes it difficult to find critical information needed in a timely manner, disrupts workflows, and has the potential to cause a delay in meeting deadlines or expectations. When we manage our inbox appropriately, it can save us time, help us weed through important and nonessential emails, and create a to-do list ensuring prioritized and action items are never missed.
- Consider utilizing your primary inbox as a to-do list by only keeping emails that have an action item or need a follow-up in this folder. Once the email has been handled, move it to the appropriate sub-folder or delete it, with the goal of keeping no more than a handful of emails (if any) in your inbox by the end of every day.
- Within your inbox “to-do” list, flag items that need done within 48 hours.
- If an email can be dealt with in under 5 minutes, do it.
- Utilize folders within your inbox and filter your emails into appropriate sub-folders to help you find pertinent information quickly.
- Utilize rules to automatically filter specific emails straight into the trash or into folders allowing you to look at higher priority items faster and come back to those non-essential items later.
The more we can keep our inboxes organized, the more we can react to high-profile requests or last-minute fire drills that are inevitable throughout the day while balancing the work that still needs to get done.
2. Stop Prescribing, Start Status Tracking
A good project manager does not prescribe the “how” behind projects and deliverables, but instead, helps to build a framework for the team to work within. When all team members are empowered to act as their own project manager, each individual can monitor their own capacity and accomplish deliverables in a way that is effective for them, greatly increasing their potential for productivity. The project manager or owner should be aware of the status of the project, but not be involved with how the project is to be completed. When teams get bogged down with status meetings or undesirable and inefficient procedures, essential time is lost, productivity is decreased, and stress is increased.
A project lead, or certified project manager can be extremely helpful in setting quality standards, deadlines, and ideal workflows. This type of project management and leadership gives the team autonomy to say how they will accomplish their responsibilities without micromanaging and helps to build project management skills throughout the team.
3. Automate, Automate, Automate
If a team wants to effectively manage our projects, it’s essential that everyone can manage their own time. Work with your team to brainstorm certain processes or procedures that could be automated to allow for more creativity and strategic thinking.
- Rules in your inbox.
- Schedule emails in advance
- Schedule recurring reminders or tasks in your calendar/project management program
- Human Resources processes (payroll, performance management, etc.)
Utilizing automatic processes allows team members to use their time in over valuable aspects of the project and minimizes human errors.
While project management itself has broadened over time to be what leads a team or project to the finish line, it really is about the management of personal time and actions to ensure an individual has the ability to collaborate and work effectively within a team. When everyone on a team is their own project manager, the project is sure to succeed.