As technology continues to change the way employees around the world communicate and collaborate, one realm that is becoming increasingly sophisticated is that of project management. In fact, according to research, the project management software market is expected to skyrocket between now and 2020, making it a $1 billion global revenue channel.
As such, it comes as no surprise that project managers around the world are turning to automated solutions to make their tasks smarter and more streamlined than ever before. Still, though the processes are becoming simpler to execute, there remains areas of opportunity for companies to go astray if correct procedures are not implemented. Today, let’s discuss five project management mistakes your team could be making, and how to avoid and correct them moving forward.
1. Not establishing clear objectives.
Too often, project managers will implement a new software solution for their teams without taking the time to fully understand how they plan to use it.
Are there certain features that are more applicable to your industry than others? What pain points are you currently experiencing and how can this new software help to alleviate them? What are some goals you have for future usability and how do you intend for your employees to reach them?
Taking the time to answer these questions thoroughly as a team is an important first step toward any project management strategy. Regardless of whether your processes are more manual or automated, it is still critical to understand what’s working, what isn’t and how you can improve going forward. Today’s software is so multi-faceted it can be overwhelming to consider the myriad uses your team can enjoy with it. Yet, before you delve in, set priorities first.
2. Failing to provide usability training.
Think about the time you first used a new complicated software program. Did you get everything right on the first try? Chances are, it took you a little bit of trial and error, coupled with some research, to make maximum use of its features. In the same vein, even the most intuitive and user-friendly software solution will require some form of usability training to ensure everyone is fully briefed on how to engage with the interface, access the dashboard and use all of the features.
Though many programs will include detailed tutorials that guide employees through via step-by-step instructions, it is still worth it to set a few days aside to focus on hands-on training. This is also an ideal time to make sure everyone on your team understands his or her role in the solution and what is expected from the group as a whole.
3. Not prioritizing tasks.
There are many instances in which multiple projects will run simultaneously. This is especially true in service-oriented institutions. In this case, your team might find it difficult to figure out which projects to prioritize over others without becoming completely overwhelmed. As a result, low-priority issues might take precedence over ones that are more important, simply because an employee came to it first and became too invested and engrossed in it to walk away.
This is one way in which a robust project management software solution can prove immensely helpful. In many cases, employees can use this platform to assign a priority level to tasks, ensuring that the more critical items don’t slip through the cracks. Users can also govern workflows, assign specific employees to specific jobs and check the status on items to make sure progress isn’t impeded at any point.
4. Missing employee performance reviews.
Especially in the project management sphere, routine employee reviews are essential to ensure the entire team continues to operate like a well-oiled machine. If there is any instance of a team member slacking off, failing to report to an on-site location, or misusing his or her time in the office, it can affect the output of the group as a whole.
Whether your team is remote or in-house, time-tracking tools can help managers keep a closer eye on work hours and output rates. You can even monitor performance on a per-project level, determining at a quantitative level exactly how much time was devoted to a particular issue. Moreover, you can also track how much work was completed in a week’s or month’s time and gauge that certain milestones were met. As time management improves and tasks are completed in a more timely manner, be sure to reward this productivity. Even simple verbal recognition can be enough to motivate employees to keep it up.
5. Relying on the cloud over communication.
Technology is more sophisticated than it’s ever been and as such, more and more employees are relying on cloud-based software solutions to perform their job. While these solutions can drastically improve performance, output and morale, they cannot take the place of old-fashioned communication.
It can be easy to get so used to working in the cloud that an employee neglects to communicate progress, concerns or feedback to his or her manager. When this happens, any nagging issue can exacerbate quickly. Ultimately, effective communication drives a successful project and if too many days go by without it, it could threaten to derail even the most positive progress.
Maintain check-ins through steps such as deliverable reviews, status check-ins and one-on-one meetings with your team members.
At the end of the day, project management is about balancing people and resources to make sure clients are satisfied and team members feel rewarded. Technology is quickly changing how we do just that, making it easy to stay on track, complete tasks and improve customer satisfaction along the way. Yet, to be successful, a software implementation must be coupled with a dedicated effort to ensure employee usability and comprehension before moving forward. Only then, when the human element is addressed, can the automated one really shine.