There is often a business cultural dynamic and belief that because Project Managers (PMs) don’t perform the work, they don’t understand the work; that if a PM supports multiple con-current projects across various disciplines, they’re unable to comprehend the inner workings of the technology design or implementation. When it comes to technology, a Project Manager's goal is the same as the engineer’s: to exceed customer expectations and enable organizations to compete successfully and efficiently. Effective communication between the engineering team and the PM team is key. Here are five “Be’s” to keep in mind:
1) Be a Comrade: Some engineers may view PMs as micromanagers who get in the way of getting the job done. Keep in mind that each team’s goal is to meet the needs of the client and the project stakeholders.
2) Be Honest: It’s true that Project Managers aren’t the absolute technology experts but effective Project Managers should understand the solution the engineers are solving. A well-informed and knowledgeable PM takes the time to request in-depth overviews of specific initiatives so they can better address any issues or concerns that may arise if a project hits a snag. (As all projects do!)
3) Be Consistent: Engineers have scheduled deadlines to deliver on task. Effective Project Managers make sure they’re working collaboratively to ensure timely delivery. For instance, tracking project plans with engineers before updating clients, touching base with engineers on a scheduled basis (e.g., daily, weekly), or consistent follow-up with internal staff, as well as the external client. These are all critical to managing a successful project.
4) Be a Client Champion: Every project, no matter how meticulously planned or designed, can sometimes hit a rough patch. Effective Project Managers anticipate these speedbumps and work to coordinate the necessary support needed to successfully overcome any challenges. Being a client champion is one of GreenPages’ most important corporate values. The strength of the team comes from everyone working cohesively to resolve problems in the best interest of the client.
5) Be an Active Listener: Effective Project Managers ensure they’re clear on direction and feedback from both engineers and clients. By striving to nurture mutually-beneficial relationships with frequent, honest, and open communication, overall project success (from scope to closure) is ensured.
When a group of engineers, client stakeholders, and project managers achieve true working synergy, the team becomes more than just a collection of people; the results achieved together are greater than the results any of us could achieve alone.
By Stacy Robinson, Project Manager