In Part 1 of this two part series on micromanaging on the project, I discussed what I felt are the definite negatives or downsides to micromanaging project your project resources. Most don’t like it, most don’t need it, and most will resent you for it. So be aware of how you’re treating your project resources, stakeholders, the customer sponsor, and any customer resources that you may be interacting with and assigning tasks to. They’re capable individuals…keep that in mind!
In this Part 2, let’s examine what a project manager can do to create a more positive and productive working environment for his project resources:
Keep tasks clearly defined. The best way to get the most productivity from your team is to give them clearly defined tasks to perform and make sure they understand what they are being assigned…and then let them work. If you don’t want to end up needing to micromanage them in order for them to do the work, then don’t make their work assignments vague or hard to understand. They should leave you knowing what to do, what’s expected of them, and what they’ll need to do in order to be successful. If they don’t know those things, then you’ve likely failed in providing them a clear assignment and your project may suffer as a result.
Eliminate barriers to success. Your job as the project manager is to help the team – not be a burden to them. You are actually there to remove burdens from them. If something is causing them concern, they should come to you. If something is preventing them from getting their work done, they should come to you. If the customer is giving them conflicting information, they should come to you. One of the project manager’s main jobs is to ensure that the project team has a clear path to success. If they are successful, then the project manager and, ultimately, the project are successful.
Manage the project, not the resources. There is no question that the project manager is there to provide direction to the resource as well as some management oversight. However, the project manager has great responsibility for the project communication, project deliverables, status reporting, status meetings, budget management and forecasting, and management of the project schedule. If the project manager does all of those things well, most of the rest of the project will do well, too.
Deal with the customer. The customer is important to the project and the team must be interfacing with the customer from time to time, but it is the project manager’s job to manage the customer. Provide for the customer’s needs, monitor their interaction with the project team, run interference on overbearing customer requests, and generally tend to the customer’s satisfaction levels. Those are critical responsibilities of the project manager because a customer left unattended can become frustrated and dissatisfied. And they can choose to start interfering with the project team, which is something we’re trying to avoid in the first place.
Watching project managers – or any manager or supervisor for that matter – micromanage those under his watch is a frustrating thing to see. There are so many productive things those managers could be doing….should be doing…instead of wasting their time keeping their hands in everything that their resources are doing. It would drive me crazy. Project managers have enough tasks on their plates that need to be done well without trying to be involved in everyone else’s responsibilities. If resources need that much oversight, then they probably should not be on the project in the first place.