Fine tuning your collaborative project management skills

Talk of collaborative management skills and one’s mind immediately projects to the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi, and Mother Theresa,who managed to gather large masses of people towards one goal.

They are people whose leadership skills are legendary. We could go a further step down to our own organizational heads, group heads and others we work with and whom we might admire. We could go further and look at the welding shop at the corner and how the owner rolls up his sleeves and cannot be distinguished from the team; or the fast food outlet where the same boys appear to be working contentedly for many years, and the building had expanded from a corner shop to a large outfit. It did not just happen. Someone out there was coordinating matters successfully, both operational and manpower wise. What are the secrets to be unlocked in fine tuning our own project management skills within a team environment for ultimate success? You would be dealing with projects, budgets and a variety of personality types from whom you need to extract the last ounce of work in those precious eight-plus hours. Thus, we could definitely use some of these secrets.

How many times did you start work having to guess some of the outcomes though you would have generally known what you were expected to do?  It happens in the best of commercial environments. You might have had a sketchy introduction to the expectations of the project and the company expectations of you and perhaps a light introducing you to the tools you would need. It would be expected that someone with your experience would know what to do...or find their way. On top of that, the individual would be expected to produce amazing results, furthermore, in a short time! 

These days, managers and teams in the know are more organized and focused, thanks to technology. Collaborative project management has been made easy with the range of sophisticated, yet simple collaboration tools in the market. Workers now can carry out tasks, discuss projects and meet on-line in a virtual workplace with the entire project being completed from start to end without much need for meetings and paperwork. Brainstorming is more effective, required inputs are faster, communication instant and everyone on the project is well informed of the processes, deadlines and outcomes even without the need for a physical office. 

But should that stop you from refining your corroborative project management skills? Are you off the hook?

The project will not carry on without personal intervention.  Presence is important - the presence of the team leader. Most managers do not realize the importance of the personal touch, but there is a difference between overshadowing and under-connecting. One of the simplest ways to be connected (apart from the happy hour interaction) is to call for feedback, giving ample time for data gathering (no surprises). A successful individual in charge of a large project was apt to use this time to draw out creativity and innovation as well, picking minor clues in the conversation to ask the employee/co-worker to be the devil’s advocate when snags appear, as they would in any project. He would adopt the right body language, a mix of formal and informal - and it proved successful.

This amazing individual had also perfected the art of impartiality. Everyone imagined they were special and kept unconsciously seeking clues on whether co-workers were taking their spots, but his body language and speech was a perfect mix of tact (and craftiness), especially during group interaction. 

Where will all this polite behavior get you when things turn tough and hard talk becomes necessary?  There will be times when procrastination, fear of being disliked or fear of loss of cooperation could undermine the project (and you). Tough decisions would have to be taken, cards placed on the table, hard facts brought out and dealt with - fearlessly. Many people avoid controversial views for fear of being perceived as ruthless, but there is a difference between being the hard- nosed business person who would adopt a “give and take” policy and the ruthless one.  Corroborative management cannot always be a rosy affair.

Taking clues from the experts, some practice and the use of the right tools can easily take the stress out of it. We at BQu can support you to maximize the use of technology to reduce inefficiencies, improve quality and deliver your product in line with the best standards and practice in the industry. 

Created: June 10th, 2016


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