Managing a team effectively requires the right people and the right tools. An easy rule that is hard to follow. In the spotlight this time is Maria Nordborg, Projectplace’s customer relationship manager.
We discuss in this post the challenges facing project managers when it comes to retaining control over planning and project deliverables, while empowering teams to self-organize in the agile, anywhere-working age.
In your view, how has the role of the project manager evolved recently?
The role of the PM is being shaped by flexible working, global project teams and cloud computing. Lean and agile methods are strong trends. These trends really highlight the importance of instant, seamless communication and collaboration. In tandem, we’re seeing an increasing need for transparency and accountability across projects. PMs, as well as their teams and senior management, want to see who is doing what and when – and it’s the PM’s job to deliver this new level of transparency. Teams perform better when they can see what each member is doing, and when they get credit where it’s due.
What is the biggest boundary that PMs face when it comes to effective teamwork?
Lack of communication and lack of defined roles, especially for PMs, can make or break a project.
Teams need to be able to share and exchange ideas easily, anywhere, anytime, on any device. It’s crucial that the right information gets to the right person to avoid miscommunication mishaps, and that under the PM’s leadership, everyone is able to keep up with timelines and project deliverables.
It is equally crucial that the PM is able to adopt a top-line view and focus on planning and meeting goals, just as the team relies on the roadmap and focuses on the day-to-day work. This is where collaborative technology really makes a difference.
What do you think PMs should look for in a project management solution to help them do their jobs effectively in this increasingly complex environment?
Solutions that PMs use must be aligned with the methods and processes of the organization, but bear in mind that the tools we use also shape our behavior. In other words, truly great software makes us more efficient and let us do new things.
Today PMs need a solution that is cloud-based to enable them, their teams and senior management to communicate and collaborate seamlessly regardless of time zones and to share and review documents with ease. They need a complete view of the overall status of the project, as well as individual action items, so that if any activities are lagging behind, they can address it immediately. PMs should pick a tool that enables team members to communicate instantly with one another to create a sense of one team and boost accountability. Most importantly, the solution needs to be easy and intuitive to use, which will empower teams to self-organize, and free up the PM to focus on overseeing the project.
Why should PMs care whether their tool is cloud-based or not?
Cloud equals in most cases seamlessness and eliminates the need for the PM or team members to login to an intranet or to learn how to use often complex and costly specialist software. It allows everyone to access and share information from any place and at any time. This also means that you can invite anyone, from inside or outside the organization, to take part in the project and to collaborate, which is crucial when it comes to enabling smooth collaboration with partner companies and customers. Cloud-based collaboration is about breaking down the old barriers of teamwork and reaching goals together.
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