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How to Help Your Team When You Don't Have a Project Manager

Sometimes to get things done, you have to do it yourself. In the instance of a small, medium, or big project, this philosophy means you might feel compelled to lead and motivate your team. This means, in effect, that you will become a Project Manager. The Project Management Institute says that PM is a discipline that applies "...knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements."

If you decide to become an impromptu Project Manager, we have some tips to consider that will help you be more successful in the role.

Steps to Success for Project Management

The first step toward managing any project is to map out all the tasks associated with the outcome.

You must be very specific during this process:

  • Group tasks together into categories
  • Ask yourself how will you measure success at each state of the process
  • Seek input from all areas of expertise within the project
  • Use this knowledge to help hone your project plan and ensure you're not leaving anything out
  • Try to anticipate the potential roadblocks in the process
  • Create contingency plans
  • Round out time estimates -- and then add a 20% cushion.
  • Now create a potential timeline

As you're mapping things out, consider that your job, as a Project Manager (or PM), is to find the answer to any question that comes up. You are literally the project master.

Always keep your cool and just remember -- problems aren't crises -- they are puzzles to be solved.

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Two Project Management Methods: Lean versus Agile

According to the Self Build Portal, it takes one hour of project management for every seven hours of production. It will be crucial to hold a kick-off meeting where the responsibility layers, project plan, and timeline are shared with the group. How will you check in with the teams throughout the process go guarantee they're hitting the numbers?

One framework to consider is Agile methodology, a project management framework for software developers that can adapt itself to almost any industry or type of project. It's a very popular project methodology; PMs say Agile technique allows a team to:

  • Adapt to changes in requirements at any stage of the project.
  • Accomplish rapid production of the deliverable.
  • Have sustainable, constant project pacing.
  • Conduct daily standups and cooperation between all stakeholders.
  • Have key communication via face-to-face discussion.
  • Be motivated and trustworthy.
  • Conduct the project with simplicity.
  • Be self-organizing.

Now compare these characteristics to Lean Project Management. There are five principles of this philosophy:

  1. Specify value as defined by the customer.
  2. Identify the steps in the quest toward value and eliminate the ones that don't create value.
  3. Create a tight sequence of value steps to flow the product toward the customer.
  4. As flow is created, pull value from the next upstream activity.
  5. Begin the process again and continue it until perfection is reached.

Unlike Agile methodology, which was originally and most often applied to computer programming, Lean has been applied to international companies all over the world. Both frameworks could help you in your question to accomplish your goals.

But doing it yourself can be trying at best and down right difficult at worst. If you have the budget, we recommend hiring a professional Project Manager to keep your team on time and under budget. Here's how to hire the best one.

Need Help? Big Project? PM for Hire!

Artisan Talent specializes in finding top creative talent to help companies succeed. Contact us for a full-time or contract Project Manager today.

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