To be successful at managing projects, you need to learn how to structure and control them using a proven project management technique such as PRINCE2. That is pretty much a given in today’s society – project management qualifications are increasingly asked for in job advertisements, and our accredited PRINCE2 courses have never been so popular!
Being a great project manager is not just about learning theory though, or even about applying it by the book. Project management requires excellent organisational and people management skills in order to be a success.
Above all, a project manager needs to be able to keep their cool when things are going astray, even if just to set a good example to their team. Here are our Top Tips for keeping calm when things go wrong in project management:
The best thing you can do to prevent project failure is to take the time to analyse issues that creep up on you along the way.
When you’re panicking because things are going wrong, it’s hard to take this step back – it can seem more effective to just get on with the most obvious fix. PRINCE2 has an emphasis on control, especially when faced with unexpected challenges. Simply reacting without thinking is a no-no – you must take the time out to consider all the options for recovery and how the issue and solution relate to the rest of the project.
Go Back To Your Project Plan
When a project goes off course, return to your Project Plan and goals, and remodel a revised path back to where you are now. Doing this ensures you identify any later stages that depends on the outcome of how you deal with this challenge, and makes sure you take the shortest route. Maintaining an up-to-date plan is fundamental to PRINCE2 project success and you will find it helps focus your mind and keeps you calm.
Rely on Your Team
When things go wrong during a project, a fairly common knee-jerk reaction is to decide you’d be better off doing everything yourself. We all know the feeling, and what it’s like to see it happening in others. Don’t give in to this impulse. Revise the structure of responsibility you’ve put in place if you really need to, and fill any training gaps; but keep on delegating the tasks you planned to delegate.
Avoid the Blame Game
Not only should you steer clear of blaming yourself, but try to avoid blaming someone else. Even if the issue you are now facing is easily attributable to one individual on your team, think about other options than blame. First of all, has this person taken responsibility? If so, this should be rewarded in some way. Secondly, if it is the fault of one individual, has the organisational structure or training provided given them adequate support to do their job properly? Most of the time, if you look at it this way, you see other ways the issue could have been prevented. Put your thoughts into the Issues Log and, when you evaluate the project, this can go into the report as a learning point for future projects.
If the issue you’re facing is to do with motivation and commitment from others involved in the project then, rather than blaming them, think about what you can do to improve this. Our tips for managing a project team should get you started!
Take a Break
Another impulse you should try and resist when faced with challenges in project management is the one telling you to work all hours of the day to get it right. Try and keep to your working hours – see above re: delegating! Get out at lunchtime if you can, and make sure you make good use of your evenings off. As mentioned above, your role as project manager means you need to set an example – and do this you need to remain calm at all times. The only way to do this is to take proper breaks and make use of leisure time.
Ask For Help
As a Project Manager, you’re not alone. You have the Project Board to support you, or at very least a Sponsor and Senior User even for smaller projects. You have your team. By making sure you follow the advice above, you’ll remain in a great position to ask for help and pull the team together to get over the challenge and move forward.
Similar posts you may like:
- Project Failure – What to do if your project goes wrong
- Communication Skills in Project Management
- How to Avoid Project Management Failure
- Project Management – When Projects Go Wrong
- When to be Flexible in PRINCE2 Project Management