Managing People & Expectations
When you are managing a certain project, managing people involved with the project is perhaps the most difficult thing.
How can you better manage people in your project, and how can you handle the expectations of both the clients and your employer?
Related Article: Project Success is All About the People
We will be using the concepts of analytical objectivity to better understand human expectations, and how to best manage people. Understanding people and their nature is very important when you are a project manager. So, read on.
What exactly do we mean by the term managing? According to some of the top dictionaries, the word managing means:
• To dominate, control, handle, be in charge, govern
• To succeed in handling and every challenge
• To take charge of and care and make decisions for
• To direct a profession or career in the right direction
Almost everyone is in the habit of managing something. Generally, people try to manage themselves, but project managers are responsible for managing all aspects of a project. In the same way, CEOs have the responsibility of managing the entire company.
Management seems to be an easy job from the outside – it seems like it is all about taking charge and getting things done the proper way. But there are actually several problems and issues associated with proper and effective management.
These problems are associated with the necessary levels of domination, control, decision-making and caretaking. Management always involves the egos of people working in managerial capacities. This makes the situation quite complex for even the best project manager.
Managing people in an effective manner
When you manage with effectiveness, you add value to the project. But you need to remember that it is not a direct performance of any sort. You get useful outcomes with direct performances.
When you manage in an effective manner, you bring about improvements in direct performances. This, in the end, results in much better success levels. Let us look at an example.
A manager is responsible for creating a work environment, which acts as a life support system for performers to give their best possible work performance. The environment will also not be weighted down by management and administrative duties.
An effective manager will always try to stay out of the entire job process by setting up a management system that helps an organization or a project team to handle the entire project on their own. This is, in simpler terms, a way to express rational and clear expectations.
Expectations may include performance and product objectives, along with clear responsibilities and roles of each and every member of the project management team.
An important part of this entire process is status reporting, which needs to be accurate and regular. The report must showcase each and every aspect of the project at their current states. It should also contain information about various risks and issues and their respective solutions, all associated with the project itself.
Criticism and accountability
Accountability plays an important role in the entire project management process. A proper management process ensures that each and every member of the management team is accountable for the work given to them. A positive working environment with positive performance is what makes a project successful and fruitful.
But criticism is something that cannot be understood by anyone who does not have a proper understanding of their responsibility, nor do they understand how criticism can help them improve in their job functions. Many people are defensive when it comes to facing criticism, as they are afraid they will be embarrassed. But in all actuality, a good critique can turn the tide of a project management team’s performance level.
An effective and proficient project manager ensures that all the team members working under him are proficient enough. These team members need to be performing all duties assigned to them. They are responsible for passing on criticism to all the team members. This will either show them where they might be going wrong or may be to assist them in becoming even better.
When you, the project manager, are accountable for the performance of your entire team, you should also be ready to handle expectations – expectations of the clients, expectations of the CEO, expectations of the team members in terms of remuneration, etc. You even need to manage your own expectations of your team members. There are a few questions, the answers to which you must know if you wish to manage other people’s expectations:
• What are the expectations based on?
• Is it professional standard, perfectionism or wishful thinking?
• Does your team have any clue about what you expect of them?
• Are the expectations reasonable or foolhardy?
• Do you have any contingency plan if any contingency is not met?
If you know the accurate answers to these questions, then managing all expectations becomes a whole lot easier.