If your Project Team isn’t learning something new each time it executes a project, then the project management team isn’t spending as much time on improvement efforts as it should. The lessons don’t need to be earth shattering or obscure, but the Project Team should be able to take something constructive from every project. Is a particular raw materials market too volatile for the conventional budget process? Does a certain group of stakeholders push for significant scope creep every time they’re involved in a project? These little lessons add up and have the potential to boost the team’s performance, so be sure you’re giving them the attention they deserve.
We’ve pulled together 10 takeaways the Project Team should be looking for in every project.
1 – Which support group went out of their way to assist? Project teams typically rely on a host of internal departments for support, such as HR, Accounting, and Legal. Knowing that projects are a team effort, the Project Team should be seeking to work even more closely with those departments that have already demonstrated the desire for a good partnership.
2 – Which competencies should be honed? When glitches occur or an inefficiency is discovered, look to see if there are specific skills that could address the issue. Does the team need to work on its project control methodology? Could data collection be better? Even when the team performs well, improvement efforts should continue to be a priority.
3 – Did one vendor shine (or fall)? Carefully evaluate how well each vendor handled their responsibilities. This should include factors outside their primary areas of support—communication, timeliness, creative problem solving, willingness to entertain unconventional solutions—to see which vendors are particularly good partners.
4 – Where can the communication flow be improved? Even if your project team is above average when it comes to communicating, there are always ways to make things better. Look for bottlenecks and other inefficiencies, and bring the group together to solicit input on fixing them.
5 – Was there a meeting style that really fit the team? Some Project Teams just naturally take to conference calls while others gravitate toward more face-to-face interactions. Examine why a particular style worked on this project and see where that approach may benefit future projects.
6 – Which technology adds value? Whether hardware or software, many Project Teams rely on a few core tools to support project planning, communication, budgeting, resource management, project controls, and other operations. Identify which pieces of technology fit that bill on each project, and then figure out how to get the most out of that tool.
7 – Where did friction exist within the Project Team? Strong personalities can sometimes create efficiency-robbing resistance. See where individual temperaments may have hindered discussions or slowed progress, or if disagreements could have been handled better. Make it a point to work on these issues during the next project.
8 – Which datasets was the executive group most interested to see? Identifying the information that matters to them not only enables the project team to gather better data, it also puts PMP®s in a position to offer actionable information proactively.
9 – Which junior-level team members showed the most potential? Your Project Team’s future leaders are likely right under your nose, so be sure the team recognizes when its newer members perform particularly well on a project. They can then be provided with the right opportunities for growth.
10 – How did this project fit in with the rest of the Project Team’s workload? Resource allocation, from materials to internal staffing support, should always be carefully monitored. This information can then be used to better plan the team’s activities during the next busy period.