During the summer, staying on top of projects can be surprisingly challenging for teams. Vacations may disrupt the typical workplace rhythm or leave certain groups shorthanded intermittently along the way. Plus, if any team members are newer to project management, some of their skills may need refinement before they really come into their own.
If your team has been struggling to meet deadlines amid the long days of summer, you might worry that there’s little you can do. Fortunately, you’ve often got far more power to improve the situation than you’d expect. Here are some tactics that can ensure you and your team can improve your project management skills, ensuring everyone can reach their deadlines.
Project Management Skills to Target
First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand which skills fall in the broader project management category. Nearly any capability that allows a project to remain on schedule, on budget, and within scope can qualify, including both individual abilities and skills relating to managing a team.
By knowing what skills fall in the project management category, it’s easier to target the right capabilities. In turn, you ensure nothing critical is overlooked, allowing you and your team to become well-rounded project management professionals.
Here is an overview of some of the most essential project management skills:
- Attention to detail
- Critical thinking
- Quality management
- Risk management
- Time management
Other capabilities can be part of the equation, too, particularly technical expertise in the field that serves as the focus of the project. However, those above are universal, making them solid places to start.
Best Practices to Improve Project Management Skills
When it comes to improving project management skills, several avenues typically yield solid results. Since that’s the case, they can serve as the foundation of simple best practices, allowing you to ensure that you and your team are up to any project management challenges.
Here’s an overview of some straightforward ways to improve project management skills.
Participate in Formal Training
Few educational options are as clear-cut as formal training. By participating in courses and ensuring your team can do the same, they have a chance to hone crucial skills in a traditional academic environment.
Formal training can actually occur in several ways. Large, classroom-style experiences are a classic option, but they can be a bit cumbersome to coordinate. Since that’s the case, transitioning to an online platform could make training more convenient. Add in micro-learning modules as the main way of sharing information, as learning can fit into even the busiest of schedules.
Embrace the Power of Feedback
Feedback is a potent tool when used properly. If you want to help your team grow, make sure to offer it at the proper time. For achievements and other positive outcomes, offer feedback immediately and publicly. This reinforces behaviors you’d like the employee to continue and showcases what you’d like others to emulate.
For missteps, it’s better to schedule a one-on-one as soon as possible. This allows mistakes to get addressed immediately and solutions to be developed before a situation becomes more problematic. Plus, it keeps everything private, ensuring an employee isn’t unfairly singled out or embarrassed.
It’s also vital to invite your team to provide you with feedback. That creates opportunities for you to learn and grow as well, ensuring everyone’s project management skills ultimately improve.
Self-study can involve a number of avenues. Whether it’s reading educational texts, following thought leaders on social media, reviewing trade publications, listening to podcasts from experts, or engaging with others in the field, it can lead to skill development and professional growth.
While managers may hope that their teams will participate in these activities during non-work hours, it’s wise to make time during the workweek for self-study tasks. That allows employees to engage in self-study while maintaining work-life balance, keeping morale high while improving their skills.
Try Job Shadowing
Job shadowing allows employees to learn from other professionals who have skills they need to develop. It ensures that real-world scenarios play a part in their learning, too, which can make newly acquired capabilities easier to use effectively once the job shadowing experience is over.
Precisely how this unfolds may depend on where the strongest project management professionals are within your organization. If it’s a current team member (or yourself), you can pair them up with colleagues on various projects to let them share their knowledge. If they’re in another team, speak with the professional first, followed by the position’s supervisor, regarding potentially arranging for job shadowing opportunities.
Include Individual and Team Learning
Project management is typically collaborative, even if there’s a single person overseeing the entire thing. Since that’s the case, it’s wise to ensure that you use a wide variety of learning approaches, particularly when it comes to individual and team activities.
Individual learning strategies allow employees to hone skills at their own pace. Plus, it can support just-in-time learning, giving them tools to dig into a critical topic right when the need arises.
Team-based learning can also help with skill development. Plus, it encourages bonding and relationship building. That can make the employees more effective collaborators and may reduce conflict, even with two colleagues don’t agree, because there’s an inherent level of familiarity and respect involved in the equation.
Find Candidates with Project Management Skills by Partnering with Burnett Specialists
All of the best practices above are designed to ensure you and your team are as capable as possible. However, having a shorthanded team is a surefire way to end up missing deadlines, even if they’re well trained. Fortunately, you can get right back on track by hiring candidates with exceptional project management skills.
At Burnett Specialists, we understand the needs of area employers, allowing us to target the right skillsets when finding candidates while ensuring culture fit. If you need capable, experienced candidates with exceptional project management skills fast, working Burnett Specialists can be your ticket to success. Request more information to see how the Burnett Specialists hiring approach can benefit your organization.