If your team has project managers, you already know how important they are to seeing things through to the end. An effective project manager can be the difference between getting the job done and getting the job done right. With multiple project managers on a team, it can be tricky to make sure all ventures are being completed with minimal oversight. Essentially, you need a methodology for project managing your project managers.
Knowledge Is Power
The best way to ensure everyone is on the same page is by making sure all team members have access to the same information. Whether you’re using a shared drive, a private network, or using project management software, you need to make sure all managers can check on other team’s items. This means fewer emails and meetings looking for information one could simply find on their own. It also means more realistic time management.
The same project management software your team is using should also be used to manage your managers. Popular companies like Asana and Monday offer simple interfaces and support for relatively cheap. Asana alternatives like Google Drive, Confluence, and Dropbox make it free, or almost free, to keep all your projects in one place including online management roles like admin and editor.
Meetings matter. Even with the digital divide essentially crossed, getting on a zoom or phone call can hash out issues way quicker than a smattering of back-and-forth emails. Start with an agenda and make sure all of your goals are aligned and timelines agreed on. Encourage questions and seek out actual answers. Use the conversation as an opportunity to make sure everyone is focused on one objective, solving the same problem.
While email, Zoom, and phone are always great ways to connect, there are a host of companies out there dialed in for business chat services. Of course Slack is one of the most well-known, identifiable by its fun and addicting interface. Flock is a more integrated Slack alternative that gives users more tools than just chat. For Microsoft-centric offices, there’s the heavy lifting Microsoft Teams, a full spectrum of project management and communication tools.
Sometimes, Less Is More
Your employees are project managers for a reason. They’re goal-oriented, independent, and hard-working. They hate getting behind and are sticklers for getting the job done right. So, let them do their thing. Try not to backseat drive when it comes to completing tasks and assigning jobs. It’s your job to check in with these managers and ensure they have what they need, empowering them to complete tasks on their own.
David Ward, a former project manager at NYC-based Iris (clients include Samsung and Kia) finds having a certain amount of independence from his own manager can allow him to put his head down and get the work done. At this current company, Wunderman Thompson in Austin, TX, Ward meets with his boss weekly, not so much to hash out what is what, but often to resolve disputes between team members and teams themselves. “Sometimes we meet to run through projects, and sometimes we meet to work through office politics. It’s nice to know she’s there for me not just to give me work, but to help me navigate egos and issues which inevitably arise”, says David. He thinks a good manager of managers is a person who can read the room and has a high level of emotional intelligence, noting if people are burning out or just off-track.
You Kanban Do It
Kanban is a Japanese style of project management which serves as the base for a majority of the management services out there. Its goals are simple – reduce wasted time and increase efficiency. You can apply this not only to your team’s goals but your personal management of project managers. Work together with your managers to use Kanban to create common goals, adapt over time, and ensure everyone has the information they need to move forward on a task.
Interested in learning about the art of project management? Assign you and your project managers to read Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice The Work in Half The Time by Jeff Sutherland, a master in the art of project management. He’s the co-creator of the scrum method which uses the scientific method to solve complex project management problems. It’s a fun and intelligent read and a great way to engage your favorite employees.