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Apart from activities in project management, individuals are very important but more specifically how the people behave and that means the project team members, stakeholders and project managers. Successful project managers do not interact with people only when a process demands they do, but build relationship with everyone involved in the project. Project managers are expected to listen to members of his/her team by seeking their opinions and ideas. Appropriate building of teams is important in ensuring project deliverables are achieved (Greatorex, 1994) .
There are so many elements and characteristics of human nature that both positive and negative that a project manager will need to address. Conflicts and resistance to change in projects needs the specialty of project managers to solve or manage (Felix, 2013). In other cases excitement about using some modern technology and enthusiasm from project team members glad to have been assigned to a project will go a long way to contributing to a successful outcome even when other project deliverables are not being met .
The major role of project management is not only to follow a plan about the processes but in addition to understand how team members relate and work as a team. The soft skills of a project manager are how to communicate well with team members, and seek opinions and ideas from them socially. In addition the project manager is expected to understand employees concerns as reporting project status accurately. It is about creating a team environment where everyone feels their opinion is valued and honest discussion is encouraged. Other soft skills expected of a project manager is conflict management and grievance handling (Cleland, 2013).
In dealing with people both as individual and group the project team leader needs to follow the stages of team development to be able to improve people contribution to project management. A project manager needs to follow the outlined stages of team development. First a team needs to be formed which will help the people to know each other in the team. After the team is formed, the team members need to storm (Ford, 2014). This will avoid personality clashes and different opinions about the projects decision making. Next stage would be for the team to perform. This will help the team to have high trust in each other within the group and to know the weaknesses and strengths of each individual in the group. The last stage is adjourning the project. After the project has been performed it is ideal to be able to close the project after completing the objectives.
Many projects and organizations will depend on the decisions of individual or group about strategies to be employed in Project Management. Such strategies are either positive or negative. The strategies can be successful or failure because they involve use of teams or individuals in implementing them. To ensure success of project deliverables team leaders need to organize the team to focus on the intended outcome (J H. , 2016). In that process the project manager will have to bear with any costs that might arise in the process. Better decision making by both parties can contribute to project success.
Many organization employ participative type of approach in various project activities. The approach is known to have benefits to both the project team and the project. Creativity and innovation is encouraged when a project leader decides that team members participate in project decision making process. In addition the participative approach is a motivating factor where employees will feel wanted and will increase productivity (Grindle, 2014).
A good case of employees engaged in decision making is the case of Ford Company in which it was in the verge of collapse when there was a turnaround by the CEO decisions. The decisions made by Ford team members and CEO illustrates the power of explicitly delineating a company’s critical decisions. In 2006 after change over when Alan Mulally became CEO, the company changed drastically. Brainstorming was done by all employees to come up with solutions. Employees were further rewarded for any additional effort brought to the company (Jeff Ericksen, 2014). The CEO and his team mutually outlined the critical decisions that were critical to a turnaround of the organization.
Fixing the company’s processes and restoring profitability focused on a schematic representing Ford’s critical decisions. It indicated out the key decisions that needed to be made at each stage in Ford’s value chain, along with the infrastructure required to execute them effectively. They dissociated noncore brands such as Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volvo; reduced the number of production platforms; began combining both suppliers and dealers; and so on (J H. , 2016). They also reorganized the company, moving from a structure based on regional business units to a global matrix of functions and geographies. This new structure enabled Mulally’s team to make its most important decisions better and faster creating global car platforms, for instance, which had been painfully difficult under the old structure. Set in this context, the decision making strategies made perfect sense and helped restore the company to profitability in early 2010 and became a success (Pinto, 2014)
Small, routine decisions need to be made because they cumulatively have a significant impact on the company of project decisions. Amazon’s continuing success can be attributed partly to a host of savvy merchandising decisions, including those related to special prices and shipping discounts, suggestions for complementary purchases, and targeted e-mail notices about new offerings (Rickards, 2013). None of these decisions carries much value in any one instance. Cumulatively, however, they can mean the difference between success and failure due to strategic decisions made by group in shaping the organization (Thamhain, 2014).
Another success case of team development strategies is that of British Gas, a division of the multinational energy and utility company Centrica. In 2006, faced with a serious performance crisis, the company’s new leadership team started looking at the sources of value in its business (Thamhain, 2014). Managers began examining its internal environment. They discovered that performance of team is based on employee development. It reported that employees need to be trained either off or in training to increase their contribution and efforts. They urgently made strategic decisions that helped the company retain these customers, such trainings as how to handle home moves and how best to offer additional services, were most important for this segment (Tiwana, 2014).
There are numerous reasons for the failure and success to individual and team decision making in projects (Beecham, 2013). The success and failures of the decision making in the projects depends on the team core values that involve proper coordination, teamwork, resource investigation, project monitoring, evaluation, implementation and lastly completion. When such values are implemented in projects, they become a success due to the decisions made (Verma, 2015).
All complex projects must be broken down into manageable work packages in ensuring team responsibilities and roles are assigned and accomplished. A good way to determine what the important decisions are in your company is to look at the sources of value in your business and then organize the macrostructure around them. Project with clear goals and objectives communicated to team members will effectively contribute to easier management. This is the case made in British Gas which managed the performance by defining its goal and communicating to employees, the changeover lead to more awareness among the team and increase production (Cleland, 2013).
The decision making goal oriented strategies have become a success because the team leaders and members know what they need to accomplish, and the best way to accomplish them. This is the case in Ford in which the CEO and the team saw that the people who were best equipped to make decisions had to get too many approvals from higher-ups or from regional heads, which delayed execution so they made the urgent decision (Felix, 2013).
To be able to improve the people contribution to project management the following needs to be examined by the team leaders.
Understand the end goal. If team members are able to understand the end goal they will be working effectively to accomplish it. They will also work as a team in accomplishing one common goal, thus avoiding conflicts, and misunderstanding.
Identify clear roles. A well define responsibility and task matrix is useful to individuals and team members in understanding what to be accomplished. Effectively each member will be working to ensure his/her task is completed. The responsibility is also critical promoting transparency and accountability. Employees feel motivated from work allocated thus increasing productivity.
Collaborate. Team work is one of the core values of a successful project. To ensure team work project managers will need to organize team building events, forums, discussions and joint meetings. Such initiatives will encourage both teams to work in unison towards one objective. The project manager will need to look for initiatives that will promote collaboration among team members (Ford, 2014).
Communicate. Coming up with a communication plan is critical in project management. Effective communication will facilitate decision making, sharing of ideas and opinions. A good communication channel reduces conflicts, barriers that would have arisen. Meetings are the best avenues where communication can be done effectively (G, 2014) Project team will need to outline a communication log indicating the mode of communication, frequency of communication, and those to be communicated too.
Project management involves better use of human resources to accomplish the required project deliverables. Human resources in projects constitute team members who can be both operative and technically oriented. To tap contributions of project team, a project manager will need to employ participative techniques and strategies. Employment of participative approaches is critical in success of a project. Involve team members in decision making and problem solving in all project functions that will increase their contributions towards the project.
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