This month’s blog entry comes from a great guest blogger. Phil Doyle has worked in a variety of project management roles, particularly in the IT sector. Certified in Project Management Professional, PRINCE2 and Managing Successful Programmes (MSP), Phil has a strong interest in metrics and process improvement. He is also passionate about what he describes as the ‘fusion of the theoretical and the actual’, how best practice methodologies could have helped real-life projects. To see more of Phil’s work, he writes regular blogs for Project Health Check.
“Let’s do this!” It sounds like a wrap-up line from a motivational speech a leader may give her team. Motivating them to push just a little bit harder to try to hit the next milestone on time. Such “soft skills” are important for Project Managers in their role as leader, but we were recently asked if there was anything in the PRINCE2 methodology that can be used as part of a Project’s motivation planning – here’s what we found:
- Give People’s Work Meaning
People spend a vast proportion of their life at work, so they want it to actually feel worthwhile. A role that seems meaningless can be dispiriting, which will inevitably effect productivity. However, if people feel like their work has value then there is the potential for motivation. This is where PRINCE2 Principle “Focus on Products” comes in; with a Product-focus staff feel like they are actually contributing towards building something of value – be it a school, software code, or an event.
- Empower People
No one likes being micromanaged. The higher in an organisation you go, the less they may know about what’s being done at the “front line” of delivery. What you really need to do is empower leaders at the lowest levels possible to take appropriate responsibility for delivery. This is where the PRINCE2 Theme of “Plans” comes in; and the concept of a “Team Plan”. Although strictly optional, they present an ideal opportunity to empower your subordinates – making them feel in control.
- Trust People
In the same vein as above, staff don’t like to feel like they aren’t trusted. The quality of work needs to be verified of course, and oversight has to take place, but it needs to be appropriate. This is where the PRINCE2 Principle “Manage by Exception” comes in. By defining tolerance thresholds, it gives staff at a lower level some room for manoeuvre, before higher levels of management have to get involved – so they “don’t sweat the small stuff”. Try to reflect this Principle throughout all levels of your Project team, and people will reward your trust.
- Break The Daunting Down Into The Manageable
Huge projects are daunting, their timescales can be long and a lot can be at stake. But this is where the PIRNCE2 Principle of “Manage by Stages” comes in. By breaking the project down into logical, manageable chunks it suddenly seems a bit more achievable. What’s more, the successful completion of a stage is an ideal opportunity for a Project Manager to recognise staff for their accomplishments. This is great for company morale.
- Easy On the “Management Stuff”
People at the delivery “coal face” may not warm to your “management stuff” – no matter how much you champion PRINCE2! But this is where PRINCE2 excels, because it recognises the need to tailor the methodology to the organisation. Everyone does things a bit differently, and Projects can range from the huge to the tiny – PRINCE2 helps to steer you to using it just right with its tailoring guidance.
- Organise the Team
Your project team is just that – a team. People like to know where they fit on the team: what their precise role is, what are they responsible for, who they are working with, who they report to, who should help resolve their problems and who will give them direction. PRINCE2 has you covered for this, with both a Principle “Defined Roles and Responsibilities” and a Theme “Organization” – PRINCE2 wills set your Project team up for Success!
Soft skills will always be essential for Project Managers and others in a leadership position to motivate a Project team. But if you use methods like PRINCE2 correctly, then it can certainly help to motive your team to get the very best from them – and significantly improve your chance of Project success!
Think PRINCE2 could unlock the potential of your project team, and bolster your chances of project success? Find out more here about our PRINCE2 qualifications.
To see more of Phil’s work, he writes regular blogs for Project Health Check, an online project management consultancy.