Take Care of the Little Things

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As Project Leaders we are usually have skills regarding our attention to detail.  But we are also usually very neglectful of the “soft” side of project management (which is why I prefer to use the term “Project Leader” as a reminder that projects involve the personal component just as much as the technical).  So when I want to write something regarding the little things, I am not just talking about the technical, task-related items that are part of a project.  Below are 5 little things to take care of while you are managing the tasks of a project.

Tone
It is easy to mismanage our tone when we are working on a project.  We can become so focused on accomplishing tasks and getting updates that we forget that there is a person that is working on this for us.  Often times we are doing these updates via phone (a conference call is typical) and we want to be efficient and not waste other’s time.  However, forgetting to be appreciative and approachable can cost us in the long run.

Timeliness
Don’t forget that you are serving the needs of those that are working on the project just as much as they are serving yours.  It is necessary that you be timely with responses and due dates as well.  There is a lot to manage when running a project, but providing information to those that are managing tasks is one of the most important things you can do as a project leader.  Give realistic commitments and keep them.  This is one of the easiest ways to lead by example.

Topical
Keeping up is necessary.  90% of what a project manager does is communicate.  Make sure that you are getting the latest information to everyone and keep yourself current on the progress of all of the parts of your project.  You may not know the details, but that is okay.  Just know where the project is and how it may affect the other pieces.  Keep others up-to-date as best as you can.

Take a Break
We all need to recharge.  Make sure you are taking the time to recharge yourself and your team.  If you don’t take a break you may find yourself completing subpar work and settling for mediocrity.

Take Turns
Whenever possible find a backup that can help with some of the duties required of you so that you can be there to support the team.  Let someone else lead a meeting so that you can take some one-on-one time with a member that needs that extra support.  This also provides development tools for other members of the team that may need to work on some of these skills.

These little things can add up to big things in the long-run.  Don’t discount the power that these small tasks have on your project and your team.

What are little things you have done to make a big difference?

How have leaders impacted you by taking care of the little things?

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2 thoughts on “Take Care of the Little Things

  1. Hi Anthony,
    These are some nice suggestions. Two points jumped out at me from your post.
    1) Take a break. I totally agreed that you need to take a break to avoid producing sub-par work. I think there’s an optimum balance between work and rest. Each individual has to find their own balance. You’re not going to be at your most creative, logical, self-aware if you’re tired, and in the general theme of your blog you definitely won’t take care of the softer / smaller parts of the job.
    2) Take turns. The word that popped into my head was “delegation” here. I think it’s essential for the project manager to be able to effectively delegate, otherwise they will become overwhelmed trying to do everyone’s job.
    Hope that helps. All the best,
    Francis
    PS. You might enjoy reading/following my project management blog. blog.qualityprojectdelivery.com

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