Published on Friday, June 27, 2014
While soliciting input as outlined above is very helpful, relying totally on team member input to manage a project is risky, because team members may not be aware of mistakes they are making or when they are veering off track. For these reasons, systematic spot-checking, based on the project manager’s sense of where possible problems are likely to crop up, is an excellent alternative to micromanaging every potential problem.
Pick Your Battles
Not every project element needs to be executed to perfection for the project to succeed. If that were so, no project would ever succeed; people being people, mistakes are inevitable. The real challenge for project managers is to discern which problems need fixing and which don’t. Doing this effectively requires experience, judgment, common sense and observation.
The last point, observation, is worth elaboration. Micromanagers often have an almost compulsive need to fix things immediately. But often, a wiser course is to let things play out a little bit. A person may not be executing a task the way the PM would do it, but perhaps that way works. Perhaps it works better! Continuous process improvement demands a degree of experimentation; otherwise, processes become rigid and unable to adapt to the changing environments that are inevitable in any business.
The bottom line for avoiding the pitfalls of micromanagement: Be flexible, focused, forgiving, inquisitive and patient. That’s a fairly long list, but adding these tools to your skill set will produce better results and stronger, more adaptable teams.
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