Managing Expectations Between the Project Manager and Team – Part 2

Posted by Brad Egeland

In Part 1 of this two-part series, we examined eight reasonable expectations that the project manager should be able to have of his assigned project team members.  Understandably, though, there should be balance of expectations – meaning the project team should also have certain ‘reasonable’ expectations of the individual assigned to lead their project – the project manager, of course.

So, now let’s look at what I consider to be seven basic expectations that project team members should have of their project managers…

Promote participation in the project planning process

When putting the initial project plan together, incorporate the entire project team into the process whenever possible.  If they helped produce the project plan then they will better understand it, feel accountable for it, and want to own its success throughout the project.

Stimulate interaction of project team members

The project manager must motivate project team members and be ready to stimulate project discussions.  Being able to lead effective and productive project team meetings is a good start – your best project interactions are usually going to come from these meetings.

Remove obstacles to progress

Just as department managers must work to remove obstacles to productivity for their employees, project managers must do the same for their project team members.  The project manager must listen to the needs of the project team members that are discussed during team meetings and look for ways to eliminate specific roadblocks to their productivity.

Define performance expectations

Expectations for performance among team members must come from the project manager and should be set at the beginning of the engagement.  If the project manager wants to achieve the most he can from his team, then he needs to let them know what those expectations are.  Otherwise, he may get mediocre performances as they shift their priorities to their other projects.

Manage conflict

Conflict will areas – either among team members, with the project manager, or with the customer.  Use it as a positive.  Use it as a catalyst to important team decisions that include everyone and promote even more ownership of the project.

Share information and communicate effectively

The project manager should avoid keeping project team members in the dark.  Not sharing information – even negative information – can cause team members to lose confidence and trust in the project manager.  Of course, effective collaboration using a tool like Seavus’ Project Viewer is one of the best ways to easily disseminate project information and among team members.

Recognize key achievements

Finally, everyone likes to be noticed for good work.  The project manager should look for opportunities to call out team members for achievements and task completions.  And if this can be done in front of the customer and/or senior management, even better.

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