We read a lot about why networking is important but who should you be networking with? Here are 7 connections that are important for your project’s success.
1. To your sponsor
Your main connection to the rest of the business and the wider corporate objectives on your project comes through your sponsor. It’s really important to maintain good working relationships with this person as they are critical for your success.
Don’t just use them when things get difficult. Ideally you’ll want to be working with them throughout the project to promote positive messages as well as using them to unblock problems that your team is facing.
2. To your customer
Your project customer group will include more than just your sponsor (although he or she is normally a senior manager from that customer group). Keep that whole team or department on side by working with them regularly. Share information. Produce a newsletter. Talk at their team meetings. Make sure your sponsor has data that he or she can take back to them and share so they feel connected to the project.
3. To your team
Your project team are the people you rely on to get the work done. You ‘network’ with them every day when you are working together on project tasks. But you can go further than that and try to build positive relationships that extend beyond task management.
Think about how you can create a positive working environment and a social sense of fun on your project, making it a place that people want to be. The better your relationships with your team, the more likely it is that you will generate trust and respect on the project at all levels. This will help you significantly when it comes to dealing with conflict or handling project issues.
4. To your finance department
Keep your finance department on side! Make sure you know what their reporting cycle is and what information they are expecting from you. If you are struggling with managing the project budgets, then ask them for help – after all, they are the experts.
5. To your PR team
The internal public relations or marketing team for your company can also help you with project communications. At the less involved end of the scale they will probably have templates you can use to produce project newsletters and will be able to help you upload information on to the intranet.
At a more involved level they could assist with formal communications such as town hall meetings or conferences, and of course external communications to investor groups, news outlets and customer groups.
6. To the PMO
If your company has a PMO then the connection between your project and that group should be something to cultivate. The PMO is an important part of your network. Not only will you have to report progress to them but they can provide other useful services such as help with project scheduling, risk management and project admin. A good working relationship with the PMO will make your life as a project manager much easier!
7. To the right technology
This is a different type of connection: it’s not to a person or group but using the right technology will ensure you have suitable tools to manage your project effectively. Good project management software is important if you want to keep your project on track and be able to effectively report progress. You can also use tools like wikis and collaboration software to keep your team connected.