Agile, scrum, Six Sigma teams can be built on a wide range of project management methodologies, and many organizations can become so entrenched in how they operate that project leaders end up with highly specific skills that may not be applicable to other strategies. This can be problematic on three key levels:
Being able to match projects to the work strategy that makes the most sense for their specific needs can be invaluable, but it is only possible if project managers have a diverse set of big picture leadership skills needed to work effectively in diverse team environments. Three abilities that project managers should develop if they hope to work effectively across diverse methodologies are:
The ability to communicate well is often bandied about as a key skill for project managers, but what doesn’t get as much discussion is exactly what it means to be a good communicator as a PM. Key communication skills that a project manager needs regardless of which methodology he is working within include:
Many people think of being able to communicate and collaborate in a business team as simply dividing tasks between users in a coherent way, setting clear expectations between those individuals and frequently checking up on the status of these sub projects to ensure everybody is carrying their own weight. Dividing and conquering projects in this way is one method of collaboration, but it is only half the battle.
Dividing work can get tasks done more quickly than an individual would perform on his own, but it won’t necessarily be handled better. A good team doesn’t just split tasks evenly, it will combine the various skills and capabilities of the team to create a final product that is better than the sum of the individual parts. Collaboration entails:
These skills add up to enable teams to work together as a unit, not just a collection of individuals. PMs that can fuel collaboration are invaluable regardless of the operational methodology being used.
Change is likely going to be a part of a project regardless of what strategy you are using to govern the initiative. Shifts in schedule, alterations to team dynamics, adjustments to project specifications and a wide range of similar issues can force project managers to change the work being performed on a project at any time. This need for change is a near constant, and there isn’t a PM methodology that will avoid it. Instead, PMs must learn how to manage change, with key competencies in this area being:
Any change can bring about as many challenges as setting up a project in the first place, but with the added complexity of having users feel like they are having the rug pulled out from under them if they’ve been working toward one goal for a long time only to have a change roll around.
Technology projects increasingly must drive business success, not just support it. The result is a situation in which nuanced project management capabilities are especially essential to accelerate innovation while reducing risk.
Companies that train their project managers in core skills like these instead of focusing heavily on specific methodologies can put themselves in the best possible position for success. Learning Tree courses for project management professionals can ensure your teams have the skills they need to support flexible operational models.