Unusual Project Management Techniques
Many established project management techniques have been honed over time and tailored to fit each company’s unique situation. But sometimes you want to mix things up and try something different, because who knows? Try using these unusual project management techniques and you might get surprising benefits.
PM for a Day
This is a great technique for developing people. It gives team members an opportunity to see how they would perform as a project manager and give them something to shoot for later on in their career. It’ll also give them a peek into your life and let them see that your job is more than just sitting in your chair and ordering people around.
It might be scary giving up the reins to someone else in your team. There’s pride, first of all: what if they did a better job than you? Would that mean you’re being replaced? There’s also loss of control: what happens if you let them take over, and everything goes to hell? How much damage could a team member do in that short a span?
The answer to both concerns is: relax. Nothing bad is going to happen to your career. In fact, it’ll even help if one of the team members you trained becomes a stellar project manager. And as long as you ride herd on your PM for a day and make sure orders go through proper channels first, then you don’t have to worry about a thing.
You do evaluations on your people, so it’s only fair that they get to do the same to you, right? This technique is an excellent way to get no-holds-barred feedback on your performance. The 360-degree reviews are submitted anonymously, both to encourage truthful opinions and to protect team members from repercussions. And besides, who better to evaluate you than the people with whom you work the most?
Even if your organization doesn’t apply 360-degree reviews as part of their policy, you can still set a good example and organize one within your team. Just be sure you’ve got thick enough skin to handle it!
Having lots of experience in a task is a great thing, but too little variation can make your other skills stagnate. To keep this from happening to your team members, rotate assignments and train them up in other people’s tasks. This technique has many advantages: First, this variety keeps them engaged and motivated, and gives them a sense of accomplishment beyond their daily tasks. Second, it develops their skills to become more valuable members of the team. And last, redundant skills protect your team from staffing disruptions—if one team member becomes unavailable, someone else can take his place.
Do you have some unusual strategies you’d like to share? Mention them in the comments below!
Image credit, Hernan Kirsten, Flickr
Patrick Icasas is a former marketing project manager with 7 years of marketing and PR agency experience, managing creative projects for brands such as Nokia, Verizon Wireless, and Adobe. He now spends his time helping people make the most out of their project management software and entertaining his 5 year old daughter.