About project management support
Project management can be seen as the way to get things done without misusing people and resources. Obviously, a project can be unique in infinite numbers of ways as the personalities of those involved are unique, as well as the resources and goals. Still, some things are common and we wish to stress two basic skills of collaboration -- listening and shared ownership. If you listen to people and create mechanisms to support listening, and never let the project become a battleground for egos, you will avoid two common and deadly dangers that threatens all kind of human co-operation.
Our support to your project management is deliberately focusing on the most basic aspects of project management. Partly because this site is really about working with EQ, but also because the theoretical stuff will not be so useful without practice. Project management is very much a skill, not knowledge. It is about interacting with people in an effective way. No book in the world can cover all possible reactions you will get from your team members, so managing project is by all means the best education you can get.
To all project members
Being a project member, manager or not, is being a leader. Being a leader is being watched and measured as we all are role models for each other. Therefore, we urge you to consciously develop yourself -- perhaps you already are doing this work for yourself, if not, start doing it today. If you want to build emotional intelligence in others, you will only be effective if you practice yourself. Perhaps 75% of the success of your project will come from your team operating with emotional intelligence -- far more than mission statements and goals, it is the small interactions that will define your team.
So if you are committed to developing your own EQ, join your project both as a leader and as a learning. Continuously reflect on your own desires, needs and behaviour. By answering the question "Who do I wish to be?" you give yourself a standard to which you can compare your own behaviour. It sounds easy, but if you give it time, you will find that it has a profound effect. Who do I choose to be in this interaction? Who do I choose to be in this relationship? Am I living as a choose to be, or as I have learned to be? While this will probably be the most important work of your project, we will leave this topic for now -- visit the resources section, stay learning, and use both your heart and your mind.
The project method
During the last ten years, working in projects has become the normal way for organisations to run their business. The project method is nothing new, it has always been used when inventing new things and processes, but today we have to use it when dealing with tasks that earlier followed a well defined routine in the machinery called a company. The reason is very obvious when you look around you: today the world is changing faster than ever before, and events on the other side of the planet will have an impact on yours in a globalized world. To be able to act on such events, the organization's processes have to be flexible and adaptable. You can't sell a car in the same way today that you could five years ago, the world of the customer has changed. Therefor the marketing of a new car is a unique project, which will be different from marketing the next generation of cars.
... suites the human mind
There is another good reason to work in projects: it suites the human mind. Most of us enjoy variation in life and when working in a project you know one thing: all projects have a defined end. That means that hard and sometimes boring work is limited in time, and the next project will look different. Knowing that can cure for stress.
... opens up for feed back
The time limited nature of a project also gives opportunities to a open and always present feed back culture: a time limited work must be good from the start to be able to reach the goal, which makes it very costly to not immediately bring up issues that have an negative impact on the work. Also, in the periods between two projects there is room for extensive personal feed back to improve the conditions for next project.
... asks for goals
Well defined goals also suites the human mind, and as a project group often is an ad hoc organization, a project asks for well defined goals to make sure that all these people pull in the same direction. This is also a fact of the present times: a growing majority ask for a deeper meaning with their jobs and refuse to only work for money. There has to something more to it, preferably a good cause. The project method is so much in need of a goal that it by automatique is an answer to that need.
The Project Cycle
Most projects follow the same cycle, starting with identifying a need or wish and then:
Definition of vision, goals and resources.
It is important to know that a project not necessarily goes through these phases in a linear way but moves back and forth. Also, all big projects encompass sub projects that also follow the project cycle within the main cycle. For example, planning can be a sub project with the phases above. By understanding which tools are useful in which phase you will know how to ask the right questions as the project unfolds.
We have chosen to focus our support to the following areas:
Developing a project team, Meetings, Planning, Setting goals. By reading and adapting the advice to your specific needs, you can avoid stepping into some traps, such as unclear expectations within the team, static and therefor boring meeting procedures, dependent team members due to bad planning and losing direction thanks to unclear goals.
You are the one who will work with your project. You know more about the current situation in your team than any expert on project management. Do what you honestly believe is the best for the project, listen to your team members and don't let your and anyone else's ego have too much impact on the decision making, and you have done your best. That's all you can ask for.