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How to Become a Front-Runner in the Race for Talented Project Managers

How to Become a Front-Runner in the Race for Talented Project Managers

As a result of digitization and growth in global economies the demand for skilled project managers is expected to rise significantly. While this is projected to occur we have also been seeing downward trends in the amount of skilled project managers to meet the demand.

The talent crisis is real and organisations most valuable projects are at risk, it’s time to make talent acquisition and closing of the talent gap a strategic priority.

The talent gap is being worsened by the post- pandemic ‘Great Resignation,’ which has seen workers quitting their jobs in droves all over the world, and it seems that the situation will only get tougher.

Hiring managers within businesses find it easier to recruit people with critical project skills who are more successful at up skilling themselves for success. Their shown preference is candidates who show potential, have adequate levels of training and hold a whole host of diverse skills.

These are known as “Front-runners”

Front-runners are also shown to have have performed much better in terms of: revenue growth; customer acquisition and customer satisfaction. Making them invaluable to growing organisations.

They are no longer creatures of only scope, schedule, and budget. They are now – enabled by new technology – focusing on influencing outcomes, building relationships, and achieving the strategic goals set by the organizations.

In research conducted by PWC in 2021 the top skill identified by recruiters that many project managers lack is creative-problem solving. This skill is identified through questioning of high level managers to be the one sore spot in experienced project managers within organisations.

This is important to not as the project managers in training can take note of where their focus should lie.

The training of these roles is vital to their candidate’s success, because If capabilities aren’t aligned to organizational strategy. Then building up of staff isn’t going to get the attention it deserves. That’s why the number one barrier to developing project manager capabilities is that learning and development isn’t seen as priority.

This problem can be made even worse by the need to operate in a remote working capacity where many front runners are not able to develop power skills and business acumen skills while operating in a remote capacity.

What can we learn from this? Priority with organisational development and the successful training of the next generation of project managers must begin today. Prioritization must be placed on developing the right skills and mending skill gaps in their established work force.

All this together will allow for the role of Project manager to flourish and the front runners to set themselves apart in their career aspirations.

Time, scope and cost: the three pillars of Project management.

Time, scope and cost: the three pillars of Project management.

It has been given many names – the Project Management Triangle, Iron Triangle and Project Triangle, we shall be referring to it as the three pillars of Project management. If the number of names they go by doesn’t give you the impression of how important they are then let’s begin to breakdown how these three pillars are the most important concepts in Project management.

When used in combination with effective project management software, the three pillars can give you the ability to drive your projects to success. It also means that the success or failure of your organizations projects will depend on the deadlines, features and the budget set by the stakeholders and upper-management.

As a project manager you have to juggle between all three pillars and try to find the best combination of them for your specific project development process needs.
All three pillars are connected and if you want to change something with one of them the other two pillars would be affected.

Understanding that the three pillars must be kept in mind throughout a projects lifecycle to assist the team to adapt to all changing conditions that project would face in the day-to-day. A team lead by a project manager utilizing this strategy will be able to face numerous obstacles that come their way and their performance will remain consistent.

Now let’s take a closer look at the pillars individually:

Number one:

Time – One of the most important elements that project managers have to consider is keeping track of time a project is taking and will continue to run for. As each task and process that is performed by the team has to be part of the overall schedule.

Wondering what the process of setting this timeframe and schedule here’s an outline:

  • Plan schedule management
  • Sequence all of the different activities
  • Outline each of the activities that will be performed in the project
  • Decide what resources will be needed in the project
  • Estimate the time it will take to complete each activity
  • Develop a full project schedule after analysing the previous steps.
  • After creating the schedule, you’ll need to manage the schedule to make sure that your project remains on track and as a result will succeed

The schedule is the time allocated by the project manager in relation to the requirements set by the stake-holders or upper-management. If a project is unable to keep to its schedule and deadlines then it can be in a lot of trouble.

During the Project planning phase a project manager will outline the time required for various tasks, the time planned is dependent on the market requirements of the project and how fast the project is needed to complete to launch, meet the demands of a customer or to begin a new phase of operations.

Number two:

Cost – Another important element related to the Project management. This is the cost and budget of all tasks related to task/project at hand. What’s most important is cost estimation of the various components.

Some methods of estimating the cost of your project:

  • Using Historic Data: Managers can estimate the budget of the project by measuring different stats from the old and new data that they get from the external market and previous completed projects.
  • Use Bottom-Up Approach: Managers can also use the bottom-up approach to estimate the budget of the project by tracking the lowest to highest budgets spent on previous projects.

Number Three:

Scope – The third pillar is arguably the most important part of the process. This is because all other planning and cost estimation

Towards the end goal set.

You can see the scope as a project manuscript that includes each small detail of the project and how it will run from start to finish. It will also include various risks and threats to the project in terms of completing it within time and budget.

Now having identified and discussed the three pillars we can see that they are vital to the process of a project manager and the importance of controlling them to ensure the success of the project.

Lessons in Managing Remote Teams.

Lessons in Managing Remote Teams.

With changing times comes changing work environments. This as a whole has influenced the management landscape with many companies and teams moving to remote operations.

This means that whether you’re trying to quickly adapt to a remote management situation, or settling into the role for the long-term, the same fundamentals will need to be put in place to build solid communication, performance, and employee growth.

The process of adapting to the all remote style of management may feel difficult at first but as any good manager knows it’s our job to create a great place to work. It is so rewarding to have a productive team that is both flexible and independent while bringing diverse perspectives to the table.

Some steps to build your remote dream team:

Just like you would set up a designated section of desks or meeting rooms at the office, with remote teams you need to create a digital common space. A place to group together, access needed team resources and even participate in some conversations and light friendly banter.

This should go beyond a simple set of tools: It includes a shared set of expectations around how to use these tools so your team can work as one in these spaces.

Small mistakes can cause far reaching inconveniences, such as using @all in a team-wide messaging platform as it can affect a team’s productivity. It can be seen as the equivalent of standing up in the office space yelling out loud for immediate attention.

What are the 5 elements of an effective remote team?

  1. Synchronous communication: A chat tool like Slack can allow you to have a constant, real-time connection with your team.
  2. Digital workspace: A shared place where work happens, like Trello, so you can all have full access to project progress and assignments of who’s doing what.
  3. Video meeting space: An integrated video tool like Zoom or MS Teams that works smoothly to give your team face time together.
  4. Open document storage: Avoid storing closed files on your computer, and instead use a cloud-based shared document space like Confluence or Dropbox where everyone can access the files they need.
  5. A common calendar: A team calendar that shows vacation and holidays, important launches and due dates, and shared meetings so you can visually see everyone’s availability.

What are some steps to improving your remote team’s productivity?

Step 1:  Utilise regular 1-on-1 meetings, but keep them brief.

This level of communication is great as if you can set up 30 – 60min catch-ups you can check on on work progress and deal with any issues more directly than via messenger or email. 

Questions to ask during your one-on-ones:

  • Current urgent topics
  • Ongoing progress
  • Areas of growth and future goals – allowing you to dicuss performance on a on-going basis.
  • Keep a record of finished work and previous discussions to effectively trck progression.

Step 2: Provide one place that all requests can be shared and sent.

Communication is key, so is being able to locate information days or weeks later. Often this is difficult to do through the hundreds of emails many people receive. Providing a single place where communication is shared it ensures that as a manager you can effectively prioritize the work requests coming from your team and nothing is lost through excessive emails and messages.

Step 3: Foster a team dynamic of communication, health and fun.

Just like you’d have lunch, chat by the water cooler, or go out for special team-building activities in an office, all of these things can be replicated in a digital space.

Getting your team comfortable with virtual socializing is one of the most important things you can do to help your remote team be successful. Leading by example is the best way to get the ball rolling.

You can form a social committee and let people add and vote on different ideas to gauge interest and get a sense of participation. Once some programs, say a book club or movie club, are set up, you can then make a separate board to manage the events.

Step 4: Hire and onboard of new personnel remotely.

The process of completely hiring and onboarding a new employee remotely can be daunting but it is 100% possible. Ideally, even when everyone is distributed, you’d organize an onsite week to give them a chance to meet the team and build some in-person experience with the team, but that’s not always possible.

Employees starting in a fully remote setting, you just need to set up a clear structure:

  • Help your new hire settle into the role
  • Grow company knowledge and understanding
  • Empower them with the tools, info, and resources to get up-to-speed quickly

These are some practical steps and guidelines that can assist you in setting up a remote team that doesn’t just work together, but thrives as a productive unit no matter where they are.

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