We used to work independently, but now most of our work is done in a team environment and with a complicated workflow. Many people struggle with how to work effectively in this collaborative world. Understanding basic project management concepts and tools can help everyone – even if they don’t have “project management” in their job description. We know this is a growing challenge because our Project Management for Everyone course is one of our most requested programs. 

Ironically, I have coached many clients on these concepts and they DO have project management in their job title but they haven’t yet learned these tips in their career. This work requires higher level thinking and you can’t assume someone has grasped these concepts when you promote them to a new place on the org chart. 

There are many tools that I recommend when training/coaching on this topic: 

  • PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) Chart – Improves your skills as an estimator and helps to lay out a more realistic timeline that considers dependencies and hand-offs between team members. 
  • RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) Matrix – Clarifies roles on a team so everyone knows what they should be doing and balls stop being dropped between team members. 
  • Mind Map – Helps get all the information out of your head and visible to others. This tool has proven valuable for many of our clients that have ADHD or are creative or strategic thinkers but struggle with linear thinking. The idea of sitting down and laying out a step-by-step plan in Excel is daunting to them, but they enjoy mind mapping. 

One of my favorite project management concepts is Scope Management. This is one everyone should understand. It’s not only a great tool to use to help define specifically what will be delivered for an overall project. But it helps with one-on-one delegation and communication as well. 

The concept of Scope Management says that when defining the scope you have three parameters to be considered: Time, Cost, and Quality.  

A terrific way to use it in day-to-day work is to help clarify expectations when delegating. Let’s say you have someone that often spends too much time on a task. Either they are a perfectionist or have analysis paralysis. So a supervisor can say to one of their direct reports that they know they typically always deliver a Cadillac (Quality) version with everything they do. But in this case, they want them just to spend an hour (Time) on it. So the supervisor clearly says that Time is the more important parameter versus Quality in this situation. It’s clarifying expectations so everyone is happy and gives the perfectionist permission to lower the bar. 

Now don’t get me wrong, facts, figures, and dates must always be 100% correct. What the supervisor is making clear is that the employee doesn’t need to spend extra time on it making it perfect.  

There are great programs out there to teach you the theory of Project Management. Our goal is to not only teach you some of the key concepts but also show you what tools are in your arsenal and can be used to help drive accountability and keep everything organized. Tools like Microsoft 365 Teams, Planner, and OneNote. 

If you want your employees to learn simple everyday project management concepts and tools to help your organization run more efficiently, please let us know. We train and coach on this every day. 

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