Managing a huge project for the first time can be a daunting task. With so many different methods, mindsets and pieces of software to choose from, working out HOW you’re going to approach that task can seem like a separate project in itself.

We sat down with Tim Leonard from Yellowday to work out how to sort the Gantt from the PERT, manage client expectations and get the most from our team.

“I believe that in project management, whilst we use the term management, a lot of it is around leadership.

And for me, management is about today. It’s getting the job done.

Projects are about people and, by evolution, about tomorrow.”

But what is the difference between managing a project and leading a project?

“I think it’s the difference between the people side and the task side. And management principle number one for me is what gets measured, what gets reviewed, what gets focussed, what gets feedback, gets done.And yet the leadership side is all around people and that’s about what we call the emotional drivers.”

But what are the emotional drivers of a client and how do we get to know them?

‘It’s not always about the numbers, it’s often about the why. And that can be the thing that gets people to want to support the project and invest in it.

And specifically, that’s a big and important one to understand in terms of our stakeholders and sponsors for the project itself.”

And by the same token, Tim says that having this rapport is also the best way to lead our teams through projects:

“There is this thing around investment in other people is so important. One of the best managers I ever knew was a guy called Dave Miller and he had up to 35 software engineers reporting to him.

Dave’s guys loved him to bits because he had a weekly check point with every single one of them.”

Check points are a great way to keep up to date with the project and the project team – they can be adjusted as necessary to make them more or less frequent, depending on how the project is going and needn’t be a long meeting, 5 or 10 minutes should do the trick. Simply asking how the team are, how the project is going and being invested in the answers can go a long way to building trust and rapport and also understanding the process.

A picture of Tim Leonard of Yellowday

Yellowday provides organisations with high quality, effective training to enhance individual, team and overall business performance.

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