How To Fix Problems As Project Manager

Wednesday, May 25, 2011, AM | Leave Comment

A time comes in the course of managing a project when different kinds of problems arise. To solve these problems, good project managers go through a certain decision-making process.

Some have followed quite generic processes, others have followed their own created ones.

Not everyone has made great decisions. Otherwise great project managers or leaders have, on occasions, made bad decisions.

Overall, we can safely say great leaders make great decisions that have influenced public and departmental policies for years to come.

Good leaders use, more or less, the same techniques that I want to share with you.

Here I will talk only about the decision-making process that a project manager might go through in order to successfully fix problems that might arise during the course of a project.

The manager has to be quick, methodically but at the same time might follow his or her gut feeling as well.

The following generic steps have been followed by great project managers for making decisions about fixing problems.

You may want to follow them to improve your own decision-making on projects.

  1. Investigate problem(s)

    When a problem is presented to you by your team members, take the first step by finding its root cause. It may be a systemic problem. Project problems are most often related to team members and higher-up managers, processes, equipment or materials. Find out when, why and how it occurred and more importantly its impact on the project.

  2. Prioritize problem(s)

    You need to prioritize problems from the most important down to the least ones in terms of the impact on the project. It’s not too hard to find out which problems need the most attention. If it’s preventing your teams from working effectively and efficiently, then I think that will be the most urgent problem that needs your attention first and foremost.

  3. Identify solutions to problem(s)

    Now that you have clear understanding of the problem(s) and their priority levels, you need to come up with solution to each one of them. Then review each alternative to determine whether:

    • It really solves the root cause of problem(s)
    • The solution is easy and practical to implement
    • And as importantly, will it prevent the problem from re-occurring
  4. Make decision

    Now it’s time to make your decision. Take time out to carefully consider all the pros and cons about solutions. Bring them out in the open. Discuss them with your managers if need be. Take extra time to make decisions about critical problems.

  5. Act on decision

    You need to be fully committed to implementing your decision. Tell your team about them. Schedule the tasks needed to make it happen.

Documenting your decision-making process

There are formal Project Methodology forms available online. Search for them and see what others have done. You don’t have to be too formal about the methodologies. However, if you want to share problems and your decisions with others for future reference, then you might want to create and formalize your decision-making processes in a document form. That way everyone concerned would know what has to be done.

In a Nutshell
Make better and faster decisions by following the above steps. You will feel good about your decisions.

Courtesy of…

This column is © copyright to www.Method123.com and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.

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