This White Paper, the final instalment in our series on this topic, explores the people side of project management: managing the people; problems along the way, and how to close the project.
Managing the people
Top tip: The only way to get things done is through people, so manage the people well!
It is a fundamental part of a manager’s or team leader’s role to achieve results – and the only way that can be done is through the efforts and endeavours of the people who are being managed or led. For success to be achieved, those people need to be motivated to undertake the tasks involved. So managers and team leaders have to put effort into motivating their people, rather than just supervising them and their work.
They also have to manage upwards (for instance, keeping the project board well informed) and outwards (to keep the other stakeholders on side).
What is motivation?
The first thing to recognise is that motivation is a state of mind and/or emotion that determines human behaviour. This has two important implications:
- It is internal to the individual and so cannot be done to someone without their compliance.
- The quality of work produced will depend on how they behave in a working environment. We have all seen the difference between someone who is clearly unmotivated and someone who shows high motivation and commitment.
The point is that managers and team leaders have to work at generating motivation, using a wide array of opportunities that are, to a greater or lesser degree, at their disposal. These vary from, for example, changing job content to providing the necessary support and resources, and from choosing an appropriate personal leadership style to offering incentives and rewards.
The critical thing is to overcome two common misunderstandings – that the same things motivate everyone, and that what motivates you will also motivate others. Although both may be true in certain circumstances, it is not generally the case.
There are various different groups of people you may have to manage, under three main headings:
- people within the team
- the project owner/sponsor
- people outside the team.