The dark art of project management

Project management. Art or science? The world of academia may suggest the latter - there’s certainly plenty of research on the topic! However we’re of the opinion that it’s more of a dark art. At least in the interiors industry it seems to be. Every project is different, so we find we’re still learning with each job we take on. But there are a few tactics we think significantly improve the chances of a project running smoothly. So we thought we’d share them with you here.

Man leaning on table drawing on paper

Keep the workforce engaged and happy

There is no underestimating how much more productive, efficient and willing a team can be when they feel excited and appreciated. It’s human nature. Here’s a few ways you can try to motivate your team.

  • Give them ownership. No one likes to feel like a spare part! - Knowing your role within a team, not only focuses you but it also helps you see how you add value to a project.

  • Inspire them by showing them the vision - being reminded of what you’re working towards helps to keeps you motivated.

  • Get out of the way - having a project manager lurking around can lead to a lack of trust and make you second guess yourself. Leave the team to do what they’re hired to do and review work as and when required.

  • Doughnuts - nothing brings happiness like surprise doughnuts on a Friday afternoon!

Don’t be afraid to ask for changes or for work to be re-done

Part of being a good project manager means you need to be able to have frank conversations. It’s no good skirting around the issue or else you can end up leaving room for misinterpretation. Here’s a few tips you might find useful:

  • Always be polite and professional. That may seem like it goes without saying but sometimes people can forget common courtesy in the heat of the moment. We firmly believe that if you’re well mannered and keep your cool at all times, you’ve got no cause for concern.

  • Setting the bar for standard and quality early on will make sure the workforce know what is expected.

  • Making sure you praise people when their work is on point makes constructive criticism easier.

  • Try and keep changes to a minimum. If you know you have more coming up, why not collate all the revisions and provide feedback in one go so your crew don’t have to keep coming back to the same thing?

Dealing with setbacks quickly and with good humour

Very rarely does a project run without any issues whatsoever. We’re not robots and sometimes unforeseen circumstances can set a project back. We find the best approach is to tackle things head on and with a optimistic attitude. The sooner a concern is raised, the quicker it can be dealt with and put to bed.

Keeping the client informed and making your presence felt

This is something that applies to so many industries. Things like scheduled weekly updates are great for formal status updates but the little ad-hoc updates in between really show the client that the project is moving forward. The important thing is to keep them bite sized - a quick one line email or short phone call is all it takes.

Maintaining a positive and energetic approach at all stages

Positivity breeds positivity and conversely negativity does that same. As a project manager, you’re interacting with almost everyone involved on the job, so enthusiasm is critical if you want the rest of your team to feel motivated to work.

That’s the Crucial Projects way of doing things anyway!

If you’d like us to run your next refurbishment project, give us a shout.