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Project Management Approaches for Every Manager

So much of how work gets done these days is through projects. While the title of Project Manager is often reserved for those with special training and certification, in many ways, we’re all project managers. We’re tasked with setting goals, developing plans, managing the execution and supporting the people to deliver results. Yet, too often our projects don’t achieve the value intended. 


To help us “unofficial” project managers better navigate this important part of our jobs, I spoke with Kory Kogon, FranklinCovey’s vice president of Content and Senior Consultant. She is the co-author of Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager and brings more than 25 years of business expertise, from frontline positions to an executive team member.


Kory unpacked the key approaches that every manager can use to improve their project management capabilities. 


Value + People + Process = Project Success


Kory says project management starts with your mindset. We need to recognize the three important ingredients to a successful project. The first is value. We must be clear on the intended value the project will generate. Second is people. We must motivate our team and ensure they have the capability to succeed. Third is process. We must facilitate an effective process to move from idea to completion. 


Engage Key Stakeholders in the Scoping Phase


Stakeholder engagement in the scoping phase is crucial. It ensures that all parties involved have a shared understanding of the project's goals, scope, risks, and benefits. Kory notes that most managers tend to rush or skip this phase, leading to all kinds of problems down the road.


Identify the Right People


Kory recommends we start by interviewing key stakeholders. She uses the acronym DANCE to help identify who must be part of these conversations. Who are the deciders? Who has authority? Who has the need? Who has connections? Who has the energy?


Ask the Right Questions


When speaking with stakeholders, we need to ensure we’re asking good questions that will help guide the project. Some of Kory’s favorite questions are:


How will we measure success?


What is outside the scope of this project?


Which is most important: being on time, being on budget or delivering quality


Document the Findings


By bringing these voices into the project early, you’re able to get more clear on what the project is really about. By asking pointed questions, you surface assumptions, intentions, and priorities which you can then articulate into a single project overview. This documentation then become the anchor for all the work going forward.


Keep the Project on Track


A well-defined work plan is the backbone of any project. It provides guidance, minimizes risks, and keeps everyone on track towards achieving the project goals. To utilize the work plan effectively, Kory recommends holding accountability meetings. Remember, as the leader, your job is to facilitate and remove roadblocks, not do or direct everything. 


During these weekly (or daily) sessions, review the plan, keep it up to date, and invite team members to announce what actions they’re committing to next. This allows you to use the plan as a tool to celebrate progress and keep up the positive momentum. 


In conclusion, project management is an essential skill for every manager. By engaging stakeholders early and leveraging the project plan, managers can maximize their team's efficiency, achieve project goals, and drive organizational success.


Listen to the entire episode HERE to learn more about conflict management.



Keep up with Kory Kogon- Follow Kory on LinkedIn here- Grab a copy of her book here


Guest Bonus: Kory is providing 2 copies of Project Management for the Unofficial Project Manager to members of Podcast+. To win one of these copies, you must enter the drawing by July 10th, 2024.



Get this guest bonus and many other member benefits when you join The Modern Manager Podcast+ Community.



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The Modern Manager is a leadership podcast for rockstar managers who want to create a working environment where people thrive, and great work gets done.


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