How to Handle a Project Management Crisis

19 Apr 2016 - 05:02 PM under Becoming a PM, Best Practices | Posted by PMStudent

Please welcome guest blogger Helen Sabell who shares with us some very helpful tips on how to handle a project management crisis:

When a project hits a roadblock the entire team can go into crisis mode. Alarm bells will ring, coworkers will panic and the stakeholders will turn to you, the project manager. Being able to handle sensitive situations with a time-conscious, solution-based approach is the key to success in this role.

A project manager will use a variety of approaches during periods of high-pressure to ensure that the team remains motivated and engaged, ultimately driving the project forward. Check out these 5 tips for successfully handling your next project management crisis.

Notice The Early Signs

Even challenges that appear to have come out of the blue can have warning signs and taking notice of these will make or break the project deadline. Staying aware of rumours, following statistics closely and identifying even minor stakeholder concerns are sure-fast ways to keep on top of a problem. Turning your back on an issue, no matter how small it begins, will only leave it to grow bigger while you aren’t looking.

Communicate With Your Team

It is important for a project manager to lead by example during a crisis and communicate clearly with the entire team. Open communication actively drives away any confusion and doubt, keeping workers updated with changes as they happen. Even established professionals can panic and become negative under mounting pressure – it is up to the project manager to enforce a positive and focused outlook at all times to help manage stress.

Update With The Bad

While nobody ever likes to hear more bad news during a time of crisis, being realistic with your team will help to ensure that the expectations are clear. It is important for a project manager to be unafraid of delivering issues to stakeholders and highlighting when a problem is urgent. It goes without saying that they will appreciate being kept in the loop and working alongside a professional team that is honest and trustworthy.

Be Solution-Focused

Focusing on understanding the cause of the problem will bring you much closer to finding a solution than passing blame, which could bring the project to a standstill. Facilitating negative communication will have no gain for you or your co-workers. A leading project manager will need to work tirelessly to ensure their teams stay positive and enthusiastic in searching for a solution.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

The only thing better than a quick, effective solution is for there to be no problem to solve in the first place. Eliminating any chance of a crisis before it can occur requires excellent communication, in-depth research and a fine attention to detail. Of course, there will always be situations that cannot be foreseen and in such cases, a project manager should use the challenge as a chance to excel and ensure the same issue does not happen again.

Author Bio

Helen Sabell works for the College for Adult Learning, she is passionate about adult learning and the education of project management. She has designed, developed and authored many workplace leadership and training programs, both in Australia and overseas.

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