“What exactly is this invoice for?” Your client doesn’t sound particularly happy.
You’re silent. There’s plenty of description, buzzwords, information that vaguely describes what happens in your office. But there you are, looking at the invoice, and you, the project manager, are not totally sure what is really accounted for in the invoice.
What happened? Often we use project management software only for managing projects. Now, that may sound obtuse—and it is. Project management software helps us track our goals, our progress, and our finances. We forget, however, that it also tracks our inefficiencies.
Your company might have holes, overlaps, or misalignments within the staff. Depending on your office culture and size, inefficiencies can go unrecognized until it’s too late and your client is asking questions. By utilizing your project management software and communicating with your staff, you can identify and rectify most internal issues before they manifest into a larger problem. Meeting a client’s budget and insuring a continued relationship is contingent on maintaining a happy, efficient staff. Here are a few tips to help you become a successful People Manager:
1. Check the progress and hours on a project frequently. If you notice they aren’t accumulating or are accumulating too quickly, it may be time for a team meeting.
2. Provide opportunities for team members to talk to you on an individual basis. In a group setting, individual concerns or challenges are unlikely to surface. For many people, sending an email regarding a challenge is too impersonal. Make sure that you allow time for in-person meetings.
3. Don’t be afraid to change your line-up. If someone doesn’t seem like a good match for the project, offer him or her a new one as an alternative. If someone’s schedule becomes too busy, look where you can reallocate the workload.
4. Print status reports for your team members. Everyone, at some point or another, gets wrapped up in a project and pours entirely too much time into it without knowing. Sometimes people need to see their aggregated hours in writing to know just how much time they’re plugging away.
5. Don’t be afraid to question your staff. We often take for granted that our staff accurately tracks their hours. Often a friendly question can help remind someone that they left their project timer running during lunch.
Lizzie Rosen is an Account Coordinator for Porcaro Communications in Anchorage, Alaska, which has been a Workamajig client since 2011.