Throughout the semester, we’ve discussed the triple constraint as it relates to managing projects, and the triple constraint was highlighted in our reading ‘A Short Course on Project Management.” In short, you have three variables to think about – time, budget, and scope. When trying to complete a project, often times, one of those has to give – if a project is on time and under budget, perhaps it wasn’t the initially scoped project. If it’s on time and the proper scope; odds are, it’s over budget. However, there’s a fourth constraint that I believe needs to be addressed when it comes to project management – people.
This became most apparent to me when completing the project management simulation this past week. If I completed a project significantly under budget, under time, or just made an amazing product – the people on my team often suffered. Sometimes they were bored, sometimes they were working an extra 20 hours a week, stressed about deadlines. I think that it’s important to realize that the triple constraint may really have a fourth side, and as a good project manager, that side needs to be addressed too.
Unfortunately- people are tricky. There isn’t one specific solution that will work to keep team members informed and happy 100% of the time, but there are definitely steps that project managers can take to ensure that they’re effectively managing their teams.
- Project goals should be communicated clearly at the onset of the project
- Regular check-ins (perhaps weekly, bi-weekly, etc) will help ensure that everyone is on the same page and will shed light on potential issues early in the process.
- Ensure that team members have the tools and skills they need to be successful.
- Ask for feedback to find ways to improve your team communication.
- Be mindful of how your team is functioning (long hours, answering emails at 2 AM, etc)
While employee management is never black and white, by ensuring that you’re communicating consistently and listening actively, you can help your team members be as effective as possible. By getting them invested in the project early, checking in with them regularly, properly equipping them, and paying attention to how they’re working, you can ensure a more successful project and a happier workforce.