Ultimately, the only way that a project can be under control is to have every member of the project team in control of his or her own work. A project manager can achieve control at the macro level only if control is achieved at the micro level. However, this does not mean that you should practice micro-management! It does mean that you should set up conditions under which every team member can achieve control of his or her own efforts. To do this requires five basic conditions.
1. Clarify for every team member what her objective is. Note the difference between tasks and objectives, which was discussed in Chapter 3. State the objective, and explain to the employee (if necessary) what the purpose of the objective is. This allows the individual to pursue the objective in her own way.
2. Have each worker prepare a personal plan for doing the required work. Remember, if you have no plan, you have no control. This applies at the individual level, as well as the overall project level.
3. Ensure that all workers have the skills and resources needed for the job. The need for resources is obvious; in addition, some workers may require training if they lack the necessary skills. Certainly, when no employee with the required skills is available, it may be necessary to have team members trained.
4. Provide direct feedback to each worker. If feedback is given in some roundabout way, workers cannot exercise self-control. On the other hand, if a team member is building a wall, she can measure the height of the wall, compare that to the planned performance, and know whether she is on track or not.
5. Define clearly for each individual her authority to take corrective action when there is a deviation from plan—and it must be greater than zero authority! If the worker has to ask the project manager what to do every time a deviation occurs, the project manager is still controlling. (In addition, if very many people have to do this, it puts a real burden on the project manager.)
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.