The concept of project management focuses around the organization of tasks, from the assignment of them down to the timeline of completion. Because projects are temporary endeavours, you need to use your time wisely when it comes to managing the work, resources, requirements, and timing. However, these skills and experiences can easily be applied to work beyond the project itself. Projects are carried by a project team, and companies are carried on the shoulders of their employees. It’s a parallel that can be scaled from one to another with the shared concept of managing team members and all of their talents. Talent management involves outlining who will work on your team, but you can only do this if you have an understanding of what the project entails and what kinds of roles are needed.
Plan your talent management well in advance!
Everyone wants an optimized and efficient project team. It’s a given that if you have a harmonious team with the right set of skills, you’ve already got the groundwork laid out for project success. The only way you can start building out this dream team is to nail down the project scope and requirements. Start outlining what the phases and milestones will be and the problems you want to solve. Do some high-level estimations based on what you’ve encountered in the past with teams you’ve worked with in the past. Your plans and guesses don’t have to be detailed, but they should be thoughtful enough to paint some sort of picture of what the project will be. It’s completely fine if your vision ends up drastically different from the final project, its purpose is to help you design a team, not accomplish the project goal.
Redirect as you go along!
While it is the ideal situation to be able to put together the perfect project team before a project starts, it is rarely the case that this happens. The more common case is that you will have to move forward with whatever team members you are able to bring together at the time. Fear not! This doesn’t mean that your project is doomed to failure. You can still achieve great things with a team that is well-managed and works with a positive mentality. Along the way, you will encounter issues, as is the case with any project, but these will open up the conversation for talent management more broadly: can the company afford to acquire more talent right now? For the added talent that would benefit this project, could they also be put towards future projects? How would bringing in new talent now affect the project’s timeline and estimations? Perhaps you’ve witnessed a project team in the past spiral out of control without a team lead or a product manager. You will have to assess if talent can be acquired, should be acquired, and how much mitigation it would provide.
On the surface, it may seem like project management is a fairly specific and specialized science. But the skills and expertise that comes from managing projects can easily be extended to areas and issues beyond the scope of the project you’re managing. At a larger scale, the issues encountered and solved at the project level can be extrapolated and applied to work beyond that. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking project management skills are limiting. The skills and experiences you acquire from managing talent and tasks goes beyond any of the projects you have been working on.
Photo Credit: Bernard Spragg. NZ / Part of the Flock / CC BY