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Project managers wear many hats and they are expected to perform as a jack-of-all-trades. Efficiently fielding incoming work requests is what makes somebody an excellent team leader. To manage a project efficiently, the project manager needs to be able to prioritize work as it flows in.

Project management best practices (and what creates the foundation of the job) is the ability to oversee productivity and compartmentalize it based on overall priority. The job of the project manager is to always keep the bigger picture in mind and use that to back up any critical project decision.

Formalities

The first step is for a project manager to look at how all requests are being submitted and ensure there is a streamlined and standard process for work orders. Who is using what resources? What departments are signing off on this? Is there a standard work order procedure? It is the projects manager’s job to look after everyone’s administration of labor and costs so that they are always being used efficiently. Establishing a project backlog is a great way to prioritize teamwork and assign accountability. Asking team members to sign off on responsibilities creates a double safety-net if anything fails and responsibility proves an issue.

Transparency

The ultimate way to communicate with your team is to speak to everyone at once. Making the project schedule visible to all will help keep a mental picture of where you are as a team and what needs to be maintained or acknowledged. It will also reveal timelines, personal tasks and contacts for various benchmarks in the project. Using a collaborative project or work management tool creates focus. Visual communication is one of the primary ways to get your message across quickly and efficiently. There’s no better means to build trust than to create transparency at the onset of a project.

Organization

Incoming work requests are not always expected. There must be a means for assigning work tasks within a venture. During a project, you can always be sure that something unexpected will occur. Whether it be a stakeholder request or a shortage of resources, an adept project manager should be prepared for unexpected work requests and have a budget allotted for such instances. Drawing the line between urgent and important tasks is also essential for an organized project manager. The key idea is the ability to “lead” and people look to the project manager to prioritize. Outlining what is crucial and what is menial will help to establish trust between team members and alleviate unnecessary stress.

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Forecasting

If you are a good team leader, you should be able to motivate people with ideas about what will transpire in the future. In other words, to be a good leader these days, you have to be something of a clairvoyant. Assessing your team and setting up general project metrics at the inception will ensure you are holding people to a set standard. Forecasting is about using current data along with your intuitive knowledge of your team to assess future outcomes. This type of management is partially based on basic human relations and how well you know to whom to assign priorities.

Follow-Through

Project management best practices start with checking in and following through with orders. To produce successful results, you have to be a proactive manager of priorities. Your team wants to know that the work they are doing is meaningful and adds value to the corporation. To convey that message, you need to conduct 1-on-1 interviews with your people.

The follow-through comes with genuinely asking team members how they feel. You can’t be a leader without knowing the mindset of your team.

One of the most efficient ways to set governance and have a proper intake process is to connect an intake form to tools that let you prioritize, track and report on requests as they move through your organization. Modern project management tools like Clarizen offer this capability. Clarizen also allows you to extend request management to vendors and customers outside your organization through its External Collaborator function.

 

Overall, the best way to manage incoming requests are understanding your people and prioritizing based on experience. When you’re dealing with human behavior, nothing is perfect but if you listen to your team and have a general grasp of expectations, project success is almost guaranteed.