There is a popular expression: having too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth.
Project management is one such area where this is oh-so-true.
Imagine organizing a Christmas banquet for 50 people. You wouldn’t be able to do it alone, so bringing people on-board who excel in various fields will make the job ten times easier.
However, if all you want to do is cook a roast chicken, you won’t need five pastry chefs, four cocktail wizards, and a master of ceremonies.
The point we are making here is that whilst collaboration can accomplish great things, it is very important that you consider each person’s key skills before you invite them to the party. Allowing unnecessary people to get involved could significantly delay your project and harm it in the long-term.
Project sharing is a good thing. As we have mentioned already, it is often the only way to get a larger task completed on time. Most people don’t have the skills necessary to pull together a large project on their own. They need help from other people to make it happen. However, one of the problems project managers often have is dealing with unnecessary inputs from people who are desperate to have their voice heard, but who don’t necessarily have anything useful to add to the conversation.
It is essential that you understand the weight and point of view of each of your collaborators. If you give everyone’s voice the same weight, it won’t be long before you are bogged down in notes, emails, and internal memos. This is the root cause of project bottlenecks, so for tips on how to avoid this, read on.
Assign Individual Tasks
Once you have your team in place, analyze each person’s strengths and weaknesses. Most people have a special talent. Your job as project manager is to identify this talent and assign roles that best utilizes the person’s skills. If you are working with multiple groups, assign each group a task that suits their expertise.
Understand Your End Goal
Always maintain focus on your project end-goal. If you get bogged down in small things, you will quickly lose sight of your goal. Make sure everyone has access to the project timeline, so they stay focused and on target.
Streamline Project Design
If you find people are making unnecessary suggestions because they want their moment in the spotlight, remind them of the project timeline. Pull together all helpful suggestions and share them with your core group so they can identify which suggestions are useful and which should be ignored. It’s easy to lose focus when you get too close to the minutiae of a project. When this happens, design flow is hampered.
Keep it Simple!
Where possible, keep your collaboration group as streamlined as possible. The more people you invite to collaborate, the harder it will be to maintain focus on the end goal. Strip things down and keep it lean, so you can communicate your ideas with less clutter.