Project Managers As Facilitators

Our project manager Everita attended the annual Deliver conference in January to catch up on the newest industry trends and get the latest insights and she’s come back with some thoughts lined out below.

After having a chance to visit the annual Deliver Conference for digital project managers (PMs) it got me thinking about many things but mostly about how the role of a PM has changed in the recent years with PMs fulfilling a role of a facilitator and behind the scenes leader.

PMs have finally managed to win the fight to be recognised as a crucial requirement for project success (we all remember when the usefulness of PMs was questioned generally) and we can see the industry leaders are concentrating on evolving the role which is currently moving into a direction of facilitating the team. We can see that not only teams have greater trust in their PMs, but PMs have stated to trust themselves more.

 

 

There are a few reasons behind this:

  • On many occasions the project leader role is vacant and PMs are now moving in to fill those duties by pushing the team forward.
  • Efficient communication and improving the associated processes means that PMs are ‘monitoring’ the team’s comms and not being the single point of contact for everyone. Good PM practice is to steer the conversations in the right direction.
  • Championing team empowerment has also meant that team members have more responsibility and accountability and it is another avenue where PMs are supporting people to be able to carry out these duties successfully. Giving people more freedom with the right guidance always provides better results in the end.
  • Following on from the point above, creative teams function better in a less restrictive environment where they are able to progress with the support of their PM.

We can definitely see that the above changes are positioning PMs to put more and more emphasis on supporting the team to provide better, more innovative results. It also means that the PM is there to facilitate the team’s processes and improve ways of working to help the creative output. It is certainly a lot less about setting unmovable deadlines with uncountable process hoops to jump through and a lot more about setting up an environment with the least amount of traction for change.

If you would like more food for thought, here are a couple of inspiring speeches on the topic:

Meghan McInerny – Level up: a leadership MVP

Meghan McInerny – Level up: a leadership MVP from Deliver Conference on Vimeo.

Alison Coward – Building an effective team culture

Alison Coward – Building an effective team culture from Deliver Conference on Vimeo.