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8 Things Project Managers Want Team Members to Know

As a project manager, if you could write a letter to a team member, what would you want them to know? At PM Student, M. Meloni composes a note of all the helpful things project members should know, but that often go unsaid.

Eight Need-to-Knows

  1. Work that has not started is 0% complete.
  2. Status reports are nonfiction.
  3. Be up front about anticipating lateness.
  4. Don’t assume we know everything.
  5. Warn us of the problems you see.
  6. We want you to enjoy vacation, but give us ample time.
  7. Tell us about your preferences.
  8. You are appreciated!

Work that isn’t started isn’t “in progress.” It isn’t 5% complete or “just getting underway.” As team members you need to be blatantly obvious about your progress, even if you can’t get a task off the ground on schedule. Similarly, in your status report, don’t sugarcoat or talk about where you would “like to be.” Report your status. Your honesty as a team member will help us move forward. There’s one more reporting wish – if you’re going to be late on completing a task, inform the team A.S.A.P.! That way, we’ll all be able to adjust our schedules accordingly.

Generally speaking, full disclosure is a good thing. Your perspective is important (no, it really is), so don’t fret over redundant remarks – share, share, share. Share when you see an issue looming on the horizon. It might be something, or it could be nothing. Tell us now anyway – and not after the fact. (e.g. “I just knew that would happen.”)

Speaking of horizons, are you planning on flying off into the sunset on an extended vacation anytime soon? It would be nice to know if you are way in advance, especially if it’s going to be during a major implementation, which we sincerely hope it isn’t!

But enough about the team, what about your preferences? How can we accommodate you in our working relationship? Are you picking your kids up late from school because of a weekly meeting? Are text updates more likely to reach your eyes than email? And lastly, thank you for being the dedicated and skilled worker you are. We couldn’t do it without you (whoever you are).

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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