Managing Projects is Managing People

Managing Projects is Managing People

When managing a project, whether in the role of Project Manager, Project Leader, or Project Responsible, you will have various responsibilities depending on the size of the project. This includes conducting meetings, creating documents, estimating time and costs, establishing baseline timelines, costs, and scope, acquiring materials, ensuring quality, managing risks, controlling resource allocation, and engaging the relevant parties, among other activities.

Regardless of the specific tasks, you will always be dealing with PEOPLE. Even if the final product is an artifact, such as a report, a document, or a schedule, it is necessary to interact with people to produce such results.

Projects are carried out BY people, FOR people. Therefore, it is practically impossible to separate project management from people management and believe that managing a project is merely about putting together a schedule and sending it by email.

People are the foundation of the project. It is through them that project deliverables are executed. For this reason, it is essential that, as the project manager, you cultivate healthy relationships, have emotional intelligence to handle complex situations where emotions can escalate, practice active listening to understand the needs of stakeholders, possess communication skills to keep parties encouraged about the project’s progress, know how to manage conflicts and motivate your team, understanding what inspires them to work towards the project’s success.

I’m not suggesting that the bureaucratic activities of a project are not important, as they are crucial. Technical knowledge is necessary to carry out many of these activities. However, what I want to emphasize is that human skills are increasingly essential for project management. This is evident in the latest version of the PMBOK Guide, which adopts a people-centered approach called Principles of Project Management.

Some of these principles are closely related to people:

  1. Be a diligent, respectful, and attentive administrator: maintain commitment and respectful engagement with team members, including compensation, access to opportunities, and fair treatment.
  2. Create a collaborative environment for the project team: by promoting inclusive and collaborative environments, there is a freer exchange of knowledge and experiences, which in turn favors better results for the project.
  3. Engage effectively with stakeholders: build and maintain strong relationships through communication and encourage collaboration through meetings, informal dialogues, and activities for knowledge exchange.
  4. Demonstrate leadership behaviors: leadership implies attitude, talent, character, and behaviors that influence people within and outside the project. Projects work best when leaders understand what motivates people.
  5. Adapt and be resilient in the face of changes: creating adaptability and resilience in a project keeps teams focused on the outcome when there are changes in internal and external factors, helping to recover from setbacks.

By recognizing the importance of people and developing skills related to people management, you will be better equipped to lead projects effectively, increasing the chances of success and satisfying the involved parties. Remember that managing projects is not just about technical tasks, but also about cultivating relationships, motivating and engaging people, ensuring that the project achieves its objectives.



Fabiana C Brugmann

PMP (Project Management Professional) | Project Specialist Consultant | Governance Coordinator at PMIRS.

FB Project Management, partner company of Interact.

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