How to Handle Poor Performance of a Project Management Team

Nikunj Dudhat

Nikunj Dudhat

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: February 23, 2021

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There is no secret mix or formula for managing a project and Project Management Team. Every project is a unique journey and has different requirements. However, if a project manager invests time, and effort into a good plan, your chances of success will increase exponentially!

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While there may be many attributes of a great project manager, one defining quality is the power to effectively manage team member performance. Human resource is always your greatest asset – if project managers do not harness employee performance optimally, they will not be able to utilize resources and will exceed the projected timeline.

Managing the dynamics of a project management team is not an easy task and involves many multifaceted aspects. Project managers need to formulate norms and standards that will boost quality. Communication at every phase of the project life cycle will help in identifying poor performers so that required corrective action can be taken. 

5 Ways To Handle Poor Performance of A Project Management Team

Every project manager wants to lead a high performing team. However, the truth of the matter remains that sometimes there will be underperformers in your project management team. You need to have an effective strategy and work with a positive mindset to address poor individual or team performance. Here are a few tried and tested methods that can be used to leverage better performance from your project management team

1. Diagnose Poor Performance Early

Before you set out to fix or rectify poor performance. It is important that you correctly identify underperformers at an early stage. If a project manager notices that a team member is consistently not meeting targets, it is important to keep a keen eye out to check further performance.

There are a number of factors that can diagnose poor performance in projects. Not achieving targets, overshooting proposed deadlines, ineffective group communication, and low skill or knowledge levels are some parameters that can be used to identify poor performers in your project management team. Once a project manager is aware of the underperforming members, it is possible to start upon further steps to set up a performance improvement plan.

2. Address The Problem Directly With The Team Member

One of the first steps in working to improve performance is to discuss the issue with the concerned team member. There is no immediate need to involve any other person. The project manager should schedule a meeting with the team member and Let him know that performance is not up to the mark in all key indicators.

Focus on having a positive dialogue without any blame games. If the team member feels personally attacked, they may choose to defend their performance level aggressively. Sometimes a person just needs to be told about poor performance and given a motivational talk to set them back on the right track.

Make sure the conversation ends on an agreement, where you assure the concerned team member that all efforts will be taken by the organization in their quest for improvement.

3. Set New Metrics For Improvement

Goal setting is a well-established technique for enhancing performance. It is important to let employees know what is required of them so that they are prepared to put in their best effort. Once you have identified that a project management team is not performing well; it is necessary to take a collaborative approach. Set a meeting between the team and the project manager so that they can work on a revised plan.

This is the stage that you need to set a performance improvement plan. Give your project management team a new timeline clearly mentioning the performance parameters that will be measured. Let all team members know that you will be conducting regular performance review meetings that will be transparent and promote open dialogue.

4. Conduct Regular Feedback Sessions

People need honest feedback on their performance. Your project management team may be motivated and performing as well as they can, however, you need to let them know if they are deviating from the expected performance by conducting regular feedback sessions.

Give accurate feedback, and mention clearly if performance is still not up to the mark. Provide recognition for any work that has been performed well, so that team members remain engaged and motivated.

Make sure not to have a one-sided conversation – receive and listen to positive or negative feedback from the project management team. Find out if they are facing any difficulties in the external environment and try to reach a mutually acceptable solution. Make sure that your employees are not overburdened by setting the performance bar too high. This will help in preventing performance slumps and set the bar high for all team members.

Also, Read: How to Use Project Management for Startups & Entrepreneurs

5. Provide Appropriate Training

Training is the golden key to most performance issues. If despite all efforts, you find that there is no improvement in a team’s performance, it may be time to evaluate their overall ability. Maybe your team members require to undergo a refresher-training course or some technical training.

Your organization should make sure to provide project management teams with the required skills and knowledge that they need to overcome performance issues. Layout clear and concise short-term goals of the training so that employees are aware of the purpose. Schedule a training calendar so that it can help not only current but also future projects. Arming your project team members with appropriate training is the best way to increase productivity and final output.

If your project management team is not performing well, it can surely create an awkward and difficult position for any manager. It is important to take interventions so that the problem does not escalate. Keep a cool mind, and strive to create a positive atmosphere where team members are supported to perform to their highest potential.

Also, Read: How to Handle Criticism at Work During a Difficult Project

Final Thought

Poor performance is a common occurrence in project management teams. Check the damage in a timely manner, and make sure to take corrective action before it gets too late. A project team manager is the best person to judge the situation and should follow innovative techniques to boost productivity. Hopefully, underperformers will charge up their performance and deliver results within the required project deadlines!

Nikunj Dudhat
A digital marketing and content curator at SoftwareSuggest, a software recommendation platform. I am passionate about Digital Marketing, and all things digital. Also interested in technology and innovation. In my spare time, enjoy playing cricket, and Badminton.

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