With so many HR and recruiting leaders working with and managing remote or hybrid teams, having a project management mindset is essential. It is critical for meeting deadlines and helping with communication among those involved in the project. Project management is a great way to ensure your team moves forward while allowing ongoing collaboration.
What Is Project Management?
Project management is the discipline of planning, executing, and completing projects. Project managers achieve this by using a set of methodologies, processes, and tools to guide their teams and manage resources. Most common at technology companies and large organizations, dedicated project managers are responsible for keeping the output of a team’s work on pace and ensuring that everyone involved in the process is engaged, accountable, and informed – and that projects are completed on time, on budget, and to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
While there are many project management methodologies, agile and scrum are typically used in tech (agile is a project management philosophy with a core set of values or principles, and scrum is a specific agile methodology used to facilitate a project). However, many of the concepts can be applied to any project workflow. The one you’re likely most familiar with is Waterfall Project Management, a linear project management approach in which stakeholder requirements are gathered at the beginning of the project. Then a sequential project plan is created.
Projects can be anything: creating a piece of software, building a building, running an advertising campaign – and in HR and recruiting, project management techniques can be applied to launching new programs and processes, like rolling out further training and development platforms, upgrading or re-platforming HRIS, and even for recruitment marketing campaigns.
How to Apply Project Management to HR and Recruitment
The most important aspect is how project managers go about their work. It’s their job to assemble all the resources needed to get their work done and then to put those resources to the most efficient use to achieve their stated goals. Here, we’ll share five tips from project managers that you can use today to apply to your team’s projects.
1. Use a project management software or online tool to manage your project (even free tools like Trello). This should be a shared platform that all team members have access to with the ability to create a schedule. It doesn’t have to be a Gannt chart (though seeing a snapshot of timelines of all ongoing projects can be helpful). Trello’s basic setup is the card format that works like a kanban board, which is an agile project management tool designed to help visualize work, limit work-in-progress, and maximize efficiency (or flow). While setup can be time-consuming, you can start the process with a single project and add to it as you and your team are more comfortable.
2. Appoint a team leader or leaders to projects to help create urgency and follow through. Ask for volunteers! There’s always at least one person on a team who has a natural ability to lead, organize, and wants to learn new skills. Project management is a skill that can be applied to nearly any organization, and it looks great on a resume. Everyone is a project manager at some point, whether overseeing a complex operation or simply taking charge of a small group activity.
3. Schedule regular meetings with an agenda. Depending on the scope of the projects, especially if you have multiple projects happening concurrently, these meetings should stick to an agenda, allow time for team member updates and questions, and everyone should leave these meetings with a clear understanding of what is supposed to happen next. The agenda helps everyone stay on track.
4. Regularly update your project team, sponsor, and other stakeholders. Set up a regular cadence for these communications, which should come from the project owner (often manager or director). However, they can also be delegated to the team leader responsible for managing the project. This allows a direct channel for stakeholders to reply with questions to the person who can find the answer most efficiently.
5. Create a scrum process that encourages feedback via shared tools, allowing everyone to give feedback and make suggestions in real-time. You can set up a group channel using Slack or the collaboration tool of your choice for daily back-and-forth communications. Why is this important? For team members to be accountable for the tasks that make up the project, they must be invested in the project’s success, which means they should be able to share ideas and innovate. Most project managers will tell you that eliminating this aspect is the fastest way to tank team members’ enthusiasm in a project.
As an HR or recruiting leader, focusing on high-level, big-picture developments and successes your team is responsible for is the most efficient use of your time. Having a project management structure eliminates the need for constant check-ins with individuals. Instead, it creates a genuinely collaborative team mindset.