The best way for a business to take market share is to innovate and create processes and products for their customers that their competitors just can’t offer. The best way to improve your project management ability is for your company to become innovative about how you manage projects.
Wikipedia says “Innovation is defined simply as a new idea, device, or method. However, innovation is often also viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs.”
Sometimes people don’t see project management as “innovative”, because it is usually a defined process that is very similar for each project. This mentality sees project management as a “cookie cutter” approach to handling each project the same way. This view of project management is often driven by an outdated view of project management as a rigid framework for strict control of a project, the management of assigned people, as well as all of the processes that are attached to project management.
Once you have decided what the desired outcome of the project should be, you have to plan how to take your limited resources and get the best possible product. Everyone will agree that planning is very important, and planning usually takes the most of the time of the assigned to your project.
When planning your project and attempting to be more innovative, it is important that you establish flexible goals and timelines that allow your team time to develop their ideas and incorporate those new ideas into your final product. If you don’t give the team enough time to try new methods or research new ideas, your product will lack any effort to innovate.
Mistakes can be seen as failure, or an opportunity to try something else. If your company is going to innovate your project team has to be encouraged to try new things, and learn that failure is acceptable. If you have rigid deadlines and no flexibility in our milestones, you are killing the thinking sprit of your team, which kills true innovation.
Teach your team that failure will always be viewed as an opportunity to learn and grow. Your team should see their role as creative assets that find new solutions, not warm bodies assigned to do the same thing over and over like a factor worker.
Make sure you communicate with the entire team to let them know what is expected from each member, including management. Your team should be encouraged to share ideas and collaborate to create something truly better than anyone before.
When you unleash innovation inside your company, amazing things can begin to happen. Total freedom can also breed confusion and lack of structure. Your team must maintain some perspective and understanding of the desired project outcome. Make sure the team is allowed freedom to innovate, but stick to your timelines, milestones, and desired project deliverables.
Measure the teams success based on their ability to create results that benefit the project and the company.
If your teams creates innovation and your project is a success, make sure management recognizes how your different approach to project management helped create the environment that made that innovation possible. You might not be successful the first time you strive for an innovative approach to project management, but you should look to improve our processes over time.