The Key to Successful Project Management


Is People Management



By Tara Miller

Pennsylvania, USA

If you’re like most people, when you hear “project management,” your mind goes straight to GANTT charts, tasks and deadlines, and type-A project managers. These stereotypes mask what truly makes projects successful, though, which is great team dynamics.

After 18 years managing all types and sizes of projects, I can confidently say that the “same” project looks different every time because of the people. And that the most successful projects I’ve run have been the ones where the team laughs a lot and enjoys spending time together.

But it’s not just luck of the draw. Fostering great team dynamics requires effort and skill, and is essential whether you’re running a four-week project or a massive, multi-year transformation project. Without it, even a perfect project plan that accounts for every potential scenario can fail because it misses connectedness, which is essential to creating a high performing project team.

Here are four things great project managers do to build and sustain teams:

  1. Get to know the group as individuals. This doesn’t mean inserting an icebreaker at the beginning of a meeting and calling it a day. It means putting in the effort to get to know all members of the team and what makes them happy. Who do they spend their time with? What do they like doing outside of their job? What motivates them? These are great questions for one-on-one conversations, because when people choose to tell you something, they’re telling you because it means something to them. I take note (literally) of what they tell me so that I remember children’s names, upcoming events, hobbies or topics of interest, and other important details that help build connection. I also set calendar reminders for special events and hold 15 minutes on Mondays and Fridays to send notes of recognition or things that let people know I’m thinking of them. Connecting in genuine ways and forming authentic relationships is what we enjoy outside of work, so why wouldn’t we want to do the same at work?
  1. Facilitate team connections and create a vision for what “great” looks like. At the start of every project, I ask every member of the team to create a “Facebook” page that they can share with one another to find mutual interests. These are individual profiles with details on life, activities, work – whatever you want to share. For example, I’ve seen people connect over their next vacation plans within a few minutes of meeting…


To read entire article, click here

How to cite this article: Miller, T. (2023).  The Key to Successful Project Management Is People Management, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue V, May.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/pmwj129-May2023-Miller-key-to-successful-project-management.pdf

About the Author

Tara Miller

Philadelphia, PA, USA


Tara Miller is co-founder and partner of Artemis Factor, a women-led management-consultant business that has scaled in four years to over 50 consultants serving 15+ pharma/biotech companies. Tara has a reputation for building sustainable operations from the ground up, and instilling discipline and structure in ambiguous and chaotic project environments. As a portfolio, program and project-management practitioner, Tara over the course of her career has delivered more than 40 transformational projects, including at least 10 product launches and 7 innovation incubators. Tara can be contacted at tara.miller@artemisfactor.com. To learn more, visit https://artemisfactor.com/