Why Culture Matters….. A LOT as a Project Manager


  1. Able to move quickly and easily.

It’s becoming mainstream in Project Management and here at Inbound we follow the Agile methodologies closely.  We love our project road-maps, hold daily scrums and are constantly reviewing and finding more efficient ways to plan our monthly sprints.

But at the core of Agile Project Management is people and a team, and ultimately there’s no framework that can overcome any issues you have within your existing culture, or the way your team works together.

“Great Project Managers can create a culture in which team members thrive.” – Colin Ellis

If there’s one line you remember from this post, that’s the one! The best projects are completed when a team can truly work together, communicate with ease and feel satisfied.

As a project manager, you must understand the core values of your culture and adjust your project methods to fit these.

This is not something that can be done overnight, and as our Managing Director, Dan mentioned in his blog 8 Steps to getting Company Culture Right, ‘Culture isn’t a plate that needs an occasional spin to keep it from tumbling, it’s a lump of clay on a pottery wheel that requires constant contact, or it’ll fly off in every direction’.

So, with that in mind, I have pulled out 3 Cultural Values that we are currently working on at Inbound and mapped out how Project Management can work to support them.

If the scrum / morning meeting is the only place you are communicating with your team, alarm bells should be ringing. Mentally allocate time in the day or week to meet with your team in person, check in over the phone and clarify the vision and goals for tasks again and again.

Your role as a project manager is to create an environment where constant and open communication is encouraged. Always listen, and commit to regular updates. Take the time to hold a 10 minute meeting rather than sending a lengthy email.

At Inbound we have multiple channels for our team to exchange information including our team messaging platform, email, scrums, weekly meetings and even lunch-time chats.

The bottom line is communication lines should always be open, no matter how busy the team is.

This in turn is the chance for you as a Project Manager to celebrate these results and successes. Our work moves so fast, in fact I’m struggling to get my head around the fact it’s already August. But here we are, in the 8th month of the year fast approaching christmas. Sprints are the same, it’s often too easy to move from one project to another because you have other campaigns to deliver on tight timelines.

But stop, take a moment to celebrate something good, look back on why and how it went well and what tweaks we could make to do it again. Your team will also be more likely to want to achieve that result again if they have public recognition.

It can be as easy as creating a win board on the wall where anything small or large can be celebrated. Even if it’s something you do every day, it’s important not to take it for granted.

For any team member to take ownership, they need the confidence and space to be able to do what they do best. Therefore it’s vital to create this environment of ownership where there is not a single staff member in the office that doesn’t feel empowered, cared for and appreciated.

It’s also important to remember that for anyone to take ownership there needs to be a high level of clarity for tasks, and an easy way to get feedback. For Inbound, this means ensuring briefs are clear and detailed, feedback is given at every stage of a project, and there is always time for questions.

Image Credit: smgnewengland.com

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