The Effective FollowerMuhammad Zeeshan Ali, PMP, PMI-ACP
As a senior member of the PMO team, it is common for us to have a junior level resource for assistance purposes. Some of such resources I worked with were just average resources who most of the time were looking to just serve their time in PMO. While there were some other resources who really moved up the ranks, in a short time, with dedication and hardwork. One quality of these successful associates is that they are all very good with their “follow-ups”.
Effective follow ups have, traditionally, been the weak link for most of the Project Managers. It is not that the Project Managers don’t understand the importance of the follow ups or don’t take it seriously. The most common reason for lacking in this department is that the Project Managers are engaged in too many activities and they are able to follow up on limited high priority items.
Effective follow ups, not only includes, sending emails on the action items but keep on reminding the concerned person to respond back. This activity needs to be both timely and consistent, If you get no response, keep on reminding till you get the intended response. It is always a good idea to visit the person physically or call him/her over the phone or online to remind them about your request.
Although it might take a lot of time but good managers always keep the following as part of the foremost important task. An important thing to understand here is that may it be the internal team or external stakeholder, the project manager’s job is to make things happen and effective follow ups is the key to that.
It is always a good idea to have someone to assist the Project Manager in follow ups, in case there is no official Project Coordinator or Assistant. The Project Manager can then start with the main thread, keeping the assistant in loop and the assistant can help save some valuable time by conducting the follow ups, on manager’s behalf, and can report back.
I have mentioned in my article, “Plan, Train and Delegate” the importance of delegating and this is one activity which I also recommend to be a very good one to be delegated to other resources. A consistent follow up is the core to success in being a successful Project Manager.
Once a senior executive from the customer side praised one of my colleagues with the words: “He is a painfully consistent follower”. I guess that was one of the best appreciation I heard about someone.