When to admit you need more help with a project?

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The author spent the first part of her career working in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects involving the management of outsourced project teams. She now runs a digital marketing company with particular expertise in technical SEO and Content Marketing.

As a project manager it is important to understand when you need more help with a project. Here we look at when you should admit you need this help.

The experts at Parallel Project Training believe too often in the workplace we can be reluctant to ask for help, seeing it as a sign of weakness. Perhaps we believe that admitting we need more help with a project will mean that we might fail to impress the boss or create a less than perfect impression when applying for a promotion; and so we don’t say anything and just carry on. It can be hard to say no when asked to do even more work, perhaps in the short run we believe we can cope, but eventually too much extra work can really begin to take its toll, leading to missed deadlines or rushed work.

It is important to recognise the signs that you might in fact have more project work ongoing than you can handle, how to admit this and ask for the help you need to ensure that your project achieves its end goals.

Keep up to date

If you have a plan for your schedule, where you can see what work needs to be completed and the deadlines for each piece of work you should be able to see exactly where you are up to. As a project manager it is important that you are aware of how each element of your project is going so that you can adjust deadlines accordingly should work go over its deadline.

This may be because of issues outside the control of your team members, it could be due to illness or it could simply be that there is too much work to be completed in the allotted timeframe. If this is the case and it becomes clear that the project will not be completed within the timeframe it is a good idea to ask for more help. Having a couple of extra people working on the project, even for a short time, can really make all the difference to what might seem like an overwhelming workload.

This is when those project management skills will really pay off. Asking for the extra help before the problem becomes too big, shows the company that you are doing your job and have identified an issue which you are trying to rectify.

Loss of team members

If your project is a long term one it is entirely possible that at some point along the way you may find yourself short of a team member. Whether this is a result of illness, someone being seconded to another project, or even leaving to take up a position with another company, this can cause problems with a carefully laid out timetable.

This is especially true if the person in question is a more senior member of the team who might have skills that the other team members do not have. In this instance it will almost certainly be necessary to ask for help with a project, as failing to replace this team member may result in the failure of the project.

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Project management has developed into a fully-fledged chartered profession since the granting of the Royal Charter in the UK to The Association for Project Management (APM) in 2017. Training courses for project managers were already available and highly popular to help people gain professional project management accreditation, but with this wider recognition of the profession it is now seen as a desirable career path for many. Whilst the APM has the coveted Royal Charter and continues to develop its APM PMQ (formerly the APMP) programmes, there are also other internationally recognised qualifications that continue to be highly regarded such as PMP and PRINCE2.

Organisations have become increasingly project-focused in this era of rapidly emerging new technologies and they value the expertise that comes with experienced and fully qualified project teams and managers. By investing in their project management capability businesses can be confident of delivering their new projects in time and on budget more often and more successfully. Many major corporation are now training their people to have the right project management qualifications as well as relevant experience, through internal Learning & Development (L&D) programmes; or by using external project management training providers.

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