People Management for PMs

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Business and Management are about people. It’s the Relationships!

Matrix type structures seem to be the norm in most project oriented organizations. Companies of different industries such as High tech, IT, Pharmaceuticals, Banking, etc have embraced the benefits of organizing work by projects/programs where resources are picked from various specialised functional lines (Business Analysts, Developers, QA, Legal, etc). Those resources may report directly to their Functional Line Manager, but the Project Manager still holds the responsibility to manage the team and their performance throughout the project/program. 

So, what is People Management and how can we have good performing teams?

I present an overview of People Management by analyzing it at three levels:  The Organization (team context);    The Team (the group);   The Individual (the members, including the leader).



  • Understand the Organization and the Site that the Team is part of.
  • How does the team fit and what role has it got in the Organization?
  • How does the team contribute to the strategy delivery and how does it add value?
  • The team Vision and team objectives should be clear to all.

There is ALIGNMENT only when the above is well communicated and understood.



“A team is a group of people with complementary skills, a common purpose, shared goals, and mutual accountability who share responsibility for accomplishing project or operational goals.”

  • Define the structure with roles and responsibilities either when forming a new team or for an established one.
  • Understand informal roles such as expert-power positions, SMEs.
  • Have a balance of experienced and developing/learning members.

Organize the mix so that it possesses the competencies and capabilities to meet the set team objectives.



Each person is different with different motivations: Extrinsic (salary) or Intrinsic (job itself when rich, delegated authority, empowerment)

  • Establish expectations with personal goals (SMART) aligned to team/org objectives and for personal skills development.
  • Plan against the career path and set a mutually beneficial agreement based on expectations of performance, professional growth and rewards.
  • Hold regular One to One meetings.



  • Choosing a Leadership Style: Good leaders can flex styles between autocratic and democratic styles depending on the situation, maturity of the team members and type of decision making.
  • Leader should establish direction (from Org strategy and team objectives), and motivate people.
  • Building relationships and communications at all levels: inside the team, and from the team to the rest of org and external customers/stakeholders.
  • Conflict Management
  • Problem solving
  • Prioritization
  • Negotiation and Influencing

“There weren’t enough hours in a day or a year to spend on people.” (Jack Welsh)

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