How To Manage A Project Team: 9 Best Practices For Managers

When you’re the one in charge of a project, it can be a rewarding experience. But it’s not the easiest thing to do. Team leaders and project managers know how to manage a project team without much hard work. If you have a common goal, it is easier to work together.


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  1. Building A Great Project Team
  2. Hold A Meeting To Discuss A Game Plan
  3. Be Prepared For The Unexpected To Happen
  4. Encourage Your Team To Participate Actively
  5. Support Your Team But Don’t Do The Work For Them
  6. Motivate Your Team
  7. Provide Feedback To Your Project Team
  8. Be A Project Manager- Not A Micromanager
  9. Follow-Up With The Team On Project Updates
  10. Trust Your Team
How to manage a project team: This article lays out best practices for managing a project team.

Building a great project team

Project managers will benefit from learning how to overcome these challenges. In this article, I will present nine best practices anyone can adopt to improve their project teamwork quality throughout this article.

Hold a meeting to discuss a game plan

When starting a project, it’s good to know what it’s about and what needs to get done. Tackling any project is not always easy, but it can be simplified if you know how to break it down.

As the facilitator, discuss the following things to understand the project being worked on:

a.) What is the purpose of the project?

b.) What is the intended outcome?

c.) Who will be assigned to which tasks?

d.) When do the tasks need to be completed?

e.) What is the deadline for finishing the project?

As the primary individual in charge, make sure your team engages and asks questions. Help them with anything else they need, be available, and be willing to take on those tasks.

Also, meetings are an excellent time to delegate specific tasks to others. Are there some tasks you believe one person would be far more effective doing? Is there someone on the team you trust more to take on specific work responsibilities?

As a result, project management will become much more manageable. During these meetings, you should utilize the time to plan out the critical work to be done.

Getting out of the way is sometimes the best thing you can do to help your team. It enables your team to be more independent while giving them more time to focus on a project.

Eric T. Seil (Site Owner of

Be prepared for the unexpected to happen

Laying out a plan will help make things go smoother and easier to understand. Not only do you want to include items that are expected to take place, but something you may not expect to happen.

For example, your team may face some setbacks. Your group can fall behind schedule on a project, which can mess things up in the short run.

How to manage a project team: It's best to be prepared for unexpected things to happen throughout a project.

On the same note, you should anticipate for these things to happen. It’s not a bad idea to plan out alternatives; in other words, have a contingency plan in place if your original program does not work out as intended.

Encourage your team to participate actively

When working on a project, the project manager is not the only one who should provide feedback. Instead, allow team members to offer their ideas and thoughts on the current project. It will enable your team members to participate and contribute to the project overall.

As a project manager, it’s good to keep an open mind and create a dialogue with your team. In the long run, it helps establish good trust relationships with each member of your team.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it improves the listening skills of project managers. In today’s world, active listening is a valuable skill. We become better communicators and understand others when we don’t interrupt.

Support your team (but don’t do the work for them)

Throughout the process, you should be available to help the team whenever needed. Your team should not hesitate to reach out to you for help, but don’t expect to do the work for them.

It is vital that you don’t interfere with the work your team members do. You don’t have to participate in their workload when you already have other responsibilities to address.

Getting out of the way is sometimes the best thing you can do to help your team. It enables your team to be more independent while giving them more time to focus on a project.

Motivate your team

At times, it helps to motivate your team when getting things going. Even a little bit can go a long way.

In the workplace, two types of motivation take place. They include the following:

Intrinsic motivation: comes from within, is personally rewarding, and benefits you the most

Example: Enjoy a project that makes you feel fulfilled or feel passionate about the work you do.
Extrinsic motivation: when doing tasks due to outside causes (punishment, risks of losing a job)

Example: The need to work on and finish a project to meet a deadline (in some cases, to avoid receiving negative feedback from others).
Intrinsic Motivation Vs. Extrinsic Motivation (Source: Rochester University)

Intrinsic motivation is likely to be the best choice between the two types. So use intrinsic motivation by doing the following:

  • Establishing a clear purpose for a project
  • Allowing people to make their own choices
  • Recognize others for their contributions to a project
  • Creating opportunities to build strong relationships with others

Provide feedback to your project team

Feedback on team members’ performance is beneficial during and after a project is completed. Knowing how they are doing and if they need to improve in certain areas is helpful.

Feedback should be considered as follows:

  • Be specific, fair, and timely on a project
  • Allow enough time to recall what was done on a project
How to manage a project team: Providing feedback to your team can be helpful to anyone.

Feedback of any kind will help anyone do better in the long run. When they learn from their mistakes, it can help them do better the next time.

Be a project manager- NOT a micromanager

Project managers are not always bosses to their team members when managing a project. While project managers work with direct reports, they also work with other employees or departments within an organization.

How to manage a project team: Micromanaging is not the best way to manage a team. It's a terrible way to manage people in general- be a manager instead.

Being a project manager involves coordinating the workload (timeline) of a project. It’s a better description than managing other people. So it can vary with whom they’re directly working on a specific project.

Qualities of a superb project manager

The following are some of the best qualities of a project manager:

  • Help lead the team; make decisions based on team feedback
  • Helps solve problems teams may face while working on a project
  • Willingness to be supportive and decisive
  • Leads by example: Should be portrayed as a role model and make well-thought-out decisions

Considering these characteristics, a project manager shouldn’t micromanage his team. When micromanagement ends up distracting team members, it is of no benefit to anyone.

Follow-up with the team on project updates

Depending on the length of a project, it’s necessary to follow up on how the team is doing overall. If a project may take a few weeks, it’s definitely essential to see how everyone is coming along with their work.

For instance, if a project is expected to last for about three weeks, maybe follow up with your team once a week. There are some ways you can do that, whether that’s through in-person meetings or sending emails.

How to manage a project team: It's important to follow up with your team. Regular updates help people stay in touch with what's going on.

Maybe a detailed email sent to the team would benefit everyone’s time instead of a meeting. If you prefer your team to review it at their convenience, let them by all means.

Keeping in touch with your team allows you to identify potential problems. Do you think your team members might be facing any roadblocks, or are there any areas for improvement?

Project managers should go one step further to be proactive in such situations. If any of these problems arise, you want to be prepared if they occur, especially if they are more significant problems.

Trust your team

It is vital that you trust your team members, as I mentioned in a recent post. By allowing team members to do their work independently (while maintaining their independence), you are putting your trust in their abilities.

Additionally, if you believe in team concepts and take action, and your team does as well, you already have the team’s credibility and trust. Remember to stay out of the way and to help your team whenever they need it.

A relevant article from

Read next on “Best Tips For Remote Work Policies: 15 Tips To Implement” to learn how to put some policies into action. It can help with improving a remote work environment.

Final Words

After reviewing some of these best practices, collaboration isn’t as difficult as it used to be. The project manager can practice and implement any project, no matter what business you’re working in.

Establishing some of the foundations of project management makes it easier and more organized to work on a project. The project manager will be able to improve their professional and communication skills as a result.

Your Turn: How do you go about managing a project?

I would like to get your thoughts about managing project teams. Are you finding it hard to communicate with your team members as a project manager?

Or, are you a person who does well with project assignments? As the coordinator, does your project team respond well to you?

Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I look forward to reading them, and I’ll gladly respond promptly.

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Eric is a content writer and the site owner of He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. Eric is a firm believer in time freedom, as he believes in taking ownership of time. 

“Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. You can follow Eric on LinkedIn.

Self Photo 2019: Here's a picture at a building in downtown Chicago.

6 thoughts on “How To Manage A Project Team: 9 Best Practices For Managers”

  1. Hi. I’ve been in the workplace for more than 40 years now and for most of the last 30, I have been leading teams and managing projects. There are so many aspects that are important to both team leading and project managing that it is easy to think they are the same. I think the main difference is that a project has a defined scope, timeline, and budget. If any of those is not clearly defined and limited then it is more like you are managing an ongoing process or a service.

    I think one of the most important aspects of managing projects, after you have established good rapport with all your team members and understood how they work together and how they complement each other, is setting and gaining a shared understanding of project expectations and clear objectives. Having said that much is going to depend on your organizational setting. Years ago I worked in the private sector. I delivered projects under fierce time pressures but the only thing that mattered was delivering working systems on time. And that was the end of it. Now I work in a large public sector environment. Everything has to be documented. Often it seems we spend more time explaining what we did and why we did it rather than actually doing the work. It is all about creating a solid audit trail.

    I’d say that many of the fundamentals about what makes good project management are the same irrespective of where you are working, but the organizational environment will make a massive difference to where you have to dedicate your time and energies.



    • Hi Andy,

      Project management and team leadership do come together, but are different in some ways. When leading a project, you can be a team lead (in charge of it) or a designated individual solely in charge of coordinating the project. That’s where I think you’re getting with your points.

      You make a valid point about projects involving time and money. In some situations, you need to budget things if it makes financial sense. There’s no doubt that it’s critical to an organization’s success.

      Your experience in the public and private sectors are reasonable as well. There seems to be more accountability when it comes to working in the private sector.

      To expand on your point, I can relate to it when I was at JP Morgan. At the time, I was in a position where we contracted with the government. How the department operated involved daily reports- basically, discussing what was done each day. Thought it was considered a public sector division under JP Morgan, we did work on those types of approaches.

      But I get what you’re saying about project management. The public sector is mainly about how things are done, whereas the private sector involving what was done and what were the results (outcomes).

      Your insights are very intriguing, and helpful to me and the readers. It’s very valuable information, and I appreciate sharing your thoughts and experiences.

      Thank you very much for sharing again- greatly appreciated.

  2. Thanks, Eric. These are valuable tips for achieving a project’s goal. If you can make your subordinates feel personally vested in the outcome, you are halfway to the team goals. Effective communication also plays such a big part that the other players should be able to visualize all that they’ll need to do to achieve success. As a leader, continual improvement will create ever-better management skills. 

    • Hi Steve,

      Being effective communicators is very important to working on a project. Especially if you’re working with other people, you need to have a simple approach to communicating. If it’s a quick meeting or an email announcement, do what’s the most effective for your team.

      I agree with you about continual improvemwnt helping us become better leaders. Not only will it help for one current project, but for future projects as well.

      As leaders, we always should strive to do better in our roles. As you mentioned, it will only lead to better outcomes in the long-run.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts- it’s much appreciated.

  3. Eric, thank you so much for this fantastic post. These are helpful hints for meeting a project’s objectives. 

    You’ll be halfway to your team’s objectives if you can make your subordinates feel personally invested in the outcome. Because effective communication is so important, the other players should be able to visualize what they’ll need to do to succeed. 

    Continuous improvement as a leader will result in ever-improving management abilities. Keep posting.

    • Hi Pasindu,

      When team members feel valued, they will do what it takes to lead to an excellent outcome. With common objectives shared, it will be easier for teams to work together.

      You’re right about the importance of communication. Without proper communication, it becomes harder for teams to achieve the best results of any project. 

      Even for myself, I emphasize proper communication with those I work closely with. It will make working on tasks/projects a lot easier.

      If we take the initiative to continously improve ourselves, we become better leaders overtime. As you mentioned, we get better with key management skills.

      Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts- I cannot tell you how much I appreciate them.


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