What Distinguishes Project Managing from Micromanaging?

A project manager is required to ensure that employees stay focused and on schedule. A project manager is required to motivate employees and to drive a project toward its completion. There comes a tipping point, however, where project management becomes micromanagement and the expected value of having a project overseer becomes negative. Management is a balancing act; finding the perfect equilibrium between micromanaging and not managing at all can lead to success for the entire team. Leaning too far one way or the other is a certain recipe for losing your team all together.

Project Management Versus Micromanagement

A project manager is responsible for assigning individual tasks and corresponding due dates to members of the team. It is also the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that each individual team member is qualified and able to complete their designated tasks.

Micromanaging, however, describes the close involvement of the supervisor with team members. In order for the project to make it through to completion in a timely fashion, micromanagers feel that they need to be involved, in great detail, with each individual aspect of the project.

Pros and Cons

Despite the poor reputation, loose micromanagement could be beneficial for on-boarding new employees. New employees may benefit from having a supervisor nearby who can answer questions or explain processes. If new policies or procedures are put in place, it may benefit even experienced employees to have a supervisor nearby to ensure that a project is completed in a timely fashion and in correspondence with new rules or procedures.

The downside to micromanaging is that it can hinder the speedy completion of a project or, in some cases, it can inhibit the ideal results of the project. For example, if a micromanager has a specific methodology that disallows brainstorming or the possibility of creating a new process, then that micromanager may never achieve the best possible results from a project and customers may ultimately suffer the consequences.

Rule of Thumb

 As a project manager, there will always be multiple tasks that you are going to need to juggle at one time. You should prioritize where your attention should go by where it’s needed most. If you have successfully staffed a group of competent individuals that you trust to complete the project on time without your detailed involvement in each individual process, then there’s no need to micromanage every team member or aspect of a project.

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