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Managing Project Teams: Tools and Techniques to Use

Project management is essential for every business to master. It’s a process led by project managers that involves many steps to drive results. This includes planning timelines, organizing staff, and using certain tools or project management methodologies. Project management methodologies can effectively help project managers deliver products or services in a timely and efficient manner.

Whether you’re new to project management or need a quick refresher on these methodologies, use this guide to help you get started. We’ll go over what project methodologies are, the most popular types of project management methods, and how to choose the best one for you.

How to Manage Project Teams

If you’re wondering how to manage project teams, below are eight project management tools and techniques small businesses can use to create a cohesive team or mould an unruly team into a competent one.

Observation and conversation

The Observation/Conversation technique is well-known in project management. It is a technique that provides a direct way of viewing a team performing their jobs and process in their familiar environment – it’s also known as “job shadowing”. First, observe the group and its members before opening a conversation and establishing relationships with individual members.

Establish an “open-door policy” with your project team – meaning they can approach you with queries or concerns whenever they need to. An open-door policy encourages effective communication between yourself and your team and stimulates healthy discussion in the workplace.

Project performance appraisals

Project performance appraisals are usually annual or semi-annual meetings between you as manager and a team member to go over their performance for that time span. A project performance appraisal is a good time to discuss the team member’s performance so far and offer feedback.

Now is the time to explore further learning opportunities, gaps in knowledge, and training needs. You should discuss strengths as well as weaknesses and set goals with them to help them progress and grow their career – both as an individual and within the team.

Ahead of performance appraisals, it’s good practice to ask for 260 feedback from the rest of the team and other employees within the company with whom the employee has worked closely.

First-hand feedback is invaluable for you as a manager to understand your employees’ attitude and approach to work, and whether they are a strong team-player or not. While you might work well with these people day to day, other company members may have valuable insights that can help them learn and grow.

Conflict management

One unfortunate yet inevitable part of managing project teams is the conflict that can arise between team members. Conflicts within teams can disrupt processes and hinder your project’s progress, and they can make working environments unpleasant for everyone.

Conflict management is a skill that all project managers must master. It involves handling confrontations tactfully and constructively and encouraging resolution between coworkers when there is an issue.

As a project manager, establishing policies for conflict management is a good idea. Not only will this create a consistent process to stick to, but it means you’re prepared before an issue ever arises and won’t be caught unawares. This project management technique is a necessary tool for all small businesses managing a workforce.

QuickBooks Time can help you understand bottlenecks in a project and get alignment on how or what processes need to change to avoid issues from the outset. Such tracking software can also mitigate friction between employees as it provides managers with a great overview of the project tasks and timelines to ensure the team is working how it is supposed to.

Issue log

An issue log is a simple list or spreadsheet that helps a project manager track issues that arise while working on the project. An issue can be defined as any unintended impact which directly affects your project timeline or your team’s performance. Issues might be unexpected delays, conflicts between project members.

An issue log should have sections to include:

  • Issue number
  • Issue details – what exactly happened.
  • Category – this can help you to spot patterns if the same kinds of issues keep occurring
  • Assigned to – the person responsible for fixing the issue
  • Raised by – who raised the issue
  • Priority – how soon does the issue need to be fixed
  • Date – so you can track how long the issue took to be resolved
  • Status – ongoing or resolved
  • Comments – space to include any additional details to keep on record

An issue log is a great project management tool because it creates trust both within your team and with stakeholders that you’re managing the project effectively. It also allows you to look back on past issues to help resolve current problems.

What are the Benefits of Project Management?

Project management is crucial for every business, big and small. It allows for teams across various industries to work with defined objectives, saving your business time and money while improving the customer experience. We’ve broken down a few benefits of project management below, so you can see how it can help your business.

  • Improves productivity: With better product and time management, your team’s productivity can flourish. This is because project management ultimately helps streamline workflows, diminishing bottlenecks and inefficiencies.
  • Reduces extra costs: Eliminating inefficient business processes that waste valuable time and resources with project accounting can help boost your bottom line. Leverage apps to further cut down on costly and tedious business processes, such as accounting and payroll.
  • Enhances teamwork: Project management can define the roles of each team member, ensuring everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing.
  • Satisfies customer needs: By improving the productivity of your team with project management, you can provide products or services faster without sacrificing quality.

What are the Types of Project Management Methodologies?

With thousands of project management methodologies to choose from, the process of going through them can get a bit overwhelming. While we can’t cover all of them, here are eight of the most popular options along with their advantages and disadvantages:


This iterative methodology was introduced in the Agile Manifesto as more and more people became unsatisfied with linear project management methodologies. With the agile method, tasks are placed in a backlog system until new iterations or cycles are available. Then, project managers or product owners will prioritize these tasks, ensuring staff can focus on the most important ones first. Variations of the agile methodology include Kanban, extreme programming, and scrumban. 

  • Advantages: This method promotes collaboration among your team, is quick, allows for frequent testing, and can handle data-driven changes.
  • Disadvantages: This method may not meet your project needs if extensive documentation is required or if it’s necessary to know the result from day one.  Agile methodology is based on multiple iterations and adjustments as you go along. 
  • Good for: Projects that require more flexibility due to input from stakeholders or end-users at every stage of production. The agile project management method may also be a good fit if you need a fast turnover, even if that means an imperfect result.


This project management methodology was first used in the manufacturing industry and known as the Toyota Production System. It provided a way to minimize physical waste while maximizing value. Now it’s practised across various industries and applied to the project management process. The lean approach in product management references wasteful practices known as the 3Ms: Muda, Mura, and Muri. The 3Ms are wastefulness, unevenness, and overburden.

  • Advantages: This method can reduce wasteful practices that hinder the efficiency of workflows and make production costly.
  • Disadvantages: Despite one of the main benefits of making production less expensive, the system is costly to implement.
  • Good for: Project managers who want to cut down on costs and optimize product development workflows while providing an end-product that brings value to clients.


The scrum methodology is similar to the agile method in that projects are backlogged. Teams will work on backlogged items in one- or two-week cycles known as sprints. During these sprints, they’ll meet for daily stand-ups and review the work completed so far. Scrum masters will then evaluate performance at a sprint retrospective and implement changes before moving on to the next sprint.

  • Advantages: The scrum methodology can make it easier to complete projects quickly and efficiently without compromising resources, money, time, or quality.
  • Disadvantages: For the scrum approach to work, teams must be fully committed. This may be difficult to accomplish if your team is lacking the drive.
  • Good for: Project managers who wish to consistently improve their team’s skills and need flexibility to deliver a product or service.


The waterfall method is one of the most traditional project management methodologies. This method follows a sequential flow to deliver projects, meaning projects are completed in the order in which they are received. To start a new task, the project before can’t be a work in progress. The waterfall methodology is guided by six steps: requirements, analysis, design, coding, testing, and installation and maintenance.

  • Advantages: The thorough documentation the waterfall approach requires makes it easier for new members to familiarize themselves with the project before starting.
  • Disadvantages: There’s more room for error with the waterfall model if a project is likely to change without having the requirements before starting.
  • Good for: The waterfall project management methodology can be good for large projects that have defined end goals and are unlikely to change. Projects in highly regulated industries, such as construction and manufacturing, may also find this approach beneficial, as it provides detailed project schedules and project tracking.


PRINCE2 is an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments. It’s both a methodology and certification for project managers that aims to provide you with the best practices and processes. PRINCE2 was published by the UK government in 1996, allowing IT projects to become more manageable. Learn more about PMP certification here.

  • Advantages: A certification like PRINCE2 can help project managers get a leg up in the industry.
  • Disadvantages: The principles that make up PRINCE2 may not be enough to adequately plan your projects.
  • Good for: Project managers who want a certification that doesn’t require a specific number of prerequisites. It’s also good for project managers in the UK, where PRINCE2 is a standard qualification to have.

Critical path method

The critical path method (CPM), or critical path analysis, allows project managers to create an algorithm map based on certain pieces of information. This includes details that arise when identifying and scheduling significant tasks or dependencies in the development process. The work breakdown structure with the most critical tasks will become that path you take and will dictate the life cycle of the project.

  • Advantages: CPM allows project managers to pinpoint which tasks are most important to ensure resources are adequately allocated.
  • Disadvantages: This method is complex and requires project managers to know the steps necessary to reach project goals.
  • Good for: Those managing large-scale projects that have various dependencies and need to follow a tight deadline. Project managers and development teams that need to map out projects using flow charts or Gantt charts before starting may also enjoy this method.


PMI’s PMBOK stands for the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Body of Knowledge. While it isn’t exactly a project management methodology, it’s a certification similar to PRINCE2. The goal of the certification is to equip you with the best product management practices in the industry.

  • Advantages: The PMBOK is updated regularly, allowing you to stay up to date with these practices as time goes on.
  • Disadvantages: Remember, this isn’t a project management methodology, so it may not be suitable if you’re looking for a structured way to outline projects.
  • Good for: Project managers who work in an industry where having this certification is the standard.


The hybrid approach allows you to combine methodologies, such as agile and waterfall or PRINCE2 and scrum, to meet the requirements of your project. You’re essentially taking the best of both worlds to create a new project management method. 

  • Advantages: A hybrid approach can provide you with a unique framework specifically tailored to your projects.
  • Disadvantages: This approach can make it more challenging to track deliverables. Continuous administrative intervention may also increase as issues arise.
  • Good for: Businesses in all industries that know the benefits of one or more methodologies but struggle to fully adopt them into their work. For example, some methodologies may be better suited for software development companies but have components that can benefit e-commerce businesses.

How Do You Know Which Project Management Methodology is Right for You?

As with any essential business tool, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Choosing the right methodology ultimately depends on a few factors, including the size, type, and industry of your business and the projects you’ll encounter.

Every project at your business may be different, varying in scope and requirements. So, you’ll have to consider the needs of your business and project carefully before moving forward with a methodology. To help you, here a few things to keep in mind:

  • Timeline: Is your project timeline flexible? Some methodologies can serve projects that are flexible better than projects that are constantly changing.
  • Client expectations: When working on a project, how involved will the client be? If the customer wants to provide feedback at every step, you may need a methodology that’s more adaptable.
  • Total cost and budget: A few product methodologies are more expensive to implement. If you run a small business, your budget may already be a little tight, so saving anywhere you can is also important.
  • Team: Your project team should also be familiar with the project management methodology you select. This means you’ll have to dedicate time and resources to training them if they don’t know the project management approach.

Using Project Management Techniques Alongside Software

Using the right software tools and techniques for project management, including conflict resolution and team building within businesses, is an integral part of managing people. Quality software like project and time tracking apps can improve your ability to manage team members and project tasks.

Sign up for a free QuickBooks Time trial to help you improve your workforce’s performance overall.

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