How can project managers speed innovation?

Friday, August 2nd, 2013 By Jack Nevison

Without innovation, companies eventually stagnate and fail. Look at Apple, Google and Amazon—three of the most recognizable brands in the U.S. today. None of these companies got that way by standing still. They constantly create new products and services to keep customers coming back. Some products didn't exist until these companies popularized them.

The need for constant innovation doesn't just apply to large corporations. All business owners should be asking themselves, "How can I innovate faster?" One answer is to hire the smartest people and have them work in teams under the leadership of a skilled project manager.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review elaborates on this strategy.

First, the author advises setting up small teams with distinct focuses—and keeping them that way. The article even cites one of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's rules: "[T]eams should be able to be fed by no more than two pizzas." Since a large group of people is more likely to succumb to groupthink, rather than work creatively, it is better to break groups up into smaller teams.

In addition, all teams should be led by a full-time project manager who will keep them on task. The project managers should be experienced leaders, preferably with diverse backgrounds and experiences. In addition to using managers from within the company, outside hires can provide a fresh perspective.

Either way, all project managers should be well trained, and preferably, PMP®-certified. New Leaf Project Management offers its QPM™ series of games to help managers hone their skills while earning PDUs to maintain their PMP® certification.

"PMI," PMP," and "PMBOK" are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

"QPM" is a registered mark of New Leaf Project Management. All rights reserved.

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