Project Management – The Guide to Success
March 8, 2016 General,
To plan and prepare for a small, big or awe-inspiring project, you should put it into the best shape before you even begin.
Proper preparation of any project guarantees that the unexpected won’t derail the project. The plan will also ensure that any interruptions can be dealt with quickly and efficiently. Of course, having the plan in place doesn’t always stop the worst from happening, and despite our best intentions: the project fails.
As a project manager, this is something to accept as a reality and to do what you can to minimise failure. So where can you start for success?
PLOT, PLAN & STRATEGISE
This would be the most obvious and important part of project management, because as they say:
“Failing to plan is planning to fail” – Alan Lakein
Start with your ideal scenario and get that positive vision firmly stuck in your mind, so you can work backwards from there.
Have you got your timeline sorted? Has your budget been approved? What are your project objectives? What’s the purpose? What do you want to achieve? How will you know if you succeed or fail? What’s your approach going to be?
These are just a few of the questions that you will need to answer while setting up a plan for your project. Make sure you choose your project management methodology wisely. Do some research and know the pros and cons of your choice.
Get your project plan in writing at the beginning of the project so that you have a solid foundation to build upon. As with any project, change is inevitable but you have to maintain control and ensure that the project stays on track and doesn’t begin to resemble something completely different from the original plan. It also ensure that you can differentiate between your plan and the end result that may have a few “just one more thing”.
SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS & GOALS
Expectations are what keeps your project in line, what keeps timeframes accurate, and what allows you to finish your project at a high quality level and on time. Make sure everyone on your team understands the limitations of the project, in some cases (depending on the project or company) the limitations will also need to be stated to the client.
You can finish a task successfully on time and within budget, as long as expectations are reasonable.
When it comes to setting goals for your project, start off with the long term goals, the big objectives, then break these down into smaller, bite-sized tasks.
Don’t forget about the tried and tested SMART methodology – are your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant (or realistic) and timely?
When it comes to choosing your team, make sure that skill sets are aligned with the required roles. Getting the right people for the job is important as not every project is right for every person. Each team member must be clear on what is expected of them and when; with clear and open communication being of the utmost importance.
SYSTEMS & PROCESSES
Even the most promising and well-planned project can fail if there’s not a robust project management system in place. We all know this leads to inefficiencies, wasted time, resources and effort – then no one’s having any fun.
So do you want to succeed? Of course you do!
Use a powerful integrated project management software like our TimeTrak Suite to manage your projects from end-to-end. One of the many benefits of such a package is having complete visibility over your jobs, tasks and clients so you’re always in control of what’s happening in your projects or even your entire business.
COMMUNICATE & COLLABORATE
A study conducted by the Project Management Institute (PMI) revealed that ineffective communication has a negative impact on successful project execution. Does this surprise you? Anyone who has ever been involved in a project, no matter the size, knows this basic fact. However, you may be surprised to know that there is still a large number of projects that lack effective communications. It is one of the major barriers to project success.
Open communication across all levels of business with a certain level of transparency across projects and processes; communication is king! It establishes trust and allows issues to be surfaced quickly.
Everyone should be able to give their input and have a voice – the right communication tools will see you succeed. But first, you need to get your whole team on board.
If there is some members that are abstaining from using the chosen tools, help them out with training or even look into providing your team with incentives if needed, but make sure everyone embraces the communication tool and follows protocol.
Collaborate ideas with a centralised storage system. Think creative assets, guidelines, brief, client information, etc.
Try using a Knowledge Base system for asset management that simplifies your workflow and keeps you organised – or you could always use a cloud file sharing service like Google Drive, Dropbox or SharePoint. A platform where you are also able to collaborate with other users to share information is highly useful when it comes to having effective communication throughout your project.
Encourage regular updates on progress and working together as a team – after all two heads are better than one!
BE A LEADER
The role of a leader is to “set the bar, inspire, and motivate your team to reach greatness” (Entrepreneur.com). Do you have the best team for the job? Unless there is a clear direction for them and unless they’re clear on their individual roles, there is likely to be confusion and indecision clouding progress.
One of the bigger challenges of being a leader for your team is to just be available when they need you. You have all the responsibility of senior management, scheduling conflicts and client meetings gobble up your time, which can lead to stalled or sub-standard work and disconnected staff. It is important to make sure your team knows when and where to find you. Can they message you, tweet or email you? Do you have an open door policy or do you make time at the start or end of every day? Whatever works for you – make sure your team knows you’re there.
EVALUATE THE PROJECT
So, what was done right? What was done wrong? Was the project successful? It is important to have a project debrief to determine what could or should have been done differently, and to establish the best practices for use in future undertakings.
Not an easy task, is project management. Regardless of what your project is building, creating, developing, making sure your project is completed on time and to your desired quality level can be an incredibly challenging job.
Thanks to modern project management software and collaboration tools, it is much easier than ever to successfully complete projects. Talk to our team today to find out more about how you can complete projects with ease.
WHAT DOES INEFFECTIVE PROJECT MANAGEMENT LOOK LIKE?
So if this is how projects succeed, how do they fail? Here is a great infographic which demonstrates the troubles of ineffective project management.
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