Projects can be quite stressful, especially for project managers and business owners. There are many challenges to overcome when you are trying to plan and execute a project on time and within budget.
In order to prevent your project from going wrong, you need to employ proper planning and management, but you also need to have the right tools. Research has shown that companies that develop project management practices save nearly 30 times more money than those that don’t. So, before you invest your resources and your team’s effort on a project, it’s vital to get prepared.
The following 6 tips will help you make sure the projects under your supervision are completed smoothly and successfully.
Taking enough time to plan the project out will save your time, money, and efforts down the road. In addition, proper planning will help create the right expectations for both clients and employees.
Include as many details as possible and go over each task to check if they are really as simple as they seem or it will take more staff to deliver. Think about supply timelines, and make sure everyone involved will be able to complete their portion of the project.
Finally, establish clear objectives. Although this might sound simple, the keyword here is “clear.” Ensure that all team members know exactly what they are aiming for and what they should expect to walk away with once the project is done.
According to studies, ineffective communications are the reason why about 40% of projects fail to meet their original objectives.
No matter how diligent you are when it comes to planning, you also need to think about how you are going to share those plans with your team members and clients. Will your employees know what is expected of them without having to ask about their tasks for the day? Can your client expect regular updates at certain times instead of constantly calling or emailing to inquire about the status of the project?
Experiment with different manners of communication with your employees and clients and once you find a method that works, incorporate it into the project management process.
Research has shown that over 60% of companies using project management tools completed projects on time, compared to only 40% of those not using them.
Project management looks different for every business. A small team might need simple checklists written down on a whiteboard on a daily basis, while bigger organizations that deal with sensitive data may need more sophisticated tools. For instance, while the legal admissibility of electronic documents might not be a concern for all companies, organizations that practice legal project management need their digital information to be reliable and available in order to function and go about their daily business.
Luckily, there’s a number of project management tools to choose from. Popular platforms like Basecamp, Asana, and Trello allow teams to assign tasks and share updates even on their smartphones. Many of these tools offer free trials so you can figure out what works for your team. So, instead of buying the latest version, you can take several days to test out what your team will use.
Project managers are in charge of guiding the entire team, which means that they need to cultivate a range of practices. They need to optimize the skills of the team members in order to ensure timely completion of the project, be adept in solving problems, communicate effectively, engage and motivate employees, face challenges without faltering, and be able to multitask.
Depending on the situation, a project manager might also decide to mentor or coach an individual to increase commitment to a project, achieve the desired result, and improve their productivity. Coaching programs are a great way to have the entire team trained in project management basics and evolve as leaders in their own roles, while at the same time helping project managers improve their leadership skills.
A paper trail is a great asset in project management. Make a habit of following up all verbal decisions and conversations with an email containing key takeaways. You can also encourage your team members to take notes at every meeting and share them among themselves.
Make it obvious who is assigned which task, when deadlines are due, and keep the schedule somewhere everyone can easily access it. It could be a Trello board, Google calendar, or a simple whiteboard in your office.
By ensuring that everyone is keeping track of project requirements, expectations, decisions, and communications, you will build a project management culture and make sure every team member is keeping track of their work. Documenting everything will also help you avoid any unwanted surprises and decrease the chances of you having to confront an unsatisfied client at the end of the project.
Asking for feedback is a great way to stay on top of the project’s progress and figure out what is working for both your employees and clients. For instance, your team members might perform better if you spend more time planning the project instead of doing the daily check-ins you think are valuable. There is no way to know for sure unless you ask.
Ask for feedback at regular intervals – after coaching employees, starting a new project management system, or implementing a new policy.
Project management doesn’t necessarily mean working more; it means working smarter. Don’t think of it as yet another task in your workday, think of it as a way to plan and steadily drive your business to success in the long run all the while saving time and resources.
Even if you don’t apply specific project management practices, implementing these 6 simple skills can lead to increased productivity and reduced costs which is a win-win situation for yourself, your employees, and your customers.