5 Tips to Keep That Project Moving
As we continue with the Being an Effective Manager blog series, we’ll talk about project management tips you can start using today to make your next project a success. You’ll see many of the topics we discussed in earlier posts woven into the framework of effective project management: setting clear expectations, delegating tasks, and enforcing accountability.
Project Management: The Basics
Remember when you learned about the four elements in school – earth, air, fire, and water? These four elements were considered essential to life itself.
There are also four elements in project management that a successful leader will be able to skillfully manage – people, time, resources, and project scope. As a project manager, you must continually search for efficiencies, monitor deadlines, practice strong problem-solving techniques, and organize resources.
Defining project scope is a key part of project management, since this is where focus is established. You’ll identify the objectives and goals of the project, determine phases and sub-phases, outline tasks, and develop a budget and timeline for completion.
Although many people tend to think about project management strictly from a business perspective, developing strong project management skills can help you succeed in your personal life as well. Follow the five tips below to boost the chances of a rewarding project outcome.
Project Management: Tips for Success
1. Know the details. This almost goes without saying, but knowing the project inside and out is absolutely critical. When you have a lucid understanding of everything involved in the project, you’ll be more confident when you need to address the inevitable pitfalls and conflicts that arise down the road.
2. Get visual. Use words and images (graphics, pictures, icons) to unite your team, especially when you’re in the planning phase of your project. This encourages people from many different backgrounds to offer their input. Plus, it can be a great aid to help team members build a sense of commitment to the project.
3. Be a leader! Use your delegating skills to assemble a stellar team for the project. Foster open, honest communication throughout all phases of the project, practice frequent evaluations and check-ins, and have a plan so you can tackle common issues like missed deadlines or misunderstandings.
4. Sidestep scope creep. Scope creep can happen easily, and even one single incident can push your project beyond its original boundaries, possibly leading to unexpected costs, skipped deadlines, and in the worst case scenario, project failure. To avoid this common problem, establish a clear project vision, set priorities, develop change control processes (if you haven’t already), and always, always remember the original scope of your project.
5. Be flexible. Your organization may have defined project processes (inputs, outputs, tactics), but always remember to remain flexible and willing to adapt to each unique project. Use your critical thinking skills to tackle problems when a challenge arises, and capitalize on the diversity of your team by bringing out the best in each team member.
Successful project managers share several common traits: enthusiasm that radiates to the entire team, a strong understanding of the project, a capacity to meet challenges with creative solutions, and of course, the ability to remain calm under pressure.
Being a successful project manager is a skill that will translate well into your personal life, too. Think about ways you can apply the skills you’ve developed as a project manager into every aspect of your life.
Regardless of the size of the project, a competent, experienced project manager can have a tremendous impact on the end result. As an accomplished project manager, you’ll not only be able to explain how your work benefits the organization, but also, why. An outstanding project manager is also an effective leader, able to command authority and think in practical as well as scientific terms.