“Project Management Success.” That’s a phrase on one could ever argue with. In fact, if you’re reading this now, surely that phrase is what attracted you. Not the more colorful beginning of the title – of course not!
No matter what your job title, if you are responsible for overseeing a project, you need to keep it on track. Project management can be complex. It’s crucial to plan ahead and know what to do when things don’t go as expected and things start to fall behind schedule. This gets tricky especially when multiple people are involved.
To help you deliver your projects as planned in 2022, here are eight tips to ensure you finish in time and on budget.
1: Clear and concise project management goals
The first step to travel somewhere, of course, is to check the map. The same applies to project management. It’s crucial to have a clear, realistic, and achievable goal in mind from the start. And you should ensure everyone involved understands the goal so they know what they are working toward.
2: Set project management deadlines and milestones
Again, when you’re on a long trip, you need to make stops to refuel, eat, rest, and so on. Step-by-step milestones with deadlines for your project help your team stick to the schedule and get things done. Milestones are especially helpful when it comes to tracking progress. If you miss a milestone you can immediately reevaluate your plan and adjust to catch up. Time is money! So show your stakeholders you have a plan to stay on track to keep them happy and invested.
3: Delegate tasks to team members
When the going gets tough, it often seems easier to just take over and do the job yourself. Don’t fall into this trap! The failure to delegate is often a project’s most dangerous friction point. You wouldn’t drive for days without sleeping, right? Distributing the load and ensuring that everyone is contributing avoids overloading any one person with too much work. And most of all, it avoids overloading yourself. Start by delegating the parts of the project you are least familiar with. When you hit a roadblock, figure out who can best remove the debris and clear the path. This will help you learn new things and grow as a project manager.
4: Make a checklist of what to do and by when
Once you’ve laid out the milestones and delegated the tasks, ensure it’s all written down in a clear list. This will help not only you, but everyone involved with the project. It’s the best way to be sure that nothing falls through the cracks. If something unexpected arises, a clear checklist can help you make up for lost time.
5: Use the right project management software
If you are not using the appropriate project management software, you are wasting one of today’s simplest and greatest advantages. There are so many different options for project management software in the contemporary environment. But not all software is the same. It’s important to choose the one that addresses your specific needs. And these days, you should be able to find the perfect fit. Weigh out the pros and cons of each to get the best match.
6: Communicate openly and often
Communication is one of the most critical aspects of project management. You need to communicate effectively with your team members to keep them updated on progress, tasks, and deadlines. You also need to listen attentively to their feedback and suggestions and be open to implementing it. If someone has an idea that could improve the project, be sure to consider it. Don’t mire yourself in internal politics and derail your own project. Nip potential problems in the bud before they happen by communicating well.
7: Manage risks and potential roadblocks as soon as they arise
Plan in advance for what might go wrong. Anticipating potential problems and having solutions ready before they happen will empower you to shine as a project manager. Yes, your team are all professionals. But they are also human beings. They might have health issues, for instance, as the pandemic has shown us. So again, don’t put too much on the shoulders of a single individual. Contingency plans will show your team and stakeholders how professional and organized you are.
8: Break large elements down into smaller sub-goals
Trying to do everything at the same time is a sure recipe for failure. Breaking things down into smaller, more manageable tasks radically increases your chances for success. As with any goal and as discussed above, ensure that each of these smaller steps has a specific deadline, a delegated leader, and contingency plans. Building your roadmap from a series of easy steps makes the overall goal seem less daunting to everyone involved.
Project management is challenging. But being organized, proactive, and communicative makes it much easier. Remember, as a project manager your own overarching goal is to get the job done. And to make it seem easy. At the end of the day, you want your team to experience that everything is handled. No one wants to feel pressured or panicked. Avoid crisis by being on top of the job, and your team will thank you.
At Innovation Minds, our Hybrid Work Success Solution offers all the project management tools you need to get the job done at the highest level. Why be hard on yourself and the people around you? Contact us today to find out how we can help.
By Chandraleka Karanjith, Manager, PMO, Innovation Minds