Project managers must overcome a large array of challenges in order keep their projects on track and within budget. They have many factors to consider, including external and internal aspects that may cause a project to fail. However, by taking the proper steps and having a solid plan, you can ensure that your team stays afloat during the roughest of times. Here are 10 project management tips that will help your project move along smoothly.
1. Get Involved Early On
Senior management usually sets expectations for IT projects, however, they do not always consider the efforts that it will take for the team to successfully deliver them. Therefore, project managers must take the appropriate time to work with management early on in the project in order to define critical measureable objectives that the whole team can agree with. This allows the project manager to come back to the objectives at any time during the development process, and ask management if arising issues will affect his or her ability to deliver successfully on the objectives.
If the specific project allows, be part of the sales process so that you know what is expected and discussed from the start. The more project managers know about the goals of a project, the better her or she can deliver success.
2. Manage Project Risks
Risks can arise at anytime during a project. Use your experience as a project manager with similar projects to guide your team, and help them foresee when risk is imminent and when they need to take immediate action. Have open communication within your team when it comes to risk. This way, your team will understand that if any risks are approaching they should bring them to your attention instead of staying quiet. Identify and control project risks before they begin to control your project. Remember, a risk is only a potential problem, so make sure you are ready to take care of it before it becomes an actual situation. In project management, risk management is an essential aspect that is often overlooked.
3. Don’t be Afraid to Command and Take Charge
Project managers should not need burrowed power to get help from other departments. In other words, they are expected to know how get the job done. They are strong and optimistic leaders who everyone in the organization values and relies on. Command authority and take charge in a natural manner.
4. Involve your IT Stakeholders
If you have a project that is centred on IT, then bring all your IT personnel in a room and make sure everyone has a solid input on the expectations and timelines. This ensures that the individuals installing a new server or laying the code are 100% aware of what the project is about, and that you have a strong buy-in from them.
5. Ask Questions and Listen to your Stakeholders
A good project manager does not just go through the motions. He or she understands the importance of communication and truly cares about the opinions of all the parties involved. They are also self-aware of how their words are received by stakeholders. Ask your stakeholders plenty of questions, and practice active listening.
6. Pay Attention to Project Details
Before starting the project, ensure that it has a solid foundation and that all stakeholders are on the same page. Take the time to understand the specific expectations and interests of each person, and be aware of what success means to everyone involved. To do this, make sure that the project scope is detailed, and that it includes the responsibilities and roles of the project team members. Establish tractable and measureable criteria for success. Project managers need to pay close attention to the little details that will lay the foundations for the success of their projects.
7. Be Excited About Going to Work
Project managers face many challenges at work, but that is part of the magic. To be great, you need to view your role as a career and not just a tiresome job. Always seek additional training and education. Invest in your skills, and be excited about getting up for work every morning.
8. Be the Realistic One
It is up to the project manager to set up realistic completion dates and accurate forecasting early on in the project. Keeping projects on schedules and meeting deadlines requires a great deal of commitment from all of the parties involved. This means that everyone should always be involved in the project, and it is up to you to constantly set target completion dates and expectations. Keep the project realistic, and ensure buy-in from all departments.
9. Set up Reminders for Milestones
In order to keep everyone on track, set up some type of calendar with automatic notifications, which alerts teams about steps and upcoming due dates. This helps keep everyone’s mind in the right place and at the right stage.
10. Always Evaluate the Project
Project managers never stop learning. Each project is a valuable learning module. After finishing a project, review and analyse its components. Where did you succeed? Where did you fail? Come up with informed conclusions about the end product’s performance and quality. Use the lessons you learn in each project to maximize future success and reduce future failure.