Running a project isn’t easy. Project managers often have to deal with serious problems that can derail the project. For example, project managers have to make sure that work is completed according to schedule, different interlinked activities are completed on time and resources are available when the need arises. They also have to keep the teams motivated and deliver the project within set budgets.
Every project is unique and brings its own set of problems. There is no single fix for every type of challenge that you will face during a project. However, there are some powerful tips that are universally useful for every project. Using these methods will help you deliver successful projects every time.
1. Understand the Project Completely
One of the most important requirements for a project is that you should have a thorough understanding of what needs to be done and the resources you have at your disposal. You should also know how everything should be organized to achieve the project objectives.
You can enhance your knowledge of the project by talking to the stakeholders. These include the clients/financiers, team members, functional managers, and any stakeholders that can affect your project and its deliverables.
Once you have this knowledge, use it to build a plan of action for different project milestones. The project timeline plan will offer clarity of purpose and make it easier for you to keep track of progress.
2. Know the Project Requirements
One major issue with projects is that the management and the client are on different wavelengths about what needs to be achieved. The project manager works really hard and delivers the project according to their perception about the objectives and it gets rejected by clients completely because they have different expectations.
We have seen this happen so many times that it has become really embarrassing for project managers.
When you take on a project, be very clear about the requirements about final deliverables. Communicate with the client – or management, if it is an internal project – repeatedly to understand what is expected. Make sure to keep them in the loop at every stage of the project till completion to ensure that there are no surprises at the end for any stakeholders.
3. Identify Important Milestones
A project is not a simple, single-stage endeavor. It is made up of many interconnected phases. The completion of the first phase leads to the second one, the completion of the second phase leads to the third, and so on.
Breaking down the project into multiple phases makes it easier for the project manager to keep it on track and the resource in check. It makes the project more organized as each phase can be reviewed at completion to identify gaps in actual delivery and planned targets.
The project manager will need to identify important milestones which set the basis for breaking it down into different parts. Each phase can be further classified into initiation, execution, and closure components. They can set up evaluation tests after every phase, making it easier to manage the risks for the whole project.
4. Communicate Regularly
Successful projects are not completed in isolation. The manager will need to communicate with different stakeholders such as the client, suppliers, and team members to let them know about the progress, delegate authority or issue orders.
The best thing that project managers can do for the success of their work is to ensure that communication lines are always open between them and the stakeholders.
A breakdown in communication often leads to wasted resources or delays that ultimately lead to project failures. The project manager is chiefly responsible for ensuring a smooth information flow among the project teams. They need to be well informed about what is going on to make the best decisions for the project.
5. Use Team Members’ Strengths and Weaknesses
A project’s success is highly dependent on making the best use of the strengths of each project member. A good manager makes sure that they know the strengths and weaknesses of each member and only give them tasks that bring out the best in them.
For example, a person might be very good at making calculations and analyzing facts but they may not be very good at negotiations and social interactions. These people can be an asset when used in the planning stage but terrible to use for negotiating with suppliers.
Another person might be very good at leading teams or resolving conflicts but bad at keeping track of inventory. They can be great as a second-in-command but should not be used for managing project inventories.
A project manager is capable of recognizing the strengths and weaknesses in each team member and assigns the most capable person to each individual task.
6. Manage Project Risks
Projects are beset with a number of internal and external risks. Environmental challenges and potential threats can creep up at any time and make it difficult to complete the project according to requirements.
Managers must identify potential risks and take steps to remedy them for successful project completion. This requires a level of foresight and the ability to read the environment and people assigned to the project.
You can gain project management experience to understand imminent and distant risks on a project. This will allow you to set up contingency plans that help keep the project on track if something goes wrong.
One of the key skills that project managers require is the ability to prioritize tasks on the basis of potential threats and risks. The risks that are more probable are given a higher priority and the ones that are unlikely to occur are given low priority.
7. Project Completion Evaluation
A project doesn’t need to conclude at the end of its lifetime. It can be used as a learning tool to build knowledge that can be applied to future projects.
The project manager must have the ability to look at past projects and analyze them to determine what could have been improved and how tasks could have been performed better.
Evaluation of completed projects is the key to improving project planning, management, and execution in the future.
These are our seven tips for project management success that are sure to help you improve your project deliverables. For more tips please subscribe to [>>subscription] or get in touch with us at [>>contact details].