Aspiring project managers receive many tips on how to become good at project management. They study them and want to try them out, but forget them after a few weeks. As a learner, it’s easy to get distracted by major project management principles and forego little things that bring out the best in a project manager.
Small mistakes can keep haunting you throughout the project, and some even lead to project failure. However, by following essential best practices you can avoid making big mistakes and meet project goals successfully.
In this article, we will list down 8 project management best practices that people often forgot, but are important for project managers across several industries.
Determine Project Goals
Projects come in various forms, with overarching deliverables. Some project managers may have to deliver a mobile application, while others might need to manage a brand marketing campaign. Regardless of what kind of project you get, you need to break down the project in different phases, with each phase having its respective goals.
It is important to address these issues early because they dictate the project scope, project plan, and the entire workflow of the project. For instance, if your target were to build a website from scratch, then you would have to break down the entire project in several phases.
These steps may include project kickoff, developing the content strategy, designing wireframes, finalizing design through various iterations, developing the design, submitting content input, testing, and then launching the website.
Breaking the project down is critical to website development and would act as milestones during the entirety of the project. Not only does it help you complete objectives in the correct order, but also makes it easier to implement specifications within the given time.
Use a Detailed Work Definition Document
A common issue with project managers is that they don’t clarify job roles effectively in the beginning. Creating a detailed work document minimizes uncertainty and confusion amongst your team.
It clearly defines and documents the level of work and responsibility expected from individuals and teams. Unless everyone has a clear understanding of how much effort they must put in, the performance of your team will never be up to the mark. Making a work definition document will create a sense of accountability within your team and get validation from all stakeholders.
Create a Detailed Work Plan
Creating a detailed work plan is essential for formalizing your hitting milestones under deadlines. If you don’t have a detailed work plan, you don’t have a proof for various stages of your project.
Work plans help you measure whatever progress your team makes. At the same time, it allows you to measure different elements that tell you how your team is performing.
Make Most of Every Meeting with Stakeholders
You need to make a list of all face-to-face meetings with stakeholders you may have in the current year. The majority of project stakeholders are extremely busy people and it can be hard to have proper meetings with them routinely. This is why it is important to prioritize all meetings with stakeholders and make most of every single one.
At the same time, you should designate special days for routine tasks such as reporting deadlines. If you don’t give allocate small tasks proper time and attention, they can quickly pile up and make your communication a lot harder.
Clarify What Is Not Part of the Project Scope
Aside from establishing project goals, determining what is not the part of the project is equally important, if not more. Amidst project planning, it is easy for team members to misinterpret your instructions and consider additional objectives as part of the project.
In some cases, project managers themselves make this mistake when they don’t understand project requirements clearly. Therefore, it is extremely necessary to eliminate doubt in your objectives and clarify which things are beyond the project scope.
Every project has some kind of deadline, and even if it doesn’t, you should establish your deadlines to complete the project in an orderly manner. Having a concrete deadline helps everyone stay focused including your team, the client, and you, yourself. Furthermore, it makes it easier to balance all opportunity costs and allocate resources to specific objectives.
This is why whenever you are starting a project, it is important to as your stakeholders about the deadlines associated with the project. You may either have a fixed deadline due to certain constraints or a fluid deadline, like wanting to complete the project in the last quarter of the year.
Regardless, as a project manager, you have to plan according to the given deadline. Planning backward from earlier than the given deadline is a good idea, as it gives you additional time to cope with any unexpected changes.
Maintain Project Visibility
It is easy for project teams to fall out of sync and become disorganized. Therefore, you should always focus on maintaining project visibility at all times.
The lack of visibility creates unwarranted delays in projects and diminish the quality of the project. To save your team from such problems, you can utilize project management software and create a central and fully accessible dashboard for your project.
At the same time, you can utilize shared spaces that everyone can access. By notifying members with recent updates, you can improve communication and visibility while enhancing collaboration between them.
Whenever you start a project, go through this list to make sure you’re not neglecting small details that contribute to project success. By following these 8 best practices, you can ensure to develop invaluable project management experience and continue to strive for project success.
While there are many ways to hone your project management skills, online project management training is perhaps one of the best ways to get started.
Project Vanguard provides high-quality project management online courses to help understand the building blocks of project management. It’s difficult to fill a project manager’s role, but with the right guidance and training, you can boost your management skills and apply project management techniques to expand your business’s growth.