Let’s face it, managing a project can be difficult task for many. When it comes to leading your team in the right direction, that task is more easily said than done. However, in our experience, successful projects tend to share a few common traits that speak to communication, attitude, and attention to detail.
In order to make your project successful, it’s important to keep these five project management tips in mind.
1) Proactively Communicate Your Project Plan
A team will only be successful if there is regular communication throughout the project. But more often than not, how we communicate throughout the project has a direct impact on the quality of work delivered. It’s easy to become so hyper focused on the end goal that we forget the importance of the communication that happens in between. Your project plan is the first step towards developing your communication plan. Once established, every person on the project should understand its goals, milestones, dates of key deliverables, and the projected end date. For the day-to-day, look at all of the channels wherein communication can happen: phone, in-person, email, chat, Slack, Google Docs, Trello, etc… and determine what is the most effective option for what you’re trying to achieve.
2) Prepare Yourself to be Flexible
As a project progresses, new ideas may be suggested by either the internal team or client. This is a by-product of collaboration and quality work. Be flexible and listen to these ideas and have an open conversation, while keeping client goals top of mind. Also, be transparent about how these ideas may impact project scope, timelines, or resources. Having this information will provide structure to the team and allow for informed decisions as to whether a change in course is worth considering, if an idea will require a change to project scope or timeline, or if the idea should be tabled to a later phase or launched as a separate project in the future.
3) Document. Literally. Everything.
Initial project requirements, project assumptions and risks, internal and client meeting minutes, etc. If you aren’t the one doing the documentation, ensure the party tasked with doing this is aware of what is expected and how this information will be delivered. These efforts will guide the team throughout the project and keep everyone aligned on expectations and project deliverables.
4) Be Transparent and Solutions-Oriented
Even with strong communication and project documentation, things inevitably will happen. A task can take longer to complete than expected or a primary participant is out of the office or is pulled away to focus elsewhere. It is key to be proactive with internal teams and clients when this happens. If a deadline is likely to be missed, let the client know and discuss what can be done to mitigate any timeline risks. If a mistake is made, be honest and instead of assigning blame, look for ways to correct and move forward.
5) Standardize Your Team’s Processes
As the project progresses, take the effort to learn team members’ preferred meeting and communication styles. Once you develop a process that works well for you and the team, standardize and repeat that process so that the team has clear expectations of when, how, and what information they are receiving, as well as what is expected of them. Ideally, these processes should be transferable from project to project to create standardized processes across the organization.
At envisionit, we continually evaluate our project management processes across all agency engagements and are always refining based on our learnings. While every project has its nuances, mastering these basic pillars of project management will not only prevent headaches down the road, but more importantly, make easier to create repeatable processes that truly deliver…time and time again.