7 steps for successful project management
Project management isn’t always easy, but with good planning and clear communication you can deliver a successful project that achieves its goals.
Good project management is critical to the success of many businesses – but the role of project manager is not always a straightforward one. With so many elements to manage, it can be all too easy to take your eye off the ball, often to the detriment of the project outcome.
However, by following some key practical steps, you can deliver successful projects that are on brief, on time and on budget.
Understand the brief
Before you embark on a project, you need to understand exactly what is required of you; the objectives and scope of the project, KPIs and key milestones, and the budget and resources needed to successfully complete the project. This information should all be set down in a detailed project brief developed in partnership with the client, and it will help you to plan more effectively and reduce the risk of any unwelcome surprises, which could derail or delay the project.
Create a detailed plan
With the brief in place, it’s time to get planning – and don’t be tempted to rush through this phase, as poorly planned projects almost always end in failure. Make the time to sit down with your project team and work out a detailed project plan that covers all bases. However, while your plan should be detailed and comprehensive, you also need to ensure that there is enough flexibility built in to allow you to respond effectively to any changing circumstances.
Choose the right team
Behind any successful project lies a great project team, so make sure you get yours right. Put some careful consideration into the composition of your project team and try to choose a mix of people who have the skills and abilities that the project requires. And don’t forget the old adage that good things come in little packages – smaller project teams (those with fewer than ten people) tend to operate more efficiently and get better results, so try to keep your team to a manageable size.
Maintain clear communication
Effective project management relies on good communication, so it’s essential to maintain clear lines of communication with clients, stakeholders and the project team throughout the duration of the project. Schedule in regular meetings where you can discuss the project status, assess progress against key objectives, and identify any potential issues at an early stage. Keep the meetings concise and focused and avoid getting bogged down in too much irrelevant detail.
There is a wealth of technological solutions out there that can help you work easily and more efficiently – from resource manager tools to video conferencing software – so be sure to use them to your advantage. By utilising tools that save you time or automate key processes, you can lift some of the weight from your shoulders, freeing yourself up to concentrate on more project-critical tasks.
Stay calm under pressure
Project management can often be a high-pressured and stressful environment, and even in the best-planned project, things can and do frequently go wrong. However, it’s important not to lose your head. A good project manager should be able to take challenges in their stride, keeping a cool head to find creative solutions to problems and guide the team to a successful outcome.
Be responsive to change
As we’ve already mentioned, project management can often be unpredictable and, in today’s dynamic business environment, some traditional project management methodologies can seem inflexible and outdated. To cope with a quickly changing landscape, both you and your team need to flexible and agile enough to adapt your workplan and priorities and deliver a great result for your client.
Project management may not always be easy, but with thorough planning, good communication, and the right team behind you, you can run successful projects that deliver on their objectives.