Project Management

Manage projects more effectively and ensure a successful outcome with these tips.

Successful Project Management

Project management can be challenging. Successful project management requires leaders to keep projects on track, to stay within budget, and to keep team members working well together. Projects can be derailed by any number of factors – and unsatisfactory results negatively impact everyone.

However, by following a solid framework and keeping a few tips in mind, you can lead your projects to success. We’ve rounded up ten of the most important tips for successful project management.

If you’re ready to transform your project management skills sign up to join us at our upcoming two-day Successful Project Management training.

1. Know all of the project details

The first thing that needs to be done is to lay a strong foundation for each project. In order to do this you’ll need to identify the clients and the stakeholders involved. You’ll also need to understand their interests and expectations regarding the project. Once you have this you can develop a solid project plan with roles and responsibilities are clearly defined.

It’s important to define the goals and the objectives early on. You can set measurable success criteria that will showcase if the project is on track or not.

2. Identify project and team requirements

Once you have a strong plan in place, you can start putting together a project team.

As a project manager, you’ll need to align the team’s skills, talents and personalities with the appropriate project needs. Make sure that each individual working on the project is clear about their task and what they are providing upon completion.

3. Determine the project leader

A key role in project management is the project leader.

This individual will need to foster positive team dynamics and act as a coach and/or mentor to all team members. This person will also take the lead on getting input from the project team and major stakeholders, as well as getting their buy-in.

The project leader is essentially the captain of the ship. They will need to inspire the team during turbulent times. An ineffective project manager may not be able to prevail over the challenges facing your project.

4. Define project milestones

It’s important to identify the defining moments throughout the project. This typically includes phases such as initiation, planning, execution and closure. You can perform an evaluation test after every phase. Be sure to examine every deliverable.

Checking in at these milestones will not only help you to eliminate project risk and monitor project change, but will also alert you to any problems and help you ensure that each phase is completed correctly.

5. Keep the lines of communication open

One of the most important steps in project management is to ensure that the lines of communication remain open. Develop a communication plan and stick with it. Communication should be consistent, open, honest and clear throughout the entire project.

Stay in touch with all key stakeholders and team members during the project process. Ensure that everyone has the information necessary to make decisions and proceed with the project. You can also create status reports and updates to keep everyone on the same page.

6. Use a project management tool

Technology has transformed the way teams manage projects. From files to feedback — project management software acts as a centralized platform for everything and everyone in the team.

Choose the tools that will be best for your team. Many are free or low-cost, helping teams streamline their workflow without derailing budgets.

7. Manage project risks

There can be a risk at any time during a project. Maintaining open communication can help you understand what, if any, risks are approaching and manage them before they get out of hand.

You will need to identify and control project risks before they control you. Since a risk is only a potential problem, you want to take care of it before it becomes an actual problem. As one of the most imperative best practices in the project management process, risk management is essential to project success.

8. Avoid scope creep

Managing scope creep is another important part of any project’s success. Although some change is inevitable in any project, you don’t want the project to creep into chaos.

Scope creep usually happens when new elements are added to a project that’s already been approved, but there’s been no talk of increasing the budget, adding more time to the schedule, or adding more resources to compensate for the revised project.

If the project’s scope does need to be revisited, you should participate in a rescoping process. Be sure to have the proper documentation and have all stakeholders sign off on these changes before proceeding.

9. Test deliverables

Deliverables should be tested at every critical milestone to ensure project success. Doing this gives you a fair idea whether the project is what it was planned to be.

Testing deliverables is critical to determining whether a project is meeting (or exceeding) expectations. If any fallacies are encountered, you can take measures to bring it back on track.

10. Evaluate the project

Each project is a learning tool. An effective manager will always review the project as a whole in addition to the various project components. This allows you to make note of what went well, what went wrong, and what can be improved for future projects.

Learn more

You can improve your own project management skills with MDI’s Successful Project Management course. The expert-led course will equip you with the skills needed to lead teams and projects to success.

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