From the outside, project management looks very simple: You set a deadline. You define a budget. You select the right people. The project is completed. In reality, project management is rarely straightforward: You realize that you have assigned the wrong people to the project. Your collaborators do not know what is expected of them or receive contradictory information. Deadlines are not met. In other words: Things do not always go according to plan.
Under these conditions, we can therefore ask ourselves: “What can companies and project managers do to increase their chances of completing projects on time and within budget? »
We have selected 8 secrets for successful project management:
Make sure you have all the details of the project before you start.
Creating a fully detailed project scope approved by all stakeholders is a necessity. The scope should include intermediate milestones, delivery dates, and a budget spreadsheet representing the time allotted. The more detail in the project’s initial writing, the better you and your client will interact throughout its execution. If change requests occur during the project, this will allow you to manage the client immediately when something is out of scope.
Have the right project management team (and the right size).
For a successful project, you must have the right project team, including people whose skills and experience can benefit from its completion. This also helps to limit the number of people involved.
Amazon.com uses the “pizza team” methodology based on the idea that a team should have no more than 6 to 10 people. In reality, a manager can only manage a limited number of employees without losing sight of the project’s vision, the details of the work to be done, and the personalities and requirements of his company and staff. So to maximize efficiency, limit the size of your project management teams. And involve people whose skills match its needs.
Define expectations and milestones at the outset.
Set milestones regularly (taking into account the risk factor) and frequently check to ensure your project is always on track. If you only set longer-term milestones or at the end of a significant milestone, you will not realize that a project is in trouble until it is too late. We recommend that you plan several project milestones to ensure that the money invested in your project is used effectively and that the objectives are met.
When the entire team has a clear understanding of the project’s scope from the outset, you eliminate ambiguities that can derail a project. An excellent way to do this is to hold a kick-off meeting that everyone involved attends. Kick-off meetings help define expectations by discussing the project in detail, creating a viable roadmap, and assigning roles and responsibilities.
Be clear about deadlines and everyone’s responsibility.
When several people collaborate on the same task, assignments, deadlines, and other important details are often lost along the way. To avoid confusion, determine what tasks and which team members are assigned and then impose responsibility in advance. An online, collaborative project management tool like [Perspectives] can help you do this easily.
Each member of your team must understand what is expected of him or her. This includes the full scope of the project and a precise schedule of tasks to be completed. Because every project is different, all key players will have a solid understanding of how their efforts contribute to the project as a whole. Project milestones and benchmarks are perfect for managing these expectations and keeping teams on track.
Make sure you have a sound project management system in place that everyone can use easily.
The unavoidable email seems to be the most obvious form of communication when managing a project, but it can hinder its progress. Going through the long list of emails to find previous correspondence is a huge waste of time. Using software such as [Perspectives], which keeps all project information and communications in one place, saves time, and maintains a productive workspace.
It is useful to set milestones when planning projects. To ensure that projects stay on track, give team members recognition each time a milestone is reached. Celebrating milestones can be a great way to track progress while keeping team members motivated.
Hold regular meetings or calls on the status of the project, but keep them brief.
Regular communication with all team members and the client is the best way to ensure that a project is on the right track. This is especially important in a virtual environment, where you don’t have the luxury of going to a colleague’s Office to check a task’s status. Scheduling regular phone calls or meetings ensures open and transparent communication for all parties involved.
To prevent participants from losing interest, keep meetings short and enjoyable by limiting yourself to 90 seconds of conversation per person. This encourages team members to focus on the most relevant details of the week.
Allow time for changes.
To avoid problems and save time, allow extra time for specific changes and additional requests!
Would you like to know how our collaborative project management tool can help you succeed in all your projects? Contact us!