Project management isn’t for the faint of heart; it involves a lot of moving pieces, different personalities, and the ability to be flexible enough to change plans on a dime. In theory, the project management process should be pretty straightforward, but it doesn’t take much for plans to get completely derailed. That’s why it’s important to employ a skilled project manager who’s able to organize the various elements involved with your project so it can keep moving forward successfully.
It’s important to have a detailed plan put into place from the very beginning, but remember, that plan is likely to change several times over before the completion is on the horizon. This is why it’s vital to have strategies and tools in place to help you navigate the waters when they get a little muddy.
With this in mind, here are a few strategies that can help you ensure project management success on your next endeavor:
1. Finalize Project Details
Before you even begin to dive into getting the project going, you need to make sure you’ve laid a great foundation for the entire process. This means getting buy-in from all stakeholders and making sure everyone understands the expectations surrounding their various roles within the project’s plan.
Develop a blueprint in which you define your goals, then create measurable metrics by which you can determine successes or opportunities as your project gets underway. Be sure you factor in deliverable dates and budgetary constraints as you’re developing your timeline. As long as your initial plan has enough detail built into it, your team will be able to adapt when bottlenecks and obstacles arise down the road.
2. Set Clear Expectations
You have to be very clear to your team members regarding who’s responsible for which aspects of your project. Once you’ve set expectations, make sure everyone is on the same page and knows when their deliverables are due and how their individual contributions factor into the project as a whole. Remember that you not only need to be clear about expectations to your internal team, but you also need to convey this type of information to your stakeholders, as well.
A great project management software can help you set clear expectations and keep everyone clear on their roles within the project. As you evaluate options, look for a platform that offers a robust workflow engine with task assignment and task completion monitoring for performance accountability.
3. Choose the Right Team and Systems
Now that you have a plan in place and your expectations are clear, you can begin to assign tasks to your team of choice. As the project manager, it’s your role to put together a team that hosts a winning combination of skills, talent, and personalities that will marry together to produce optimal results for your project. The people you choose should have skills that align with your specific project requirements.
While you want enough people on the team to get the job done, you don’t want too many people; that can lead to confusion and frustration, which can ultimately bottleneck the project in unexpected ways. Again, this is why it’s important to have a great plan laid out before you begin assigning team members; when you know what skills you need each individual to have, you’ll have an easier time picking people to drop into those slots.
As your team gains traction, you’re going to need a communication system that facilitates the sharing of information and ideas easily. Email, although necessary in many ways, is often not the best form of communication on major projects; instead, use a software that’s designed to keep all of your project information in one place.
4. Define Milestones
Milestones are important parts of project lifecycles. They help you understand when things are going well, as well as when things are going off the rails a bit. Start by including four main phases in your plans: initiation, planning, execution, and closure. From there, you can evaluate progress after each phase to determine how your team is doing with regard to deliverables.
By keeping an eye on milestones, you’ll be better informed of any problems that might arise on your project, ensuring each phase is completed successfully.
5. Establish Clear Communication
Your project’s outlook can quickly plummet if you have a breakdown in communication. You need to create a communication plan that factors in who will have access to information and how often those team members need to check in. With this strategy, you’ll also plan when status meets will be held so you can keep your stakeholders apprised of the project’s progress. This means you should also create customized status reportsthat allow you easily translate the project’s details into facts and figures your leadership and investors will be particularly interested in.
6. Avoid Scope Creep
It’s imperative to keep your project on track and on the path that was initially planned from the very beginning. Sure, changes will always happen, but you need to know how much change can occur before your deadline and deliverables are affected. Scope creep tends to happen when there are additions to a project, which is not revised accordingly.
7. Let Crows Nest Help
Crows Nest platform offers you an end-to-end project management platform that facilitates the creation of project planning, communication, reporting, and more. If you’re ready to learn how we can help your projects achieve success, we’re ready to show you a demo today!