Project management is evolving and expanding to many different types of job sites, factories and businesses, so many managers and business owners are using new tools to keep teams more efficient at their jobs. If you’re a small business owner or contractor, then it’s even more crucial that you can manage your work in a way that allows you to get it done quickly and effectively.
Whether you’ve been in the field for a while or are working on your first contract, managing projects can be an overwhelming task. This is especially true if you don’t have a good system in place to help you stay organized and on track during your day. Finding a system that works for you will make a world of difference in your confidence while doing your job, as well. After all, the more you feel like you’re able to complete your project to your budget, the more assured you are.
A popular method called the “5 Stages of Project Management” is used by many organizations to help guide the project management process. Professionals recommend implementing the main five steps every time you are assigned to a new project, which can be altered to best suit your needs. The five steps are:
- Initiate. In the first step, you want to establish all the basic details about your project like the name, important people that need to be involved, what (if any) materials you need, the costs and fees associated and the basic definition of what the project will entail. You must make sure that everyone on your team understands these foundational details about the project because, if not, you run the risk of having complications from the very beginning.
- Plan. The second phase is where the real collaboration should begin. Team members should be communicating with each other about the more specific details of the project and determine the exact steps needed to complete it. It’s a good idea to establish your short and long-term goals at this stage, along with tasks that each team member should be completing. Plan out the cost estimates, the amount of time employees should be working, the labor and material costs, inventory and schedule. Set deadlines and clear expectations for each task so that there is little room for confusion when each member of the team is working independently.
- Execute. During the execution of the project, everyone should be working diligently on the tasks assigned during the planning phase, while staying within the financial budget and timeline. Creating a monthly, weekly, or daily reporting system will help you to keep track of everyone’s progress and to see if the goals and deadlines are being met. As changes often occur on job sites, this organization will also help you pivot team members when the needs arise.
- Control. The control phase runs in conjunction with other phases, especially when team members are completing the project. However, the main focus here is to make sure that any problems are being acknowledged and resolved promptly. Communication plays a large role in this phase, as it’s important to keep everyone on the team abreast of any issues that may arise. At the beginning of planning the project, you should have identified any potential problems — physical, financial or time-based — and hashed out an outline on how to solve them, as well. Think of this phase as crisis management within your project management. You and your team might alternate between phase three and phase four several times before getting to phase five.
- Close. Finally, when you’ve reached the end of the project, you can begin to reflect on all the work you’ve done so far. Creating deliverables to give to your stakeholder that sums up the project results is a great way to keep them engaged after the project is completed. Here you can show the cost estimates and actual expenditure, the various labor and materials purchased, proof of work orders and inventory and finally where you were with the estimated timeline. This is also a great time to get feedback from your team of employees. Having team members speak up about how they thought the project went is also important because not only does it allow them to participate in the evaluation discussion, but it also helps you learn what to do better for future projects.
These five phases can help you become more effective and efficient while implementing a project management system. Having a standardized method to base your project timeline on will keep you on track with each of these five stages and ensure that your project gets finished on time and on budget. There are hundreds of different types of management systems that you can purchase. However, finding one that is versatile and adaptive enough for the variety of projects in your field can be a challenge. Crow’s Nest Software, for example, offers a range of services that includes anything you could possibly need to make sure that your team is as effective as possible. Outstanding customer service is also a part of the package, meaning that you will be supported throughout your journey setting up and utilizing the software.
For more details on the exact software and products that Crow’s Nest offers, visit our website here.