So you are taking your initial steps in your first in-house project? Congrats!! We all have a turning point when we have to make a decision. When it comes to following your passion on your own terms, there is a lot of planning involved if you want to make your project sky-rocket.
You may be a creative startup or a veteran entrepreneur with some inspirational ideas and aspirations. No matter what your expertise level is, you just have to commit to plans and build an understanding of basics to ensure project management success.
In this project management guide, we are going to discuss some of the universally applied principles which will be helpful to give all your skills the shot you want, despite professional and academic credentials you have. No matter what directions prefer in the world of startups, you should have proper knowledge and insights to project management rules and your passion.
No matter what your business is, you cannot achieve success by doing everything right unless you have well-planned project management. It is very vital for everyone in your organization to look after their existing tactics. You also have to upgrade and introduce new tactics when needed.
Importance of Project Management for Business Leaders
Project management is simply defined as the application of skills, knowledge, techniques, and tools to meet the needs related to the concerned project. It doesn’t mean you have to work harder; instead, you have to work smarter. It means delivering the best results in the first attempt while sticking to the deadline. You also have to stay in the budget limits and meet the expectations of your clients.
For example, a private organization is trying hard to build a sports hall in a school project. First of all, the project manager needs to prepare a complete proposal to submit to the investors. After getting required funds, a detailed action plan is needed they can discipline the team. Without proper principles in project management, it will take a very long time to complete the process. Even worse, it may break down in the middle. This way, a devoted team manager is needed to guide a disciplined team to ensure everything to go well.
For doing this, here are the most effective project management tips if you are getting started –
1. Be Empathetic
An ideal project manager is always empathetic and compassionate to his team. You must see yourself in the position of team members. It can help you make achievable goals and set practical milestones. This way, you can see the major driving factor behind the team, as well as their constraints. You should understand that motivation is not the only thing you need to come out as a better project manager. You should also consider their personal goals. So, you can relate your interest with them.
2. Deploy the right Project Management Tools
One of the best parts of project management in this age of technology is that you can easily implement some of the smart project management tools. Even better, some of them are free. No matter what OS your system is based in, there is always a project management tool for your platform.
Project Management Tools can be of benefit in many ways like:
- It helps you with project monitoring.
- It offers one platform for all your project documents hence easy management.
- It gives a clear deadline and roles of all your team members.
- There is limited scope creep because everyone is allocated individual tasks.
- It helps you stay on budget and offer timely completion of your projects.
- It offers you seamless communications and helps you stay within your budget.
- It offers risk mitigation and offers improved customer service.
However, all project managers cannot be the same. Here’s the catch. Some are meant to make large organizations scalable where some can only manage a small team of few people. The key here is to choose the best project management tool to match your goals, needs, and company. Use your research on the team. Find out what project management tool has been helpful to manage the projects?
Then, you can decide the right tool for the team. Choose the right cloud-based solution as it can be easily accessible by your employees.
3. Always Communicate with Team Members
Communication is very vital for project management success. You always have to keep in touch with every team member when it comes to up your project management game and makes it a success. You will want to stay up-to-date in every step of your project because anything can happen anytime. You never know what might happen. You might always want to be on the edge by being up-to-date always. You can always tackle if anything happens.
4. Have Clear Vision with Specific Tasks and Goals
Seeing the end goal with a clear milestone is one of the best qualities of a project manager. As a project manager, you always have to understand your final result and all the major steps you have to take to reach there. It is also the place to make a big difference with effective tools. You have to choose the tools to manage your goals better, set interval goals, ensure proper communication and achieve the end milestone. As a general rule, split your project into Goals, Milestones, Tasks, and Subtasks. You have to divide the work and ensure the scalability of the project.
5. Assign your members to manage their separate goals well
It is not possible to manage everything on your own, especially when a project is large. It affects your productivity. So, it is better to assign your team members with their own goals separately. Micromanaging kills your time and you may look like a dominating boss to your team. So, it is better to look at the bigger picture. Take your time for more important things. Let your team keep track of their personal resources. Have faith in their own abilities and it makes them confident to work well.
6. Ensure Better Time Management
You can manage your work, not the time. So, it is better to assign your team with specific works and see the change with efficient project management. As a project manager, you should figure out your time. Consider what tasks are not important and what are urgent. You need to know these things for better project management. You have to delegate your tasks which are easily manageable by others.
7. Have a Plan B
You definitely need to have a Plan B, if something wrong happens or there is any change in the plan. It is very vital to delivering value to your client. Even if there are a few changes needed, you should know how to do this. You can make the process easier and faster if you have something behind.
8. Learning is the Process, not an achievement
You can see things changing rapidly in this world. You have to stick with it as a project manager. You can see a new effective method coming your way every now and then. Today’s motto is getting the maximum results with the least efforts. Hence, you should never stop learning if you want to keep achieving. Learn how to manage your team better regularly, along with working hard to do that. Learn to employ better and modern project management approaches and tools for the team.
9. Hold Meetings Regularly
Be sure to hold meetings that are good for everyone who is engaged in this process. Regular communication is very vital to stick with everyone in the same place and approval and feedback from all can help in achieving the final outcome. Schedule your meetings on specific milestones in every project so you can keep things going in its own pace when needed.
10. Keep things organized and be detailed
It is always needed for a project manager to be as organized as detailed as you can. You are the one who can keep the project going and assure your clients and team that it is well planned and documented. Everyone involved in the project should be helped by providing everything with what is required.
11. Be Honest and Practical
You need to ensure transparency and practicality in the planning and delivery process. You should never lie just to decorate your work and to impress the client. You should be honest if you want someone else to be.
When it comes to making estimates and setting deadlines, you need to be practical. If a client gives only 3 weeks for a project which takes 6 weeks, don’t agree. Explain what they can get if you take an extra three weeks. Explain what they will get – a well-planned project or a carelessly-done project which was finished in a hurry. They would love to hire you.
12. Delegate Tasks
Be sure to choose the right project for the right people. Suppose you have a website project to work on, it is wise to assign the web developer or designer for that part. Don’t just assume you can handle everything. Trust is the major factor. Have faith on your team and assign duties to the right people.
13. Note down each important thing you come across
You might be juggling a whole lot of things and gathering new information being a project manager. Keep track of everything on a note. You cannot remember each and every detail, and it will also not work. Use a digital space or notebook to keep notes. In case you miss any detail, you will, at least, have a reference to look back.
14. Set your Priorities and Goals and Re-evaluate them properly
Managing and planning are not easy if you don’t have goals and priorities on your back. Set your project checkpoints and smart goals to have an idea on what you are working for. Later on, you can keep track of the progress and execute the process. This way, things become easier to manage a project.
15. Mitigate Risks
Risk is common in each project. Sometimes, you cannot complete the task due to any reason. There are expenses that sometimes go out of the budget and technical skills of your team don’t match the assigned tasks. So, you should understand the potential risks when it comes to planning out a new project. In case anything wrong happens, plan your way to manage the highest risks.
16. Motivate everyone
Don’t start preparing your motivational speeches. There are several other ways to motivate your team as a project manager. Encourage your employees to adjust and track when needed, send positive emails, an appreciate everyone for best results. Become an idol for your team as a motivator. Do your task on time, if you want them to do the same. Be the first to complete your task with commitment, if you want your team to be committed.
17. Know Your Personal Strengths and Weaknesses
It is both about the leader and the project. Can you manage the project well? Can you inspire your team? Can you host meetings for productivity? Can you approach the right clients? Determine your skills so you can improve them well as a manager. Note down what your weaknesses and strengths are? Be honest in this case. How can you improve your weaknesses? Do you need more training or online course? Changing your mindset is very vital.
18. Consider every change
We have seen many project managers who often ignore this important aspect. Even after planning everything properly, they overlook the importance of change along the process in a business environment. Stakeholders can be very demanding and change their minds related to projects. Sometimes, you need to extend your deadline and overall budget.
Initially, you have to plan ahead and be flexible enough to make any change. You can adjust the process and reallocate your resources well to manage changes to ensure the best results without having to extend anything.
19. Organize Everything
When it comes to keeping track of the weekly report, where you can find the same? Where you can find a specific document? Be sure to keep everything organized and announce everyone about your system. If someone borrows any file from you, be sure to ask them to put it at the same place where they got it. When it comes to managing things digitally, there are several file sharing tools like Google Drive and Dropbox that may help. Be sure to organize your files properly and store each document at a defined folder.
20. Make a Single Database for complete Project-related knowledge
Have a single dedicated database to maintain all the knowledge resources related to the project to make the most of the skills of everyone in your company. Hence, you can share recommendations and reports easily to anyone from the last projects. Find out if your team is having the same problem as in the past if there is any hurdle midway. You can learn a lot from your past projects. The last solutions can either be effective or not. All in all, you have to know the action steps if they are analyzed well.
If you are planning to become a project manager or you are the one already, it is always vital to plan ahead for your team. The world is changing day by day. So, there is a new tool introduced every day for project management. Since all the tools are not suitable for all types of projects, you have to figure out what goes well with your business. You have to stay ahead with changes and know what you want to achieve. This way, you can ensure a good result for the project and meet your needs.