Project management is a difficult task and the manager must fulfil several different roles. Most effective accomplishment of goals with concurrent minimisation of risk is something all project managers strive for. You have to be someone who will meet the project assumptions and requirements of its sponsor, at the same time guaranteeing good communication with the project participants and ensuring they perform the entrusted tasks reliably. We would like to devote the today’s post to 10 tips regarding effective management.
1. Clear definition of the project goal
To begin with, all employees must know and understand the goal of the project, including you. To communicate to your team what has to be done in an effective and reliable way, you need to know the expectations the sponsor has towards you and what effect the realised campaign is to bring. The important thing is that you make sure that all participants know the project goals and assumptions. This is the foundation of good cooperation. Remember, however, it is not only about everybody knowing what they have to do individually. The group must also know what the effect of your collective work is to be, what effects is your project to yield. Otherwise, everybody will focus only on their tasks and you can forget about cooperation.
2. Get the proper project management software
Good project management software is the basis in the contemporary management of complex projects. Starting anything without it is not even worth trying. Thanks to the software, you will not have to remember about everything yourself – all deadlines and other important information will be recorded there. Its advantages include also automation of some of the processes, allowing you to save the time there is always not enough of. There are many examples of project management software, including IC Project, featuring all crucial functionalities useful in project management. If you want to, you can also use foreign, well-developed project management software, such as MS Project or Jira.
3. Provide all participants with proper tools
Remember you are not the only one in need of necessary tools. It is extremely important that all project participants have everything necessary to implement you project. Try learning who will need what at the very beginning. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to know exactly what performance of the given task will require when starting it. Sometimes, the need for certain materials arises only when the task is already in progress. This is why it is crucial that such needs of the project participants are met on a current basis. Let everybody know at the very beginning that they should come to you if they need anything. Not everybody is open enough to willingly say what they need. Some need this form of encouragement.
4. Setting a realistic deadline
This issue seems simple and yet insufficient short project implementation times as assumed way too often. Instead of approaching the issue realistically and trying to set the time frame based on the reality, we keep trying to adapt the entire execution processes only and exclusively to a specific deadline. Unfortunately, this rarely ends well for the entire project. Studies carried out by KMPG show that setting a project execution time limit shorter than one year results in 60% of them failing.
Too short deadlines can cause inaccurate performance of duties by the particular participants as they are afraid of not making it on time with the tasks they were entrusted with. This, in turn, leads to mistakes affecting the whole. This is why you have to analyse thoroughly all actions needed in project execution and set a realistic deadline and not an ultra-optimistic schedule. The Gantt chart is definitely a great aid in planning the timeliness of the entire project. If you are looking for the right project management software, remember that the Gantt chart provides great added value.
5. Take care of team motivation
Only a motivated team can perform the tasks effectively. This is why it is important that every participant has comfortable work conditions ensured: from a good wage, through proper tools to work on the project, to a surrounding with a positive attitude. An example of a stimuli increasing the willingness to work may be allowing people to start work not at a fixed time or allowing to perform certain tasks in a remote mode. Satisfaction of employees has a great effect on the effectiveness of their work. An unsatisfied person working 10 hours a day may be less effective than if they worked 6 hours.
6. Prepare a plan for various situations
Some of the negative events that may occur during project implementation can be predicted. Therefore, it is important to prepare a contingency plan. Provide such instructions to all the participants. This will allow to mitigate the negative consequences of such situations and will facilitate and streamline controlling them. Even if you cannot predict the given event, plans prepared for other circumstances will help you deal with this crisis.
7. Take care of good team communication
At all stages of the project, it is important that the participants not only know their role but can communicate with one another freely. Deficient information exchange translates into cooperation failure. It is crucial for all participants to be able to contact you as the project manager to have everything explained. Do not wait idly for others to ask you questions. Ask your co-workers questions and encourage them to share their work progress, doubts and ideas. Quick sending of instructions and information can be supported by an internal messenger or notification system, ensuring an on-going flow of information in the company, without any delays. All this can be found, for example, in the tool – IC Project.
8. Plan the meetings and ensure reporting
All meetings that are not an effect of any sudden situations must be planned in advance. This allows to guarantee that all meeting participants are able to plan it in their calendar and the entire team can participate in them. It is also preferable to set specific deadlines for all tasks leading to project finalisation. No doubt, all project participants will have to submit reports on the performed work. It is recommendable to set the deadlines for such reports in advance and enter them in a calendar available in the project management software. Thanks to this, all participants will know when specific actions and reports are required from them and you will not have to remind them about it.
9. Supervise the project participants
Every project manager has to supervise the work of all its participants and if failure to perform the duties is found in relation to any of them – communicate it properly. Obviously, the criticism must be constructive. This why, before you reprimand somebody, you have to know what the purpose of the criticism is and prepare yourself to convey the message well. The criticised person has to receive the information without any place for guesses and unclear situations. They have to know that it is not criticism for the sake of criticism, but it aims at yielding a specific effect.
10. Minimise the number of meetings
Many meetings taking place during work on any project could be easily replaced with exchange of several meetings. Verizon Conferencing carried out studies showing that only 22% of meetings is considered extremely productive and 44% – very productive. Concurrently, the productivity of the meeting increases along with its duration – up to 80% of meetings lasting longer than 5 hours are considered productive. This means that reducing the number of meetings and, at the same time, extending their duration is worth it. This way, everybody can take more from them. Before the meeting, set the time it is supposed to last and prepare its agenda that will streamline its course.
We hope that these 10 tips regarding project management will help you act more efficiently and find your role more rewarding.