6 Tips for Keeping Your Project on Track
Project management is a difficult job, yet is a desired and well-rewarded skill to have. It shows leadership, organization, and an understanding of the industry. However, it takes time to become a seasoned expert project manager, something that we don’t always have on hand. No worries though, because there are a few tips that anyone can use if they want to manage a project well, whether in the workplace, at an organization, or even your own personal life.
- Assemble a Good Team
If your project is big enough, chances are that you are going to have some help, maybe even a dedicated team to execute it. Though not always an option, do what you can to assemble a team of people that you know, trust, and have worked with in the past. If that’s outside your control, then spend some time with each person, taking note of their strengths and weaknesses. This will help you decide on which tasks to allocate to whom, in order for it to be done well and on time. Being able to openly communicate with this team is important, so nurture these relationships and encourage interaction and honest conversation.
- Use Professional Software
Thankfully in the last few years, project managers can meet targets and milestones faster by using an effective project management software. There are tons of functions that allow you to have an accurate plan that reflects the real-life status of things. It reacts to tasks being done, something being pushed back, or even sends alarms or notifications if there’s an issue or something needs to be done. Using the right software means that nothing gets stuck in the cracks and everything moves forward smoothly and efficiently.
- Build in Time Buffers
There’s always “something”. Whether it’s an ice storm that paralyzes all your suppliers, or a bad strain of the flu that wipes out half of your team in the same week, you have to realize that there will be set backs. That’s why in the planning phase of the project, it’s extremely important to build in some time and budget buffers. Remember to take into account the work culture of the people that you are working with. If you know that most of your roofers go hunting in the fall, don’t think that they’ll be able to complete the task as quickly as if they were all on-site. That said, if there’s ever a chance to get ahead of schedule, capitalize on it. That way you grow this buffer in case you need it, and if not, it’s always nice to be done early.
- Make Notes in One Place
It’s common for project managers to be constantly getting calls and emails with details, changes, appointments, and more. Instead of noting these things just anywhere, decide on a specific storage space for this type of information. It might be a note book, a phone app, or a document on your computer, but knowing that all these “scraps” of information are in one place is comforting. It’s also a place that you can go back to and reference for upcoming decisions and more.
- Meet regularly to track progress and discuss issues
Regular meetings with your team is crucial. It’s a good time to discuss any issues, hardships, wins, or ideas that need to be resolved, consulted about, or incorporated into the project plan. It holds everyone accountable to their roles and is an open forum in which you can see how the big-picture plan is coming together. To make sure that these are as effective as possible, have someone take minutes during the meeting and write out any specific actions that will result, along with who they are assigned to. After the meeting, make these actions official by putting them into your project planning software.
- Keep Up Your Professional Relationships
If you were performing two jobs simultaneously for different parties, and due to some mishap, you’ll only be able to deliver one on time, how do you choose which one it is? More often than not, the client that has a longer and better quality relationship with them will be the one that gets the result on time. This illustrates how important it is to have a good working relationship with all of your contractors. If they know that you respect and value them, they will do everything they can do perform their job as well as possible and on time, even if it means letting someone else down.
These 6 tips to successful project management will help you surprise your bosses, command the respect of the staff under you, as well as help you feel more calm and adept at your job. Congratulations, we’re sure you’ll be great!