Top Project Management Recommendations Many people begin their careers as project managers. However, in many cases, it takes time to earn the trust and responsibility that comes with the position. If you earned the title of Project Manager (PM), congratulations! You’ve got it. If you haven’t been given the responsibility yet, there’s a good chance you’ll be at some point if you want to advance in your career.
The most important recommendations for project management
Know all the details of the project in advance. Be clear about all project details at the beginning so you can make a plan without future surprises.
Make project priorities consistent. This will help you set clear and measurable goals, while also helping you identify what can be taken care of ahead of time, and what you need to start a head start with so you don’t have a last-minute disaster.
Set clear and measurable goals. After you are clear about the project parameters, set goals, and milestones that are reasonable, timely, and effective.
7 important tips
- Make sure you have complete project details in advance
A fully detailed project scope, with the agreement of all stakeholders, is essential. Ensure that the scope includes interim milestones, a detailed schedule, and a sufficient budget to cover all required work.
If you get everything in writing at the beginning of the project, you have an excellent foundation to build on. Change is inevitable, but you have to maintain control and indicate when the project starts to look like something very different from what was originally set out. This is critical to avoiding catastrophe if your client tends toward “scope creep”, which is when someone asks for “just another little thing” repeatedly until the endeavor is more or too different from when it started.
- Set realistic expectations
The Prime Minister I once knew was fond of saying, “You can have two of the three: good, fast, and cheap. You can’t have all three.”
Ensure that everyone on the team, including the client, understands the boundaries of the project. You can successfully finish the job on time and within budget, as long as expectations are reasonable. You most likely cannot work miracles if the expectations are unreasonable, and you will only set yourself up for project failure. Don’t start your project with an almost predestined failure.
- Establish measurable and reportable criteria for success
How do you know if your project will succeed if you have no way of measuring success? You’ll need temporary milestones, especially for a long-running endeavor, so that you can determine if you’re on track or straying from project goals.
You must have both internal checkpoints and client checkpoints. Never leave incorporating client feedback until the end of the project, unless you want to risk reworking core components if the client isn’t happy.
- Select team members, and assign responsibilities carefully
Gather your human resources, and ensure skill sets match the required roles. This is an important first step: if you assign the wrong person to a task, you reduce your chances of success even before the project begins.
Make sure each team member is aware of what is expected of them and when. Encourage them to ask questions to clarify anything that might be uncertain, and to come to you when something seems out of place or skewed. Clear and open communication is crucial.
- Embrace your role as a leader
You are the manager of this project, so make sure you play the role and don’t let any other team member assert their dominance in your position. Your job is to extract the best work from your team members, so you are a coach, a mentor, and a motivator. You may need to build a team atmosphere among people who haven’t worked together before, so be sure to include team-building exercises if necessary. You are also responsible for customer contact, so be thorough in your communications both internally and externally.
Make sure to provide strong and calm leadership to your team if your project encounters turmoil. It is very difficult to be a great leader in times of stress, but this is exactly the time when your team needs you the most.
- Project risk management
Hopefully, you’ve identified the most likely risks upfront while preparing for the project, so you’ll already have contingency plans in place for certain realities. If you can know when a risk is imminent, you can take preventive action to avoid it, or you can intervene quickly with corrective action if necessary.
Be prepared to stop the project if the risks become unacceptable. Part of your role as a leader is to know when things are starting to move relentlessly toward the point of failure.
- Evaluate the project upon completion
Recommendations for Project Management Once a project is complete, it is important to make a report, even if it is for internal purposes only. You can determine what went right and what went wrong, decide what could or should have been done differently, and create best practices for use in future tasks.