Practical Project Management Skills to Learn
15 Useful Project Management Tips
Successful project management involves a variety of skills and techniques. It favors managers who can juggle multiple tasks at once, including finding the right personnel to perform the tasks making up the project. The following tips can help you deal with challenges that can hamper effective project management, helping you bring your projects in on time and within budget.
Establish Goals at the Start
While a project’s goals may change to some degree during the implementation process, identifying these goals at the outset is crucial to effective project management. Make sure you also define roles and tasks for team members before the project begins. Trying to determine these elements on the fly during the course of a project can seriously diminish your ability to manage it efficiently.
Analyze Processes and Procedures
What methodology will be used to meet the goals set for the project? Before beginning project implementation, determine what approach you will be using to manage the project. Once you have selected an approach, whether Agile, Six Sigma, Waterfall, or one of your own design, communicate it to all team members so that everybody is on the same page when it comes to implementing the project.
Set up Team Meetings
Building camaraderie among your team members is crucial to optimizing the team’s performance. One way to promote teamwork is to set up team meetings on a regular basis. The meetings can be in-person or virtual (via teleconference or video conference), depending on the type of project you are working on. The meetings should be fairly short, just long enough to cover the important issues and allow team members to bring up any pressing matters they have encountered.
Praising your team members for a job well done helps to give them confidence that their contributions to the project are appreciated. Optimal project management skills requires that team members approach their tasks with focus and dedication – if they feel that their efforts in this regard are appreciated they are more likely to do their best to provide superior performance.
There are a variety of ways to demonstrate that you appreciate your team’s work. You can send out emails, provide recognition at team meetings, or offer kudos privately. Whatever approach you take, providing positive reinforcement should result in a more energized and focused attitude among team members.
Set a Good Example
To inspire your team members to give their all to the project don’t ask them to do things you aren’t prepared to do yourself. If the project hits a snag, lend a hand and help your team members cope with the issue. If a team member is having difficulty with a task, step in and help them with it rather than assigning the task to another team member. To encourage communication among team members, be open to talking with other members yourself. Having an open-door policy is another good way to foster collaboration. To encourage punctuality, make sure that you arrive early for meetings.
Create a Nurturing Work Environment
To help team members perform to their full potential, create a work environment that spurs them to work as effectively as possible. There are a variety of factors that go into creating a nurturing work environment, including:
- Acknowledging effort
- Promoting work/life balance
- Respecting others
To foster a work environment that contains the above elements, make sure that all project managers are on the same page when it comes to promoting the company’s culture. If the managers consistently follow these precepts and encourage team members to do so, eventually they will take root among the company’s rank and file members, helping to boost overall productivity.
Active listening is crucial to good communication. Practice this approach when talking to those you manage. Focus on what they are saying rather than what you plan to say next. This demonstrates to others that you value their input. Encourage your team’s members to seek out insights from others on a regular basis to make sure they are approaching their tasks in line with best practices.
Technological advances have increased the opportunities to engage in communication with people wherever they may be. You can use portable devices to enable your team members to touch base when they are in the field or to hold phone or video conferences when face to face meetings aren’t feasible. Make sure not to let the communication devices drive your communication policy. Talking to people in person is still the favored method of communicating when discussing important matters – so holding regular meetings for this purpose rather than simply texting or emailing is recommended when at all possible.
Dial Down the Drama
Managing a team can involve a fair amount of diplomatic skill. Disputes between team members, or between the team and management or customers, can create distractions which cause the project to lose momentum. As project manager, try to keep a lid on drama of this type by emphasizing the collaborative nature of the project; everyone needs to work together productively to bring it to fruition.
The modern workplace heavily favors the educated. This is especially true when it comes to implementing complicated projects that require a variety of skillsets. To ensure that your team members are up to the task of efficiently performing their duties, emphasize education as a means of improving their overall abilities.
Focus on the Task at Hand
Project managers may be tempted to engage in multitasking, given their many responsibilities. This is an urge that should be resisted as much as possible. Focusing on one task at a time is typically a much more efficient way to get things done. If your attention is not fully on a task, the chances that it will be done poorly or not at all increase substantially. This can often result in wasted time as the task needs to be reworked until it is done properly.
Aim to Motivate
Motivated employees are hardworking employees. Take time to understand what it is that makes your employees tick and work to provide them with this type of motivation. This can consist of material rewards such as money or different forms of bonuses, or non-material rewards such as recognition in the form of feedback, awards, or time. Providing your employees with the right set of motivating factors can improve their performance significantly.
Avoid the trap of micromanaging by delegating authority to your staff as needed. Trying to take on too many duties yourself is not only impractical but also counterproductive from the standpoint of employee morale – your employees were hired because of their skill at performing certain tasks – acknowledge this by allowing them to take responsibility for performing the tasks they were hired to do.
Effective scheduling is a key part of project managing. Project management software can be used to speed up the process by automatically notifying team members of upcoming task due dates and any scheduling changes. Superior project managers stay on top of project scheduling to make sure that they can deliver their projects on time and within budget.
Finishing a project on time is only half the battle when it comes to optimal project management skills. If the project is over budget it can result in client disputes, displeasure from upper management and, potentially, negative career repercussions. Stay focused on expenditures during each stage of a project to make sure that its costs don’t get out of control.
To deliver a product that meets the client’s requirements, proactive quality control is essential. To make sure that quality doesn’t fall by the wayside in the rush to finish a project on time, establish quality checks at each significant project milestone. This allows you to make adjustments as needed if quality slips.
Nuvro is a robust online project management tool that helps you manage your team and schedule proactively. With Nuvro you can gain control and peace of mind over all of your projects, tasks, team members, workload and everything else important to your company. In addition to the project, task and collaboration features found in most PM tools, Nuvro also provides a company dashboard, a team dashboard, team member performance reviews, secure document management, an internal alternative to email and more. Nuvro is perfect for busy teams looking to accomplish more. Learn More…