Successfully managing a project can be a complex undertaking. It involves coordinating multiple factors, including resources, personnel, and implementation elements. To do this well, you need to set up a comprehensive plan and take the proper steps to put the plan into effect while monitoring the implementation closely. The following tips are designed to help you both draw up a project management plan and oversee its implementation.
Establish a Plan
To manage a project successfully, your initial objective should be to establish a plan. The plan serves as a roadmap that lists all the relevant actions required to complete the project. As you work on drawing up the project plan, ask yourself some questions about the project and its objectives, including:
- How much time has been allotted to complete the project?
- What is the goal of the project? What will success look like?
- How much resources will the project require?
- What personnel will the project require?
Answering these questions will help you get a handle on the overall aims and structure of the project. From there, you can drill down into the specific steps needed to bring the project to fruition. To start this process, compile a list of all project deliverables and deadlines. From these, you can start building the roadmap by listing when each deliverable is due and what it entails. Make sure to include all the details necessary to make plans for meeting each milestone.
Select Your Methodology
Once you have selected your goals, the next step is to identify the methodology you will use to achieve them. There are a variety of methods you can use, including:
- A methodology of your own design
- Critical Path
- Six Sigma
While some may suggest that working without a methodology frees you from the restrictions imposed by these systems, in many cases it is helpful to use a formal methodology to guide your approach to project implementation. The framework offered by such a system enables you to get everyone on the same page in terms of the approach used for project implementation.
No methodology is right for every company. The best option for yours will depend on the industry you operate in and your company’s unique requirements. Once you’ve selected a system, feel free to modify it to meet your company’s needs. Don’t feel compelled to stick to the letter of the chosen methodology – use it as an underlying structure which you can feel free to alter as necessary.
Utilize Project Management Software
After defining project requirements including goals, resources, and personnel, and picking a methodology, you can turn to selecting project management software to help you run the project as efficiently as possible. A well-designed tool of this type will help you perform all the major project management functions, including:
- Creating a schedule
- Drawing up a budget
- Monitoring progress
- Managing stakeholders
- Managing resources
Be sure to select a tool that is not so complicated that your team members have difficulty using it or require inordinately long training sessions to master the tool. The software should also provide you with the flexibility to change your processes if business conditions change.
Initiate Project Implementation
When launching a project, don’t worry if progress appears to be slow at first. The project startup phase is typically the slowest part of the entire project, as team members need time to familiarize themselves with its ins and outs before activity can be ramped up. Once you have drawn up the project roadmap and determined what software tool you will use to manage the project, don’t get too caught up in the project task order. If your original plan doesn’t turn out to be optimal, you may need to switch the order in which tasks are performed to optimize project implementation.
Monitor Your Progress and Make Plan Revisions as Necessary
If you think about it, whatever the size of a project, its full implementation generally requires the completion of a number of tasks which, considered together, comprise the project as a whole. When planning for a project, it is your responsibility as a project manager to decide how to divide the project up into discrete tasks that will enable your team to complete it in a timely manner while achieving the project’s objectives.
While you should always keep in mind the ultimate destination the project is slated to reach, when implementing a project, it is often easier to focus your attention on each milestone as it occurs, rather than spending an excessive amount of time planning future steps in the project completion process. This allows you to approach the project in easily achievable segments, which makes the process less intimidating than it would be if your focus was strictly on completing the project.
The longer a project takes to complete, and the more complex it is, the greater the likelihood that changes will have to be made along the way to completion. To increase your flexibility in this regard, try scheduling milestones backward from the time when the following task must be completed. Starting from the project deadline, move backwards toward your start date by determining the date when the previous segment must be completed for the next segment to start until you reach the project initiation date.
This approach helps to provide you with a more realistic appraisal of how long it will take to complete each individual task and the project as a whole. It will make it easier to revise your plan as you proceed. To this end, your project management software, by monitoring your progress, can be very helpful in alerting you when adjustments to your original plan should be made. Making these changes can alter your timetable as well, so make sure that you adjust your expectations for the project each time you revise an individual segment of the plan.
A significant part of a project manager’s job is mitigating and managing risk. Protecting your organization from assuming excessive risk in implementing a project is essential to successful project management. Your project management plan should incorporate a risk management plan that takes into account the various things that can go wrong and the steps that can be taken to mitigate them. Failure to properly account for risks can lead to project delays, quality issues and, in the worst case, project shutdown or cancellation.
To identify risks, ask each team member to provide an account of the issues they believe pose the biggest risk to the project. Go over everything that could possible go wrong with regarding your team collaboration and then rank these risks in terms of potential impact. Then allocate each risk to a team member for the purpose of drawing up a risk mitigation plan. Your project management tool can provide assistance here by giving all team members the ability to comment or make suggestions relating to each identified risk and its associated mitigation plan.
Nuvro is a robust online project management tool that helps you manage your projects successfully by coordinating multiple factors, including resources, personnel, and implementation elements. 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…