Project management is a skill, and a fundamental one indeed. If you do not have all tasks, resources, expectations, deadlines, stakeholders and roles align with each other, then the successful execution of the project is unlikely. However, if you stick to the key project management principles, you got the recipe right. Just adhere to the tips we’ve outlined below.
What Can Go Wrong If Project Management Is Insufficient?
When making your way towards a new endeavour, you can usually take two main approaches to motivate you to succeed. You either project the desired outcomes and start building your plan to meet them or acknowledge the things that could go wrong and do your best to avoid them at every stage.
No matter what your trigger is, project management requires care and attention to detail. Failing to do so can result in a waste of resources, extended deadlines, and unsatisfied/ lost clients.
So, what are the most common mishaps during a project?
- Poor communication. Without clear lines of communication, the project can easily become chaotic.
- No follow-up system. If there is no method to track progress, tasks and deadlines, chances are that you will miss crucial points in the process.
- Overlooking risks. Most projects have their own set of risks. If not managed properly, they could snowball out of control and take the project down with them.
- Unclear objectives. Without a solid plan, the team will struggle to achieve realistic goals and can easily get stuck in endless cycles of trial and error.
Now that we’ve mentioned the negative aspects that may occur, let’s now discuss the key project management principles to adhere to for the best results.
Define The Structure
Good project management often involves proactively defining the structure of a project. Knowing the number of tasks, who is responsible for which tasks and how long each task should take can go a long way towards successful completion.
Structure requires goal setting, drafting a timeline and outlining the roles of each team member so that everyone knows their responsibilities.
Clearly defining the structure of a project helps set expectations from all parties that participate in the process, as it ensures that everyone has an understanding of what their responsibilities are, and when. This can help eliminate confusion and tasks being left unfinished.
Furthermore, having a clear structure to follow ensures deadlines are met since there is an established timeline for completing key milestones in the project.
The processes of defining the project structure will also greatly improve communication among stakeholders. By ensuring that everyone is aware of their obligations at all times, nobody will need to worry about not knowing who they should contact or what they should be doing next.
Having said that, it also allows flexibility when needed – such as allowing alternate plans of action where necessary – while still keeping overall goals in sight and adhering to standard protocols.
Set The Project Objectives And Goals
Project objectives and goals are terms often used interchangeably, however they do have distinct meanings.
Project objectives are the overarching vision of what is to be achieved through a project. They are often set in order to address certain issues or answer certain questions; they should be specific, measurable and achievable within a given time frame.
In contrast, project goals refer to the individual steps that need to be taken to meet the overall objective of the project. These are usually more short-term and concrete targets such as making sure all stakeholders understand their responsibilities or completing certain tasks by a specified deadline.
Setting project objectives and goals is a hugely important part of successful project management. It allows for decision making to be based on established criteria, rather than being subjective.
By clearly defining the expectations and targets, everyone can ensure that they are working towards a common outcome.
Assign Roles And Responsibilities
Assigning roles and responsibilities is also among the key project management principles as it enables a team to work productively and efficiently.
Each team member needs to have a specific job or task so that everyone is aware of what the expectations are. This way, your employees will be able to see the big picture and how they contribute towards the successful completion of the project.
Proper task delegation also reduces any overlap between responsibilities, ensuring that each individual maxes out their efforts. This helps to avoid miscommunication and unnecessary delays during the project, leading to better quality and timely delivery.
Furthermore, having clear roles and responsibilities makes it easier for other stakeholders such as clients or senior managers to assess the progress of the project.
Change Management Plan
Creating a change management plan is an essential part of successful project management as it allows teams to anticipate and respond to problems.
By having a plan in place, employees can effectively identify, evaluate and address any potential challenges that may arise during the course of the project. This helps to minimize disruption and reduce the risk of costly delays or mistakes.
Performance Management Baseline
Performance management baseline is the necessary standard of performance that you expect from a project. It sets out the criteria which the team should meet to complete it, and includes target dates, budgeting requirements and quality assurance expectations.
Having a performance management baseline in place helps to provide clarity on expectations, ensuring that everyone in the project is aware of their objectives. This allows for better communication between team members and external stakeholders, leading to better collaboration and more efficient delivery of results.
Risk Management Plan
Risk management and change management plans are two separate but close enough concepts. A risk management plan will help anticipate, monitor and reduce the probability of risks occurring, while a change management plan focuses on evaluating and responding to changes during the project.
Some risks that are common in project management are schedule delays, budget overruns and inadequate quality standards. By creating an in-depth risk management plan, teams can identify potential risks ahead of time and put in place strategies to mitigate their effects.
Quality Management Plan
When managing a project, it is essential to bear in mind your clients’ and stakeholders’ expectations and achieve their goals to ensure high quality. You should confirm that all project objectives are both realistic and confirm with the team and stakeholders.
After you reach an agreement, you can consider your value chain, supply chain, milestones, deliverables and quality measures to evaluate if you are generating the final outcome.
Well, there you have it – project management isn’t rocket science but it requires an important set of skills and principles to master it. With the right planning, goals and communication in place, project management can ensure a successful outcome every time.
Make sure to try out each of these key principles the next time you have a project in the works: define your structure, set project objectives and goals, and assign roles and responsibilities. Also, prepare a plan to manage risks and changes along the way, develop a performance baseline, and finally, make sure it all leads to a high-value, high-quality service.
Get creative with it — don’t be afraid to throw some fun ideas into the mix! Who knows — your project might even end up being one for the history books.