Project Management: 9 Important Steps to Start and Manage a Project Effectively
As a CEO, you’re constantly dealing with new projects and goals you and your team need to accomplish. While your goal should always be maximum productivity, sometimes it’s hard to achieve it. With all the pressure, deadlines, and problems that happen along the way, things can easily get out of hand. That’s why you need a project management strategy.
Project management is basically the process of managing or leading a team in achieving the set goals of a project. Projects are usually constrained by several factors, which makes project management even more challenging for the managers.
If you don’t have a clear strategy or a plan on how to start and manage a project effectively, we’ve got you covered. Here are the 9 most important steps you need to take to be in full control of all your future projects.
Let’s take a closer look together.
1. Break the Project Down
Let’s start from scratch.
Every project is complex and layered. That means that it has different stages, several goals, and targets that need to be hit.
To start a project properly and be able to carry it out the right way, you need to break it down as much as you can. To do this, you’ll have to answer these questions:
- What is the main goal of the project?
- What are the distinct stages of the project?
- What is the goal of each stage?
Once you break it down, you’ll be able to continue with your planning and decide what your next steps are going to be.
2. Gather the Team
Now that you know what the project involves and what you’re expected to do within it, you can start thinking about the right people for the job.
For each stage of the project, you’ll have to think about:
- the employees who know how to do it
- the employees who’d need a bit of guidance but could do it
- the employees who don’t know how to do it but need to learn
Like every other CEO, you need to gather a team of people that will foster teamwork and help each other out.
You must have a team leader you trust and other employees who are up for the task.
Also, don’t forget to collaborate with the team leader and give them a chance to choose the members of the team. There are project management softwares that offer features for team collaboration. Most of the available software solutions allow assigning tasks and subtasks in a form of a checklist, and also assigning multiple tasks to more than one employee. That way, you’ll create a team that is productive, motivated, and well-synced.
The following statistics present the importance of team collaboration features:
- 90 percent of projects require team participation
- Communication is the biggest challenge for 59 percent of the employees in the US.
- 31 percent of companies say miscommunication on project objectives is the number one reason of project failure
- 40 percent of projects managers spend most of their time micromanaging employee responsibilities
3. Provide the Tools
For each of the projects along the way, you’ll have to consider providing everything that your team members need for the job.
If you don’t have the right tools or equipment, you can’t expect them to make any serious project.
This is why, before the project realization begins, you need to do an assessment:
- the tools you already have
- the tools you need
- the equipment you need
- the resources you have
This way, you’ll know whether you’re good to go or you need to invest some more effort into kick-starting the project and carrying it out all the way.
Tracking and timeline Gantt charts are popular project management tool features that measure how long certain tasks will take which can help speed up the projects. In addition, task automation, automatic organizations report generation, and email integration helps to eliminate time-consuming tasks that don’t require any technical skills at all.
Here are some statistics to show how the right tools can help increase business performance and even save time.
- Average employees saved 498 hours per year
- 61% of companies using project management tools finished on time, while only 41% of those companies not using tools did
- Hitting project deadlines is the biggest problem says almost 46% of team leaders
- Time tracking is the second most-requested project management feature
4. Create a Timeline
You have the project broken down into pieces and you have your team ready to start. Now, it’s time for your timeline.
A timeline is a strategic approach to successfully completing all the tasks within the project. It includes:
- prioritizing tasks
- creating deadlines for each stage
- creating a global work calendar for every department and a separate team
Also, creating clear project timelines and outlining responsibilities improve internal and external communication. It’s important that you have everyone on the same page and you nurture a global collaboration between all teams and team members.
A timeline will give everyone a clear idea about what they need to do and when. If everyone’s following the same schedule, things will run smoothly.
A timeline is the ultimate productivity booster so make sure you create one.
5. Prepare a To-Do List
For each stage of the project, there are specific tasks that your team needs to carry out. These tasks are what will keep them going and help you and the team leaders have better control over the project.
This is why you need to create the ultimate to-do list for your project.
The best way to do it is to:
- think about each stage of the project
- assign minor tasks within each stage
- have the team members prepare special deadlines for each of the tasks
You should put it in writing and create the ultimate to-do list that everyone will come back to when they feel confused or lost. In case you need help with this type of formal writing, just check out paper writing websites. Professional content creators will help you write instructions that everyone on your organization can easily understand and follow.
This way, you’ll always know how the project’s going, whether there are setbacks and what’s holding you back.
6. Anticipate Potential Issues
When it comes to starting and managing projects, you can’t always hope for the best. In fact, sometimes you need to anticipate potential issues and make sure you meet them fully ready.
This is why you and your team leaders always have to:
- think about the things that might go wrong
- list potential issues and problems
- think about the solutions
- make sure you’re ready to handle the problems as they happen
Being ready for a potential problem will give your team an additional boost and confidence to carry out their tasks with maximum productivity.
You’ll be able to relax and rest assured there’s hardly anything that could disrupt your project plan and prevent you from finishing it in time.
7. Provide Leadership
It’s one thing to set the expectations high and get the maximum out of your employees. But, it’s a completely different thing to provide guidance and leadership.
When it comes to project management, there needs to be proper leadership in order to keep everyone productive. That’s why it’s your tasks to:
- provide positive and negative feedback
- foster trust and support
- give guidance and assistance when needed
- allow for ideas to be expressed
- listen and respond
Leadership is not about being a nice boss everyone loves. On the contrary, it’s about being there when they need you and helping them achieve everything you expect from them.
8. Establish a Productive Communication
The following segment of your project management plan is the one you simply can’t forget about. You need to find a way to keep a healthy and productive atmosphere between everyone involved.
The best way to do it is to nurture communication.
To do this, you can use different strategies and tools:
- team collaboration tools
- conference calls
- brainstorming sessions
- regular morning meetings
You can even organize team-building events and ensure everyone in your team respects the other team member and have full trust them.
Evaluation of a project at the end of it will give everyone a better understanding of the level of success you’ve achieved. This will serve everyone lessons and be rather helpful for all future projects.
These websites for elementary students can help you write down an evaluation and include all the important details:
- respecting the deadlines
- team productivity
- fresh and successful ideas
- issues and problems
Make sure you cover all aspects of the project and evaluate the team’s overall success.
Managing a project is a demanding and complex task. However, with the right strategy and proper planning, you’ll be able to carry out even the most challenging ones.
Use the tips provided above and start working on an improved approach to project management today.
About the Author
Daniela McVicker is a blogger with rich experience writing about UX design, content planning, and digital marketing. Her posts are always packed with examples and actionable content that readers can put straight into the action.