Taking responsibility for a large project at work can be daunting. Without proper management in place, it will not take long for plans to veer off course. Being prepared and getting organized before putting things into motion is key to completing the task fully and on time. When key points have been identified, and a basic timeline is in place, decide which project management steps will best support plans along the way. Choose a team whose skill set will be most beneficial to the successful completion of the project.
Looking for a Project Management Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the best Project Management Software solutions.
Outline Key Objectives and Goals
Analyze the brief the client has provided first, highlight the obvious objectives, and query anything that is not clear. Are the requests of the client actually feasible within the given timeframe? Is the allocated budget going to cover all of the costs? Go back to the client beforehand if necessary and come to a mutual agreement on the finalized plan. Communication is vital in every stage of a project, but particularly so during the initial planning. Starting off on the right foot will always lead the project in the right direction.
Work through the SMART criteria when outlining the project objectives,
S for Specific
Answer and complete the specific needs of the client. Keep the goal at the forefront of the project to ensure it doesn’t go in the wrong direction.
M for Measurable
Set measurable goals that will help identify the success of the project and decipher whether targets and timeframes are being met
A for Achievable
How achievable are the goals that have been set? The team will be motivated by tasks that are manageable and within reach.
R for Relevance
All targets and goals set by the manager must be relevant not only to the project at hand but the client’s values as a whole.
T is for Timeframe
Keep the project moving forward with specific timeframes and goals, giving team members something to aim for.
4 Project Management Steps
1. Select your team
Another crucial part to ensure a project is achieved is the team behind the scenes. A crucial aspect of successful project management is choosing the right team. Once the key objectives and goals have been put in place, it should be clear which individuals and skillsets are required.
The project may require creatives – people that think outside the box and bring original ideas to the table. Analytical minds may be more beneficial if the project requires lots of problem-solving. It’s wise to include an administrator who can keep on top of paperwork and minor details.
It is crucial to building a team that works well as a collective, and not just on an individual basis. Conflicts in the workforce can be detrimental to the success of the project and will add unnecessary stress. Holding regular team meetings, sharing ideas, and spreading the workload will make everyone feel included and boost morale. Remember, two heads are always better than one and a problem shared is a problem halved.
2. Identify the risks
Identify risks that could arise during the execution of the tasks. Are there any factors out of your control that may postpone the deadline or throw the whole project off course? It is essential to manage project risk in a positive way. Utilize the analytical minds within the team who will relish the opportunity to solve a problem.
Project risks are not always negative. There are positive risks with any new project, but they must be managed accordingly. For example, if the project involves launching a new product, it might exceed predicted sales and demand will soon outweigh the supply. This is a positive risk of the project but a backup plan must be put in place. How efficiently can the item be restocked? Can manufacturers keep up with the demand?
Putting a strategy in place beforehand will avoid unwanted stress and chaos, and the client will feel confident that every possible result has been thought through. Failing to prepare means you are preparing to fail. It’s the project manager who will be looked to when things start to go wrong.
3. Divide the project into clear stages and timeframes
Divide the project into three clear stages; planning, execution, and completion. Don’t let the planning phase run over. Explore all potential avenues and ideas but then make the final decisions and stick with them.
Create a flowchart or map out the stages of the project so the team can visualize the journey from start to finish. Add task details and deadlines to each section and celebrate key milestones along the way. A pictorial representation of tasks is a simple but effective tool that can support the project from initial stages to completion.
4. Utilize project management software
In addition to a visual flowchart or project map, utilize the benefits of project management software. There is a lot of software to choose from, some more complex than others, so gain a clear understanding of their individual functions beforehand. Features such as budget planning, timelines, and task distribution will help keep information in one place. Popular software to consider include,
Basecamp is brilliant for categorizing documentation and tasks. All resources are organized and easy to find, saving time and money along the way.
Just because your team is small doesn’t necessarily mean it is more manageable. Wrike can effectively support a project no matter how many individuals are involved and keeps creatives in the loop.
Following this project management step-by-step guide will ensure all bases of a project are covered and enable team members to complete tasks on time. When every stage is completed and the project is finally closed, it’s good practice to look back and evaluate the work before moving onto something new. Is there anything to learn from the process that will be useful for future projects? Understand where improvements could have occurred and exercised this knowledge in the next project you manage.