Firstly, let’s talk about the project leader and identify how they need to stand out from the crowd. As the person in charge of the organization’s projects, the project manager needs to be seen as a leader and someone that people believe will get the job done on time and within budget. But what type of traits does such a leader possess? Here are a few examples:
- Shows commitment to their role
- Respects and instils confidence in the people around them
- Acts as a coach and mentor to the project team
- Is decisive and can make those tough decisions
- Communicates well with their team and throughout the organization
- The leader is a problem solver
- Shows creativity and innovation
11 Simple Tips for Project Management Success:
1. Project Scope
As the project leader, you need to nail down the objectives of all your projects. What are you aiming to achieve from these projects? How do your overall objectives align with the organization’s strategy? These are the type of questions you need to ask yourself before leaping into things. Meeting and collaborating with senior management is very important in getting the go-ahead on projects.
From a senior management point of view budget is key. By having full visibility of on-going projects, senior management can decide whether they should invest more on projects or pull the plug immediately. Even today some organizations don’t have full visibility on projects and are unable to compare the planned project budget versus the amount spent so far. This lack of governance can lead to major issues arising, project deviation and worse still, the projects failing miserably.
3. Be Realistic
You have set your objectives for the projects, but are they realistic? Make sure all your objectives are clear and that they can be achieved by your team. There’s no point in creating objectives that are not going to happen right now. Being unclear leads to inadequate planning and projects failing almost instantly.
4. Identify Your Resources
Create a team of people that you know are right for your upcoming projects and that their knowledge and skills will contribute greatly to the success of the projects. Finding the right resources can, at times be difficult, so be sure to review past projects and identify who the key players were, their strengths and what they achieved for the team.
5. Identify your Customer
The ability to understand your customer is vital in order for your projects to shine. Working closely with your customer and finding out their goals and objectives are in terms of what they expect from you and your organisation.
Communication before, during and after the project will play a key role in its success. As project leader, you must be able to get your message across to your team i.e. what the project’s objectives are, the tasks the team will be involved in, the time-frame of the project and what is the expected final result. When the message is clear it avoids confusion and it helps reduce the level of unnecessary mistakes made. Regular meetings, gaining feedback from the team and having a central communication platform are all important.
7. Manage Project Risk
Before going ahead with a project, identify any potential pain points that may pop up. Surprises are likely to happen so be aware and make sure to have back-up plans in place. Do not avoid bad news, if anything, welcome it into your team. If there’s an issue then you need to quickly identify, review and figure out ways to overcome it. By being proactive with small issues it helps to reduce /avoid bigger issues arising.
8. Adapt to Change
Welcoming change during a project can be highly beneficial to a project management team. The initial plans you had may not fall in to place so encourage innovative thinking and idea generation in your team. Many organizations are becoming more proactive when it comes to working on projects and are adapting to change quicker by taking the popular agile approach.
9. Reward Good Performances
If your team are hitting their targets and completing their tasks on-time and ahead of schedule then make sure that you acknowledge their achievements. Praise and encouragement helps to build more respect within the team as well as increasing motivation levels leading to higher productivity.
10. Evaluate the Project
Your project has been completed. The next thing to do is gain feedback from your team on how your project went and how you should approach the next project/s. Here are some general questions you may want to answer:
- Did the team achieve the project objectives?
- What went well and why did it work?
- What could have been done better?
- What went wrong and why did it go wrong?
- Were there too many/little resources used?
- Did we go over budget?
11. Invest in a Project Management Software Solution
There are still organizations today that are not using any project management focused platforms. Many are still using several types of tools to try and manage projects. The use of email, MS Excel spreadsheets, MS Word documents, MS PowerPoint slides etc. are being used as project management communication tools. These tools alone, however, are not ideal for organizations that may run hundreds or even thousands of projects each year.
With higher demands on project managers to get projects completed on time and within budget, project managers are demanding that their organizations invest in a proper project management software solution. It is vital that they have the best solution in hand so that there can be more organization and structure to the projects they are carrying out.
With many different types of project management software out there it can be difficult going through an evaluation process and cutting it down to the best one. As project leader, be sure to find a solution that gives you everything you need so that it will help you become your organisation’s project champion.