Project management is a complicated juggling act of delivering a benefit to a company or community, while managing expectations of internal and external stakeholders and adhering to a budget and time frame. Rest assured that a project can come off without a hitch if following these 10 holy commandments.
- OBJECTIVE & BENEFIT REALISATION
What benefit is the business going to get from doing this project? Identify the key benefit and objective and keep confirming every step of the project until you get that benefit. This will avoid you delivering a project no one wanted or has a need for.
- START FAST
Any project manager will tell you that you almost always run out of time at the end.
Getting the project started and off the ground quick will work to reduce this. A good rule of thumb is to act like the project is late from the very start. At the end of the project it is difficult to condense parts, so allow more time than you think you need at the end. Specialised companies like Lease Corp Finance ensure fast approval time on motor and equipment resources so teams can hit the ground running.
- HONOUR YOUR BUDGET
Expenses and resources make up a project’s budget.
Level resources and realistic expectations on project durations will work to keep the budget in line. Expenses can be managed with in depth planning avoiding too many costly incidentals throughout the project. Regular budget updates with the team and management will condition all involved to make cost driven decisions, eliminating excuses of ignorance.
- ALLOCATE RESOURCES
Over allocating resources can slow down a project and chew through a budget, fast. The project manager is responsible for the speed and quality of each task, so don’t rush the planning process. Incorrect resource allocation can wear down equipment and put your workers and the project in harm’s way.
- STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT
Stakeholder engagement is the name of the game.
Managing expectations and mutually identifying key deliverables will ensure all parties are happy campers. If you have a department or professional responsible for stakeholder engagement, give them fair warning of constraints and hurdles so they can assist with this communication delivery. If you are responsible for all direct stakeholder engagement, determine a strategy with your team early so you can execute a targeted stakeholder communication plan when you need to.
- KNOW WHO’S DOING WHAT
The job of any good project manager is to ensure they have the right people in the right areas of the project. Subject matter experts are crucial to your project’s success. However just as crucial is the role a project manager plays in keeping them focused, outcome oriented and sticking to their deadlines. Remembering that you are dealing with subject matter experts is critical so don’t overplay your hand. Learn to let go of control and only step in when necessary, this will free you up to focus on the more intricate areas of your project.
- TRACK AGAINST CHECKPOINTS
Each project varies in scope, but every project has certain checkpoints that need to be tracked and monitored as you go. Map out what these are and measure time and budget against reaching these checkpoints. With a clear understanding of how your should be travelling at all times, you will avoid unwelcome surprises at the end.
- STICK TO A SCHEDULE
The team should know that the schedule is not guidelines, but an ironclad set of deadlines that must be met on time. Targets and incentives work well with project teams, as you want to keep them within the correct timeframes for the duration on the project. Have an open discussion about the project schedule before you start so everyone decides and agrees on the planned deadlines.
- MOTIVATE YOUR TEAM
The biggest challenge of a project whether it be long or short term can be keeping the project team motivated. Projects can often suffer setbacks, missed deadlines or on the odd occasion budget blowouts. This can be quite challenging on your project culture. Understanding how each individual expert on your project works is the key to keeping them motivated.
Explore how they like to receive information, set expectations early and above all else allow open lines of communication. Following this process will allow you to maintain a positive culture from the beginning and manage any motivational issues early and with ease.
- COMMUNICATE WITH MANAGEMENT
No project is free from the hierarchical chain of command.
Project updates can be as important as the overall deliverable outcomes of a project. Ensuring you communicate frequently and openly with senior management on the project challenges and milestones will ensure you are supported from above.
No project manager likes to be hounded from above, open the lines of communication and welcome questions from management. Set up frequent project updates by email or short presentations, tackle questions in a forum which allows for brainstorming as well. Making sure management are ‘in the loop’ will ultimately make for a lower stress environment in which to deliver your project.
Some projects are three months long, others 5 years.
Knowing how to approach all hurdles and challenges will ensure a seamless project delivery for you and the company.