As a project manager, you’re posed with the challenge of ensuring the success of a project. Whether you’re a seasoned project manager or just wearing the project manager hat by sheer necessity, the onus is on you to bring the project in on time and within the budget.
Let’s start with a disclaimer: no recommendations can guarantee 100% success; however when you plan your project thoroughly, you’re setting yourself up to succeed.
7 Tips To Succeed With Projects
This business blog post has seven tips to get you off on the right path to success, including:
- Understanding the project, including budget
- Setting and defining critical milestones
- Selecting the right team
- Escalating issues
- Managing scope creep
1. Understand the scope of the project inside out
To make a project successful, you must lay a strong foundation. For this, you need to identify the stakeholders and understand their expectations regarding the project. You may need to negotiate, too, as everyone seldom agrees on what’s required. Ideally, get all significant stakeholders to sign a written agreement on the project scope.
Next, develop a solid project plan that clearly defines your objectives for the project and the roles and responsibilities of every person involved. Keep the goals and their key elements closely aligned.
2. Set and define critical milestones
Setting and defining critical milestones plays a crucial role in the success of your project. A milestone is a specific marker or point within a project that tells you how far you’ve come. Setting milestones provides motivation, focuses your attention, and helps you assess how your team is doing, what’s working, and what needs improvement.
You can define and set as many milestones as you wish for every project phase. Defining a milestone determines how your project is progressing in achieving its objective.
Therefore, set SMART goals for every phase of the project, including:
Also, while goal setting is vital, so is testing. Therefore ensure that you perform an evaluation test after every stage to monitor your progress.
3. Select the right team
As the project manager, you must find the right team. Ask yourself what expertise, including hard and soft skills, is needed to make the project successful.
Next, depending on your budget, recruit employees or outsource tasks to freelancers.
When hiring a team, look for professionals with the right personalities and skills to ensure work gets done with minimum friction and maximum effectiveness. Some traits to look out for when hiring include excellent communication, organization, and great problem-solving skills.
4. Keep everyone in the loop
It is impossible to manage a project with open communication. For a project to run smoothly, there has to be consistent and effective communication between the stakeholders and team members and vice versa. Therefore, hold regular meetings to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding deliverables and deadlines. Also, send project reports to relevant persons to inform them of any changes or developments.
5. Escalate issues when appropriate
Issues are going to arise during the project – that’s inevitable. However, don’t cause alarm by immediately escalating something that’s not an issue.
Do your due diligence first before raising the alarm. Don’t fail to speak out, hoping the issue will solve itself. Dealing with problems as they arise will ensure adequate measures are taken to contain the damage. A risk management app can help uncover risks and improve communication regarding them.
6. Test deliverables
To guarantee project success, test your deliverables at every stage. Doing this helps you determine whether the project is meeting the set expectations.
For example, if you’re developing a product or service, you must pass an ISO audit. In such a case, the ISO 9001 checklist will help you prove the product’s quality awareness, reliability, and general competitiveness.
7. Manage the agreed-upon scope
Project time management affects the quality and cost of a project. However, you will often be asked to add new tasks and features not included in the original scope. These changes are called scope creep and can affect your ability to deliver the project on time and within budget. Therefore before implementing them, consult your project sponsors or significant stakeholders to determine whether or not they can accommodate the scope changes.
Transparency is critical to getting approval on any change of direction or addition to a project. Communicate clearly and reach an agreement with the stakeholders on how the changes impact the existing project’s timeline and costs. You will also need to adjust the milestones for each project phase so they are successful. Your project staff needs the milestones to succeed as they are proof of fulfilment.
Successfully managing a project requires effective communication, proper time management, ample budget, and having the right team behind you.
Additionally, use technology to minimize bottlenecks. For example, it is wise to utilize risk management apps to help you stay on top of issues as they arise.