Small and large scale projects are happening around us constantly. Whether it’s a new technology that’s being implemented or the execution of a marketing campaign, someone in your organization is running the show. But how do they do it, managing so many personalities (internal and external), deadlines and expectations?
Project management is a complex yet essential role in any business. From my experience, here are a few keys to ensuring that the next project you manage goes smoothly.
1. Understand the scope of the project. As the project manager (PM), be sure that you understand why it is that your company wants to devote their time and resources to this project. They aren’t just trying to keep you busy. They have an end goal in mind, whether it is increased awareness or increased revenue. Be sure you are on the same page as those who originally envisioned the final product.
2. Assemble the right team. Once you know your mission, get the right folks on the bus with you. Start by evaluating your current team. Do you need someone who understands HTML coding or video editing? If someone on your team already knows this or can pick it up quickly, great! If not, make sure you acquire the correct people. Otherwise you’re setting yourself and the rest of the team up for failure.
3. Create a common goal. As the PM you are more than aware of the desired outcome. Share that with your team! Not only is it essential that you know why you’re working on this project but your team needs to know, too. The last thing you want as a PM is to have a bunch of worker mice on your hands. Give their roles meaningful purpose, and show appreciation for it. Genuine appreciation.
4. Develop a schedule with built-in milestones (and buffer time). Yes, you should be working towards milestones! Build a schedule and share it with a few higher-ups as well as your team. Make your expectations for deadlines known and understood by the team. Build individual and team milestones so everyone can stay on track. Ultimately, though, as the PM it’s your responsibility to make sure everyone is keeping up. A little secret is to build buffer time – a day, a week – so that you are always ahead of schedule.
5. Make yourself organized and available. Keep on internal and external communications. If you’re working with an agency be sure to build rapport with a primary contact person. You want to be sure that you have a mutual understanding with each aspect of the project. It’s also essential to have a grasp on where things are currently, where they are going and how you’re going to get there. Keeping organized notes based on your schedule is essential to the success of your project.
6. Evaluate. As the project moves along have your team take notes on what works, what doesn’t and how you can improve. Making notes as you go will ensure that nothing is overlooked. It’s hard to remember how things went at the start of a project six months ago. Reading over detailed notes from six months ago makes the evaluation process much easier.
20 Essential Tools for Project Management (http://www.inc.com/guides/201102/20-essential-tools-for-project-management.html)
Three iPad Apps That Make Project Planning Easier (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226507)
Project Management: Warning Signs Your Project May Be In Trouble (http://www.business2community.com/strategy/project-management-warning-signs-project-may-trouble-0642386#!oOSeJ)