Managing a project can seem like an overwhelming task even if you’ve got the best online project management tools at your finger tips. This is especially true if you’re just jumping into a project management role for a first time, or your beginning an entirely new project. The good thing is, project management can be broken down into some very basic categories that can get you thinking along the right path. Whether you’re a manager working internally at a company with the same team, or you’re a consultant that’s either working with different teams or bringing in your own team, these overarching principles of project management can start you in the right direction.
The most important aspect of project management is the prioritization of the project itself. Being organized from the beginning to the end will keep you sane, as your mental stress levels can be directly associated to the level of stress involved in running a project. Keep things tight and tidy, and you’ll be able to handle any bumps in the road that will appear later on in the project.
There’s an old adage that says, plan the work and work the plan. This is a good rule of thumb, because it suggests that you get organized before starting the project, and subsequently follow through on all the aspects of your plan. It’s the execution that counts for project management, and this chicken an egg concept will encourage you to think the project through before diving in head first, so that your actual execution will flow with few hiccups.
Start by doing your research, and setting your priorities accordingly. Consider your time and budget constraints, and draw the plan out in a reasonable fashion. Err on the side of caution and be prepared with your research in order to justify the requests you send along to your peers and superiors.
The need to research and back up your requests bleeds into the communication category of project management. As you begin to execute your plan of action, you will need to find the best way to communicate that plan to other team members and those that are signing off on your project. Having a clear vision can be a great start to great accomplishments, but your team won’t be able to help you carry that through unless you’ve found a way to convey those messages to them.
For starters, align your goals with that of the project, and your team members. Having the core message of the project synchronized across all aspects of that project will help everyone involved to think along the same lines. This will make decision-making processes easier, help with team morale and avoid future conflict, as everyone is in agreement of what the end-goal is.
There are several tools that can help you communicate with your team at any point during the project’s process, from online collaboration to mobile document-sharing tools. Find the one that works best for you, and doesn’t complicate the communication process. Allow team members to interact with you and team members in a way that makes them comfortable, to help ensure that everyone’s communication needs are being met and maintained.
Aside from communication, executing a project well also means being a good leader. In order to get your team and your superiors to adhere to your message and properly execute your vision, you have to remain a good leader throughout the course of the project.
One way to always stay in the right frame of thought is to lead by example. In getting your team to handle various situations properly, handle the situations you encounter with the same attention you expect from your team. This also shows your superiors that you are responsible and able to remain professional with the projects that you manage.
A helpful practice towards developing your character and ability to be an effective leader is to have some level of ongoing education. Take management classes, read books and subscribe to blogs of those management leaders you think are effective. This will help to instill and develop your own principles, while also building up a catalog to reference throughout the course of any future project.
Build An A-Team
The other important tip for effective project management is to build a good team. This starts from the very beginning, when you’re organizing the project and addressing its individual needs. From this standpoint, you can match the team members with the project, though there are also times when you are only able to work with the team you have. For this, find the best way to play to individual skills and work on reinforcing the relationships between those existing team members.
This goes hand in hand with the allocation of proper resources, which links back to every other aspect of managing your project. Considering things like time and budget, you’ll need to also figure out how team members best fit with the project and how your resources best fit with your team.
Once you’ve gotten a grasp on how to best incorporate your team and your resources, you’ll also need to focus on retaining the team you’ve built. Remember that individual team members are just that–individuals. Addressing their needs and concerns is part of a good communication skill set, which is just another way in which your overarching project management guidelines overlap and build upon each other.If you liked this article, please take this time to share it with your Facebook friends using the Facebook button (see Facebook post button to the left) or retweet it using Twitter (see retweet button to the left). You may also want to follow us or subscribe to the site to stay up-to-date with this article. If you'd rather follow us from your Facebook account, join our Facebook fan page or subscribe to our NetworkedBlogs profile.
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