To achieve corporate goals, project managers rely on tried-and-true project management approaches, each with its own set of rules and standards.
While it’s tempting for a project manager to adopt a single technique to streamline their procedures, this is rarely advised or effective because no two projects are the same.
Project management is a blend of art and science that requires project managers to customize their approach to the specific needs of their current project.
There are various ways you can use to inform and lead your project, regardless of the approach or framework you pick.
Defining project management
Project management is a corporate discipline that entails using a set of processes, knowledge, skills, strategies, and project management tools to accomplish project objectives and deliverables. Project management professionals assist in driving, guiding, and executing company-identified value-added goals by using processes and methodologies to plan, initiate, implement, monitor, and close all activities related to a given business project in alignment with the organization’s overall strategic objectives.
Select the most appropriate project management methodology
With so many approaches to select from, determining which is the best fit for the job can be difficult. Take into account the needs of both your project and your team, and keep these two suggestions in mind:
- Begin by thinking about the result
Examine your demands, aims, and objectives to determine what your end product should look like and what benefits it should bring. Physical items, such as structures and home products, necessitate a more sequential approach, such as a Waterfall or critical route. Meanwhile, the Agile methodology’s adaptability will be ideal for the increasingly unpredictable world of software development.
- Evaluate what is currently working
Consider your previous projects. Which of your team’s processes has proven to be successful? Choose a technique like Scrum, Kanban, XP, or APF if they enjoy cooperation and incorporating new ideas as they go. Teams that prefer a more formal plan should choose waterfall, critical path, or critical chain project management.
There are twelve project management strategies.
1. Set your goals early and be flexible with them
Goal-setting is an aspect of the project planning step that continues throughout the project as your demands evolve. Clearly defined goals help the team focus on a common goal and give the project direction. Managers can use these approaches to increase adaptation during production by setting targets early:
- Recognize any upcoming modifications
The sooner you can spot impending changes to the project scope or timeframe, the easier it will be to adjust the project’s objectives in time to maximize efficiency. If a client is debating between two pricing options, for example, there’s a significant possibility the price will change soon by making a plan for both a rise and a price decrease.
Changes that arise unexpectedly might harm a project if no one is aware of them as soon as feasible. To keep the team adaptive, it’s important to communicate expectations, project scope, and planned changes frequently and clearly. To improve and sustain strong communication between team members and leadership, consider using a professional team management software.
Because projects might face setbacks and surges, it’s critical to plan for changes in objectives. Consider putting contingency plans in place for unexpected changes as the team is preparing the project goals. If a project’s deadline is subject to alter due to material availability, for example, factoring this into your original plan might help you react swiftly once the project begins.
2. Understand the project scope
The project scope refers to the project’s size, which impacts the project’s budget, labor requirements, and overall efficiency. Larger projects necessitate more personnel and resources, raising the funding and necessitating better leadership. They also define the type of business management you’ll be using which include Dubsado and its alternatives. Understanding the project scope aids project managers in allocating resources to the appropriate locations and gives them a more accurate view of the project’s timetable. To accomplish project goals, research the project’s needs, the client’s needs, and the team’s needs.
3. Maintain open lines of communication with clients and team members
Communication is critical to project success because it allows everyone to understand the project’s requirements and potential obstacles—understanding client expectations and adapting as the project changes necessitate communication. Clear, concise discourse, honest feedback, and positive body language are all examples of good communication. Positive gestures can increase verbal communication by confirming what you’re expressing with body language.
4. Encourage collaboration
Because many projects need the efforts of numerous people or departments working together, teamwork is critical to the project’s success. Encourage teamwork among employees to keep them focused on the importance of collaboration. As a leader, you may encourage cooperation by participating in the project and leading by example, providing the right tools for the work, and keeping team members informed about changes, progress, and scope creep.
5. Be specific about your expectations
Because they bring everyone under the same set of rules, clear expectations reduce the margin for error. For example, as we live in a digitized world, it’s impossible for brands to avoid building a website. In addition, they need good website hosting services to make sure the website is fast, secure and easily accessible. In your project, next comes choosing the one that will work best for you. You could be looking for the fastest WordPress hosting, then be specific in what are the requirements you deem best for the given project. As you clearly set your expectations, it will be easier to determine which hosting will bring the most efficiency, so that your project is successful.
An expectation that a project will be completed in the next two weeks, for example, keeps everyone focused on the deadline and ensures that the customer, team, and leadership are all on the same page. Setting clear expectations entails engaging with teams and clients regularly, issuing reminders about expectations, and receiving feedback.
6. Keep track of project risks
Some projects have hazards or financial consequences that can affect their overall outcome, even if it is as small as fixing emails in spam folders. Consider conducting a risk analysis before the start of the project to identify risks, develop potential solutions, and comprehend the potential harm that risks can cause. The better a project manager understands the project’s risks, the less unexpected they will be during each phase. For example, if you are an insurance agency, make sure to discover what are the marketing strategies in insurance, find out any potential risks and issues to successfully implement the marketing campaign.
7. Use a work breakdown structure to organize your tasks
Project managers utilize a work breakdown structure, or WBS, to break down projects into manageable tasks for the team. This allows you to break down larger projects into smaller goals that are sometimes simpler to achieve. The WSB model is usually divided into three levels:
WSB level one: The fundamental purpose of the project. For example, by the fifth of the month, the team must have completed 800 orders.
Level two of the WSB: You divide the main goal into five to ten sections. The project manager allocates resources and timelines to each component, as well as determining risk tolerance.
WSB level three: To describe specific needs or goals, you separate each of the five to ten elements into smaller pieces.
8. Document your process
The documentation phase is one of the most significant aspects of a successful project since it provides the team with a written record of how the project developed. Whether you provide road assistance services or offer SaaS tools, it’s essential to have it all written down. Following a successful project, the project manager can review the documentation with the team to see where they exceeded targets, excelled, and faced any problems. This is an excellent resource for future project planning because it includes a blueprint for success and documented confirmation of the team’s abilities.
9. Allow feedback
Team and stakeholder feedback can assist a project manager in identifying critical project variables that they may have overlooked during the project. The team and stakeholders frequently have a different viewpoint than the project manager, which can help you gain a better understanding of how the project is progressing. By directly asking for feedback or sending follow-up emails made with a professional email template builder, you may make it easier for people to provide it. Make sure to use special email tools like Lemlist, Mailshake, and others. Check out Lemlist pricing for the moment and research whether it works for your strategy or not.
10. Celebrate milestones
Milestones are significant targets that the team achieves throughout the project. Milestones can serve as a rallying point for team members and motivate them to achieve their goals. To encourage teamwork and communication, project managers celebrate accomplishments with team members. Consider using different platforms such as the Phonexa sales software to keep up with improvements and KPIs. Encourage staff to achieve significant milestones by providing positive comments. “I’m incredibly proud of your success,” you can say, or “Your hard work has encouraged me; keep it up.”
11. Reinvest savings
When a project runs smoothly, it saves both money and time, both of which may be reinvested in the team or company. Consider investing finances or resources to new projects that will aid in the development of the team’s talents or the expansion of the company. Additionally, if you have any digital currencies, you will need a good crypto wallet to keep your assets safe. Check out the best crypto portfolio trackers of 2021 and discover how you can leverage your crypto savings at best. If you finish a project on time and budget, for example, you may reinvest the savings in an employee development program such as communication or software training. Investing in employee training programs is the best way to retain employees and increase profits.
12. Hire more qualified candidates
The team’s talents can have a significant impact on the team productivity, making the recruitment process critical to your projects. Finding the proper employees can add essential skills to the team and help projects move forward more swiftly, improving sales management.
The stages of a project’s life cycle
Regardless of the type of project you’re working on, all of them will go through the same stages. Although each project will have its processes and activities, they will all follow a similar framework. A beginning, a middle, and an end are always present. Welcome to the life cycle of a project.
This step is as crucial as on the business end of the customer lifecycle. The project life cycle provides predictability by allowing the project manager to break down tasks into phases. Let’s go through all you need to know about each step.
1. The initiation phase
The first step of the project management life cycle is the start phase. This stage focuses on defining the project, creating a business case for it, and obtaining permission. The project manager can undertake any of the following at this time:
The project manager should have a high-level awareness of the project’s purpose, goals, needs, and hazards at the end of this phase.
2. The planning phase
The planning stage is crucial for developing a project roadmap that everyone can follow. Make and edit videos for presentations and meetings. Here, you’ll lay down the specifics and specify the objectives to meet the organization’s criteria.
Typically, project managers will do the following at this phase:
The second phase, execution, usually starts with a project kickoff meeting, during which the project manager lays out the goals for all stakeholders. They must do the following tasks before the meeting:
Create a vision and a list of deliverables: Establish a common objective for everyone. Plan out what has to be done and when it needs to be done.
Establish your team and assign roles: Who is in charge of what? Make a list with contact information for more accessible communication.
Create a preliminary project plan: Have a plan in place, but finalize the details with your team at the kickoff.
Define the success criteria: How will the project’s success be determined? What factors will determine its success? Set the tone early on.
Recognize potential hazards: Prepare the team for potential stumbling obstacles and plan to address them immediately.
Establish team communication procedures: How will you keep each other informed? Determine the technology and establish a consistent approach (daily and weekly meetings).
Select a project management approach: Make a list of the best practices that your team will adhere to.
Make a list of the tools you’ll use: It is certain that everyone has the necessary tools and understands how to use them.
Set a date for the start meeting: Whether in person or online, the entire team and stakeholders must be present.
Set the meeting’s agenda: Send the schedule ahead of time so that everyone can prepare, and then send the slides for later reference.
3. The execution phase
The execution stage is when the project’s meat is cooked, and it takes the most time, money, and resources. You’ll create deliverables here to ensure that you’re meeting the requirements.
A launch meeting, as previously stated, signals the official start of the execution phase. The following is an example of a kickoff meeting agenda:
Introductions: Who’s who?
Project scope: What precisely will you be doing? What is the nature of the work?
How are we going to achieve this? How does the road map appear?
Project background: Why are you creating this project? What are the objectives?
Communication: What types of web applications will you utilize to communicate? What should your team expect in terms of meetings and status reports?
What tools will you employ to complete the job, and how will you use them?
Roles: Who will be in management of what aspects of the project?
Steps to take next: What are the most significant things you need to get done right now?
Q&A: All questions are welcome.
4. The controlling and monitoring phase
This stage happens at the same time as the execution stage. The project manager must guarantee that all moving elements are in the appropriate direction at all times while the project proceeds. Consider mass texting options to all the personnel involved since almost everyone is in possession of a smartphone at all times. You may need to alter the strategy due to unanticipated circumstances or a change in the order.
Project managers may be required to conduct any of the following during the controlling and monitoring phase:
- Manage resources
- Risk management
- Monitor project performance
- Update project schedule
- Perform status meetings and reports
- Modify project plans
All agreed-upon project deliverables should be completed and accepted by the customer by the end of the execution period. In the meantime, managers need to keep in constant touch with customers, use specific SaaS nurture email templates to keep them on the know and engaged with your project. Consider delivering great customer service by employing contact center technology.
5. Project closure
In the project management life cycle, this phase is crucial. It marks the project’s official finish and allows time for reflection, wrap-up, and material organizing.
Project managers can do the following:
- Take inventory of all deliverables.
- Transfer control of the project to the client or the team in charge of the project’s day-to-day operations.
- Tie up any loose ends.
- Make a business slogan to capture the attention of employees.
- Conduct a post-mortem to discuss and document any project learnings.
- Stakeholders and executives should be informed of the project’s success.
- All project documents should be kept in one place and you can edit PDF online with CocoDoc.
- Celebrate the project’s completion and thank the members of the team.
How to set up a project team?
Now that we’ve agreed on the need for collaboration, let’s take a step back and talk about what constitutes a good project team and how to create one. Assigning responsibilities to individuals is not the same as forming a team. Especiall if you want to build a dedicated development team, for example, it will be a little complex to find specialists and keep them with your company.
A project team is a group of people who work together to achieve a common objective by contributing significant and distinctive abilities. A successful project requires you to identify your project team members, define your team’s identity, and standardize your team’s operational standards.
So, what should you think about when putting together your project team?
Project needs: First, identifying the project’s extent which helps you to determine who needs to be on the tandem strategically.
Skillset: Choosing team members who can contribute a diverse set of unique and relevant skills is vital. Your team may not be able to accomplish a task correctly if they lack a specific skill set. Distribute individuals or teams for specific tasks; for example, have a different group for social media analysis and separate groups for content marketing strategies, do not mix them up. When there are too many people with similar abilities, it might be challenging to determine who owns something.
Capacity: You may have found the ideal individual for a specific task, but if they’re overworked, they can become a bottleneck. Team members should be chosen based on their availability in their upcoming project schedules.
Work styles: Various people have different work customs and personalities. It’s critical to recognize how these differences may affect your team’s dynamic and accept them once the project begins.
How to Develop a Strategic Plan?
It’s impossible to succeed in project management without good strategic planning. Strategic planning includes:
- Determining operational priorities and resource availability.
- Setting defined goals for desired company outcomes.
- Devising a plan to achieve them.
The process generates and implements decisions that shape an organization’s course, ensuring that it can adapt to changing business processes and conditions.
Finally, strategic planning allows a company to take charge of its vision and bring expected outcomes into reality. This emphasizes its importance for project managers, who are accountable for a project’s success or failure, as well as maintaining an organization’s efficiency.
What is the best way to create a strategic plan?
The strategic plan gives the organization a feeling of direction and aids in developing realistic corporate goals. According to a KPMG poll, when an organization’s structure and resources fit its purpose, 27% more projects are completed effectively. This one-page paper improves decision-making and allows organizations to be more proactive, allowing them to better prepare for unfavorable events and reduce risks. The following are some of the advantages:
- Projects are done in a more timely manner.
- The transparency of the project has improved.
- The allocation of resources is improved.
- Assists project managers in making well-informed choices.
- The chances of success have increased.
While the initial creation effort may appear daunting at first, breaking it down into a step-by-step procedure will ensure that you hit each business goal and get your desired result. Take the following five steps to get started:
Step 1: Understand your company’s purpose and objectives.
The initial step is to figure out your company’s current business plan. It’s nearly hard to develop an effective strategic plan without a clear understanding of your mission and long-term objectives. Consider every single detail and enforce it to achieve it from creating online magazines for brand awareness to finishing off the whole project. This is also an area where you can benefit from growth hacking tools to speed up the data gathering phase. Examine your history and current performance to evaluate your strategic position and determine how to:
- Recognize potential threats.
- Build on your strengths.
- Take advantage of growth opportunities.
- Combat weaknesses.
Step 2: Evaluate your resources and capabilities.
Analyzing your company’s resources is crucial since it decides if you can carry out a successful strategic strategy. All available assets, including cash, workers, high profit items and equipment, should be evaluated in the plan. It should also look at company skills and identify any organizational weaknesses. This enables management to argue for the right sort and amount of resources to achieve the organization’s objectives.
Step 3: Make projections for the future.
The first two steps will assist you in determining your current business priorities and the resources required to solve them, but how can you select short-term goals that will help you reach your ultimate objectives? Take a look at the following list as a starting point:
- Make sure your objectives are clear and specific.
- To stay motivated, keep track of each goal’s progress.
- Maintain a sense of realism and set demanding but achievable goals.
- Make sure the goals are relevant and advantageous to your company’s overall aims.
- To achieve optimal efficiency, assign a time limit to each goal.
This procedure enables businesses to create a vision statement. While the future is impossible to foresee, ensuring that your organization has a clear vision will assist in establishing your company’s future outlook.
Step 4: Determine the approach to meet business objectives.
This step is to create an action plan after you’ve defined your company’s vision statement. Choosing a course of action to achieve your short-term objectives can be an essential phase in a strategic plan, and it can have a direct impact on the time it takes to boost your business and achieve its objectives.
The action plan should lay out the short-term tasks that must be performed to meet each of your company’s objectives and effectively convey how to allocate time, human capital, and financial resources. This strategy will ensure that everyone is held accountable for their part in accomplishing the overall objectives.
If it is revealed at this time that strategic planning was misapplied, your business strategy will need to be re-evaluated later. According to the ‘2018 PMI Pulse of the Profession’ poll, 82% of project management directors believe it is critical to incorporate lessons learned from failed plan execution into strategy creation to keep your company competitive over the next three years.
Step 5: Monitor the plan’s progress.
It’s critical to understand that a strategic plan isn’t set in stone, even if it is as simple as observing the active function of the website chatbots. It’s better to think that the plan is a “live, breathing document” or a “continuous work in progress.” It’s critical to examine the strategy frequently and make any required revisions to ensure that it continues to perform as planned.
The people and mechanisms involved in the development of a strategic plan are critical to its success. As a result, the relevant individuals must be involved in the planning process, and those company objectives and how they’ll be met are communicated effectively. There should be a more prominent sense of accountability and recitations learned during strategic plans to do so. The idea should be incorporated into future planning processes and regularly redefine the plan to ensure you stay on track to achieve your vision and overall priorities.
Advantages of having a project management strategy for your business
Projects appear to be becoming more complex, and deadlines are becoming shorter. Because of the pressure to meet these deadlines, many project managers rush to start projects as soon as feasible. Few people regard planning and list building for a task ahead of time as not the most crucial thing. However, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
It’s a recipe for disaster if a project manager decides to start a project without first planning it out. Poor planning is frequently cited as one of the leading causes of project failure. When you look at the fundamental cause of most of these problems, you’ll find that it’s frequently a lack of planning.
Let’s keep with the all-too-familiar process of scope creep to demonstrate the significance of planning briefly. Determining the scope of a project becomes nearly difficult without drafting a project plan from the start. The project appears to be growing in size and taking longer and longer to complete. Unfortunately, initiatives that fall prey to scope creep can be challenging to recover from, and they frequently end up being abandoned.
Poor planning also leads to a rapid depletion of resources; how do you keep track of the social listening tools and procedures you’ll need to complete your activities if you don’t have a plan? Or, for that matter, how does a project manager know which team member is in charge of which task? Squandering resources is not an option when there are only a limited number of them accessible.
Knowing what you want to accomplish boosts your chances of really completing it. However, without a clear goal from the start, scope creep will wreak havoc on the project. How will the team know when the project is finished if they don’t know what they’re working on? The team will be able to focus on the objectives and the final aim if they plan.
Having live chat access during work hours helps the project manager keep up with any changes that happen in real-time and gives a chance of an increase in reaction time to direct clear objectives.
- Better chances of hitting milestones
One of the most effective ways to track a project’s progress is to include milestones in the project plan. It’s impossible to prioritize your duties or even know if you’re on the right track without these milestones (or a clear strategy).
Allowing your team members to wallow when they encounter stumbling blocks and are unsure how to proceed is not a good idea. A project plan assists the manager (and the team) plan milestones, determining the amount of time required, and schedule accordingly. In the long run, which is certain to help in acquiring new customers for your business
A detailed assessment of all potential risk variables is part of thorough project planning. There’s no doubt that difficulties may develop during a project, but these risks can be monitored and managed with the help of a risk assessment. Present with project charts, visualizing the risks and mitigations of the project.
Knowing them ahead of time allows you to create a contingency plan to avoid challenges like resource shortages, budget reallocation, and scope creep.
- More efficient resource allocation
A well-planned project demonstrates to the team which resources will be necessary to finish it. A plan also enables project managers to keep track of which resources have been assigned, preventing over-allocation.
Overallocation causes initiatives to run out of resources before they are completed. When resources run out, most undertakings come to a halt and are eventually abandoned. By planning ahead of time and ensuring that the help you require is available when you need them, you may avoid bringing your project to a halt.
- Identifying task dependencies
A project plan informs project managers about job interdependence and allows them to schedule them appropriately. Starting a project without first identifying dependencies will result in tasks being completed in the incorrect order, leading to project failure. A good example of this would be the Mailcon marketing event which is planned in every detail.
For example, if you sell products online and sell services online to that very same product, make sure those involved in managing these tasks are made aware of their specific roles. You’ll be able to tell which team member is in charge of which task if you have a clear project plan.
Planning fosters communication, allowing your staff to understand exactly what is expected of them, can be made as simple as giving away business cards. A written plan will aid in transmitting crucial facts, making some tasks easier for you and your team to perform. You team leaders and managers can also have a plan for real-time support for employees in case they have questions or ideas. Listening to their suggestions and ideas is also an excellent strategy to get team members’ buy-in and dedication.
All project elements, including goals, deliverables, assumptions, responsibilities, tasks, timeframe, budget, resources, quality aspects, terms, and so on, must be defined during the planning process. Before the project can begin, the customer and key stakeholders collaborate to define and agree on the creative operations. This includes things like the shareholders’ agreement or a big contract between two sides. The project’s scope directs the work, and any changes to the content must be presented as a scope change request and authorized.
Budgets play a significant effect in whether or not a project moves forward or is completed. Make sure to use a billing management software for planning every penny ahead. Because few firms have an infinite budget, the bottom line is the first thing project stakeholders consider when deciding whether a project is a success or a failure. This fact adds to the pressure project managers, and their teams are under every day. As a result, good budget management is a top priority for project managers who value their jobs. Add every detail in the budget list, from potential money spent on email automation tools to boardroom complementaries, leave nothing behind.
The following are five ways for keeping your project budget under control before it spirals out of control due to massive cost overruns:
- Budget for surprises.
- Revisit, review, re-forecast.
- Understand stakeholders’ actual needs and wants.
- Develop relevant KPIs.
- Keep everyone informed and accountable.
Improve project management skills using podcasts
The modern workplace has changed. However, employee and team empowerment techniques are still in their infancy. Join a variety of podcasts and let them fill the void by giving a practical framework for motivating teams and holding them accountable for long-term success.
Rather than imposing a single approach to help you become a better project manager, you may always consider a flexible strategy that will allow you to lead confidently. Join an online podcast, pick up on valuable knowledge, utilize all of your team’s viewpoints, and complete the task and project on time without sacrificing quality.
Unexpected occurrences, dangers, and deviations can occur even when a strategy is in place. As a result, every project still has a significant level of uncertainty. So, what is the point of planning?
Put, having a project strategy puts you in a better position than not having one at all. Project managers that are competent aim to work smarter rather than harder. By understanding the value of planning from the beginning, you may make it easier (for yourself and your team) to meet your project’s objectives while avoiding future aggravation, wasted time, and costly rework.