There are five phases of every project lifecycle. Each has different objectives and many moving parts. Every single task needs to be completed efficiently and accurately for the final product to finish on time.
Project management can feel overwhelming, but if you break each project down into smaller parts, even the most complex plans are feasible. Here are 6 project management tips to help you achieve success.
Tip #1: Get stakeholder buy-in.
We canâ€™t stress this enough. Everyone who is directly involved (or even affected by) a potential project must give the green light before the project begins. Make sure everyone is on the same page about expectations and scope.
Skipping this can lead to disagreements and other complications that may hold up your projectâ€™s completion. Or worse, derail it entirely.
Tip #2: Assess the likelihood of success.
Itâ€™s best practice to determine whether or not a project will be profitable and feasible before undertaking it. You should use two evaluation tools to determine this.
A business case document summarizes the tangible and intangible value and benefits of the project, including its profitability or ROI. A feasibility study evaluates the projectâ€™s goals, timeline, and cost, exploring how doable it will be using available resources. If your project is either unprofitable and/or unfeasible, scrap it. Pursuing it will only waste valuable time, expense, and energy.
â€œProjects are 2.5 times more successful when proven project management practices are used.â€ â€” PMI
Tip #3: Maintain consistent communication.
A clear, consistent line of communication is essential to successful project management. Keeping in touch with your stakeholders and team members throughout a projectâ€™s entirety ensures everyone has the information and support they need when they need it.
Routine status reports are a great way to communicate updates and other relevant data. Experienced project managers use custom templates, PowerPoint presentations, collaboration software or a combination of all to exchange and document key information.
Tip #4: Manage project risks.
Itâ€™s critical to identify as many potential risks as possible early on and prepare contingency plans so you know how to handle them.
Common project risks include poor communication, an unclear designation of roles and responsibilities, unrealistic timelines, and lack of resource commitment. Remember, risks wonâ€™t go away just because you ignore them. Instead, they tend to turn into bigger problems.
And problems arenâ€™t good for efficient project management!
Tip #5: Sidestep â€œscope creep.â€
It may sound like an infectious disease, but scope creep is actually industry lingo for when a projectâ€™s scope expands uncontrollably after a project has begun. It generally happens when new elements are added without the addition of more resources or even without clear value to the project objective.
To avoid scope creep, be sure to define and document your projectâ€™s scope thoroughly before the project begins. Additionally, working with an experienced project manager can help establish the checks and balances that prevent scope creep.
Tip #6: Test your deliverables.
Test every single deliverable at every critical milestone.
A successful product should meet requirements that were outlined at the outset. By the end of your project, the final product you deliver should meet or exceed customer (and stakeholder) expectations, hopefully on time, on budget and on schedule.
Once you deliver the finished product to your customer, communicate with your stakeholders, and release resources to other projects, youâ€™ve completed your project and accomplished your goal. Be sure to reflect on what went well as well as the things you can improve on for your next project.
The key to project management success.
Itâ€™s easy to get overwhelmed during projects that involve multiple players, processes and priorities. Armed with these tips, youâ€™ll be able to remain calm and tackle your projects head-on with more satisfying results. Remember, you are the most important factor in your projectâ€™s success. Own that, and everything will turn out just fine.
Related Blog: 7 Project Management Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)