“Work harder, not smarter” is probably the definition of project management. Project management is the application of knowledge and a wide skillset used to handle different problems and find the best possible and most efficient solution. Project managers are leaders, holding the whole situation under control, understanding the natural flow and life cycle of a project, and are able to act accordingly in stressful situations. Yet, you might ask yourself, how can I meet the deadlines and how am I supposed to finish the job effectively?
Well, there are a few steps and tips you can follow to achieve that, and in the text below, we explain some of the basics of project management and how to achieve success.
Know the goals and the definition of the project
The first thing, which seems kind of obvious yet to many people is unknown, is to understand and know the definition of the project, its goals, and its agenda. You must understand the client’s wishes, what he/she looks for, what they want, and whether it is physically achievable to manage all the responsibilities within the deadlines imposed by the client. You’ll need to look at all the data available, possible setbacks, and potential problems that might appear along the way. We highly advise looking for ways to enhance your productivity levels by surrounding yourself with positive energy and also making a plan A, B, C, or even D if needed. This way, you’ll manage the whole project with ease and make sure the client and your team are happy.
Think of the software
Thankfully, the technological advances of the 21st century are the ones allowing you to achieve success and make projects a real achievement while relying on the help of customized algorithms to make sure everything is being taken care of, without you having to memorize it or write it all down. Project management software allows you to have an overview of all the activities, dates, data, and accomplishments achieved so far. It is like having an overview of everything going on in the palm of your hand. Furthermore, some advanced software like Asana has algorithms that give certain tasks to different groups based on their overall abilities. You can monitor, look at charts, make assessments, and organize yourself more effectively if you have all the visual tools needed to execute decisions and have a better look at everything done.
Know the project life cycle
Like the 4 seasons of the year, a project has a life cycle consisting of several separate phases, each with its own specific agenda and purpose. The first phase, the initiating phase, often consists of two separate phases: laying the foundation (the project charter) and the stakeholder register. It is basically the idea phase, where you need to write down the agenda, visually present your ideas, and seek approval from shareholders.
The planning phase is the phase where you construct the whole skeleton of the project. You think of the infrastructure, break down the task into smaller units, think of budget constraints, include risk factors, and plan an adequate response to them. People confuse the two, yet the initiating phase can be seen as still being an idea floating in the air, yet tempting enough to seek funding and investment, while the planning phase requires much more data analysis and calculation and presents the real foundation of the whole project.
After the two initial phases, comes the execution, and as you can imagine, it presents the phase where you make the project a reality. And last but not least, is the monitoring and controlling phase, which allows you to take care of and monitor the gradual progress of the whole project. In this phase, your role should essentially be that of a silent observer, looking at the ways things are going and making sure to intervene only in the case of problems popping up.
The final step or the post-step of the whole project is also called the closing phase. It is presenting the project records, the data analysis, the success achieved, and celebrating your achievement.
Respect your team
A leader is nothing without his team, and for goals to be achieved effectively, you’ll have to respect your team and make sure you treat them as equals, giving them the chance to speak out and share ideas and possible suggestions if there are any. Creating a productive environment is only possible if everyone involved in the project feels motivated to do their job and make sure it runs smoothly. Make sure to give constructive criticism mildly and with a soft tone, point out mistakes with respect without embarrassment, and make sure to be tolerable if things go sideways in some moments. A team can work effectively and stay motivated if the leader is not putting additional pressure on them, if he/she is looking to make breaks while working to boost morale and be more optimistic, and if the manager is giving everyone the needed motivation and feedback to improve.
Look at market demands, customer suggestions, and stakeholders’ advice
Basically, when leading a project, you’ll need to set your ego aside and make sure to be more open to everyone’s suggestions while listening carefully to the needs and demands of the market. Make surveys, look at charts and sheets concerning product growth and demand, and also be prepared for possible disapproval from the stakeholders if they find your methods are not fit or if there are things you could change to become more effective in your execution. This point is mainly revolving around ego and it’s tiring to listen to your inner gut and intuition while having an ear for the surroundings as well. Balance it all out, be prepared for nagging and possible complaints, and make sure to find something positive and worthwhile in every piece of information you receive.
Sometimes simple is the best
In most cases, keeping it simple in certain areas of the project proves to be the best solution to most problems. Simple methods, a clear vision, and often a bit of organization, will do the trick. Don’t overthink certain points on the list; make sure to execute certain tasks swiftly and without much second thought.
Project management mostly requires being tolerant and patient while facing difficulties and possible setbacks. It also requires a lot of organization and pre-planning, as your project’s success is mostly determined by how effective you are in pre-planning it and predicting all the possible outcomes.
About the Author
Jenna Kramer works as a Growth Assistant for a social platform where people ask questions, get expert video consultations, and share knowledge and experience. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science Engineering and has been working in the field of Digital Marketing for the past two years. She is also a voracious reader and a big sports fan.