If you are managing a project for the first time, big or small, then it can be intimidating. It is aimless to pretend that you know everything. Apart from having the project’s technical and subject authority, you will have to work intensely on strategizing the entire process from start to finish. The traditional approach of working on a project with a pre-defined goal will not fetch you results today. This era demands you to stay relevant with agility.
So, what does it take to manage a project effectively?
To match up with the uncertainty of the customer behaviors, every project has to be managed with real-time prioritized decisions.
Here, this blog will discuss a few tips that will put you on the path to success.
Few quick tips for the first time project managers
Before you start any project there are two things that you need to remember –
- Goal of your organization
- Goal of the project that you are assigned
Based on these two, there are various stages that you will have to strategize to successfully complete your projects. On this note, using the best project management software will help you accomplish this task smoothly. Now let us break down this further;
- Complete project prerequisites: It is necessary that a project manager carries out prerequisite tasks for the project such as defining business goals, developing a business case, conducting a feasibility study, examining the resource availability, establishing a project charter, identifying project stakeholders, determining communication channel, checking resources availability, etc. You should have a rough sketch of how you would approach the project and what is needed.
- Plan your project: For any project, regardless of the industry, planning is at the root of their project. Poor project planning can lead to delay in product release and poor quality products. In order to avoid this, you need to plan your project- break down the project into small milestones, set the budget, delegate the tasks, and create a workflow. Project planning can take a surplus amount of time and if you want to utilize your time more productively, then take the help of the best project planning tools.
- Brief team members about the project: For team members’ complete involvement in the project; it is essential that they have clarity on project goals. They must know the objective of the project and why they are doing it. It gives a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities in the project. You can give your team members a presentation and a walkthrough of the entire project.
- Estimate the cost of each deliverable: Most projects fail because they cannot estimate the cost of the project accurately and exceed the allocated budget.
- Clarity on project scope: During the planning stage, you should baseline the project scope. Frequent changes in the project scope can increase the risk of project failure. In case there is a change of project scope, there should be a proper procedure to handle change requests in the project scope. It helps to reduce the confusion about the project deliverables among the team members.
- Provide a realistic timeline: As a first-time project manager, you don’t want to disappoint your stakeholders, and in that effort, sometimes you propose an unrealistic project timeline. An unrealistic timeline can put team members under pressure, and the result could be poor-quality products or an extension of the deadline. Reviewing the project timeline again, making changes, and then validating it from the stakeholders can consume the manager’s valuable time.
- Identify unforeseen risks: Identify the risks associated with the project and prepare a contingency plan for it. Always stay ready with plan B, as you never know when you need it. You can use various brainstorming techniques to identify unforeseen risks, such as a Fishbone diagram or NGT (Nominal Group Technique).
- Communicate often with team and experts: During the entire project, it is necessary that there is a continuous conversation between the team members, project managers, and stakeholders. Frequent communication with team members through daily status meetings ensures that there are no show stoppers in the project, and if there are any, it is resolved on time. For a safer side, you can even keep experts in the conversation loop while discussing some critical issues on the project. Communication can make or break the project, so it is necessary that you are consistent with your communication as a project manager.
- Leverage project management software: Project management software can prove very handy in managing the project. It helps in various tasks such as scheduling tasks, tracking projects, collaborating with team collaboration, remote work monitoring, tracking issues, monitoring project status, and so on. You can convert project data into a Gantt chart, timelines and tables. It can reduce a lot of workload from project managers and increase the chance of project success.
- Document everything: By documenting every change and progress, you can have more clarity on project deliverables. It gives detailed information about the project challenges and measures taken to overcome the challenges. All this information can be used as a reference for future projects.
- Monitor the project progress: Check the project progress on a regular period; it assures that the project is on the right track and enables you to identify underlying risks on an early basis. Also, keep track of all the changes made to the project and who has approved the changes. It is very helpful when the project is completed and a performance audit is carried out.
- Project signoff: Project closure is also a part of the project management cycle. As a project manager, you should ensure that all the resources are released, contracts are signed off, and the project is evaluated once the project is completed.
“Great things in business are never done by a single person, they are done by a team of people,” said Steve Jobs. I think we have moved a step further. Today, it can be called as – “they are done by a team of people, with the right tools”.
For aspiring project managers, their first project is the foundation for future work and adhering to these tips for project management certainly paves the path for their promising career.