Every 20 seconds, organizations waste $1 million due to poor project management practices. This is a loss of around $2 trillion dollars per year.
Meanwhile, organizations with effective project management practices waste 28 times less money. They succeed in completing more of their strategic initiatives.
Project management is crucial regardless of a project’s size. A proper plan is necessary, whether it involves a team or only one person to carry it out.
Effective project management ensures that a project runs like a well-oiled machine. You’ll meet your goals on-time, within the budget, and reduce hiccups. Read on because this guide will show you 6 steps to effective project management.
What Is Project Management?
Project management is the collective processes and activities that handle a project. It involves planning, organizing, and motivating to achieve specific goals. In project management, you’ll also be controlling resources and procedures.
All this rests on a concrete and comprehensive project plan. This will contain all the details like the project’s scope, timeline, and objectives.
By creating a project plan, you get a bird’s-eye view of the grand scheme of things, and define what a successful outcome is. This allows you to see the most efficient and cost-effective courses of action. You’ll be able to set realistic milestones and deadlines this way.
Without a clear project plan, you and your team will find it difficult to proceed. The planning process gives you direction.
A project plan also involves the assignment of tasks and responsibilities. This means team members will have better accountability. Planning makes task divisions more efficient, so you can expect more productivity.
Finally, having a project plan ensures completion. You’ll be able to practice effective project management towards achieving the project’s goal.
Now, here are six steps to help you start on the right path towards effective project management.
1. Do the Homework: Identify Stakeholders and Outcomes
Stakeholders are the individuals or organizations who’ll get affected by the project’s outcome. This means that customers and end-users are also stakeholders besides your team.
You must then integrate their interests and considerations into the project plan. This involves meeting and communicating with key stakeholders and project sponsors.
You’ll need to learn their expected outcomes and benefits. Such meetings and correspondence help you define expectations, baselines, scope, and budget. You’ll also need to determine the skill sets needed to deliver the outcomes.
Once you’ve identified all the stakeholders and laid out their expectations, you can now create a scope statement. This will be the finalized documentation of a project’s scope details. You can also turn to project management consulting services to optimize your project plan.
2. Set the Project’s Goals and Define Deliverables
This next step relies on the project’s scope from the first step. Go over the list of what the stakeholders want and rank them according to priority. From here, you can establish accurate project goals for your team.
These goals must serve as an outline of the objectives. You can then add these to the plan for a streamlined flow.
One of the good project management tips is keeping the language exact. Avoid being too technical with the goal outline. This ensures that they’re easy to communicate among the stakeholders without any confusion.
Once the project goals are clear, you should then identify the project’s deliverables. You must identify all the specific outputs expected to come out from the project.
Plan and outline the steps necessary for these deliverables and outputs. This allows you to estimate the timeframe for each individual deliverable.
3. Set a Schedule and Define Milestones
Now that you have an outline of the deliverables and expected outputs, define the duration for each one. Specifying the tasks needed to do them helps you be more realistic with deadlines.
You must also identify any prerequisite relations in the project. Are there any tasks that need to get done first, before the other tasks can start? Organize these hierarchies of dependency for a clear picture of task progression.
In creating a schedule, you must also identify critical points within the project. Organize these into a project’s four phases: initiation, planning, execution, and closure. By creating such a detailed schedule, tracking your progress (or delays) will be easier.
4. Identify the Resources and Risks
Identifying and securing the needed resources early helps prevent missed deadlines. Resources cover materials, equipment, knowledge assets, locations, and financing.
Skilled personnel, team members, and project management tools are also part of your resources. You must then assign resources and team members to each of the tasks. Knowing your team’s skillsets will be key in project management resource assignments.
Another integral part of project management is identifying risks. You can’t get rid of risks completely. However, you can plan alternative courses of action to work around potential issues.
5. Clear and Frequent Communication
Communication will be key as you progress through the steps and phases of a project. You must also do this on a regular basis to maximize visibility and efficiency.
Inform stakeholders about the project plan, scope, reviews, and approvals. Keep team members up to date on the project schedule and any changes.
You must also be clear in communicating the project’s risks and issues. Being transparent with the stakeholders helps with realistic expectation setting.
6. Monitor and Review
Once the project has begun and the execution of tasks is underway, tracking progress is critical. You’ll need to communicate project progress to concerned stakeholders.
Check on tasks and collect progress updates. Make sure nothing is going off track.
Stick to the project’s schedule as much as possible. Keep track of costs and make sure they stay within the budget.
It’s also essential to get regular feedback from the team as well as end-users. Be prudent in managing change requests, issues, and risks.
For finished deliverables, perform a review. Ask for feedback and identify positives and negatives.
Follow These 6 Effective Project Management Steps for Success
Projects are complex endeavors beset by challenges and risks. To ensure a project’s success, effective project management is important.
Come up with a detailed project plan, adhere to schedules, and make frequent communication. These are some of the crucial steps to ensure a project’s success.
Want to know more about project management? Check out our other guides for more tips.