As a rule of thumb, successful projects are those that are completed on time, within budget and scope, and to the required standards. Project managers usually emphasize proper planning as key to the success of projects. However, there is more to project management than focusing only on the project methodologies.
1. Adopt modern project management tools. Project management tools help managers be more organized and methodical in managing projects. These tools are cloud-hosted products, Web-based, or mobile applications. The software is customized for specific industries, teams, company sizes, and tasks. The advantages of software management tools include efficient resource and task allocation, effective risk management, project documentation, and accurate tracking of progress.
2. Gain an in-depth understanding of your project. Being able to understand how your project's outcomes fit your organization's strategic goals is essential to its success. Effective project management requires that firms implement only those projects that contribute to their long-term success. Align project goals with the organization's vision, mission, and core values. Strategically fit projects increase employees' morale and dedication, and they promote efficient use of a firm's resources. Also, executive-level managers are more likely to support projects that they adequately understand. Support from the executive staff means sufficient resource allocation, ensuring timely completion of the project.
3. Recruit smart project team members who are flexible and adaptable. Smart employees facilitate the implementation of smart strategies and plans. Every member of the project team must share the same vision for the project, show commitment to the project, and strive for its success. Enlisting employees whose goals are out of sync with those of the project is likely to derail the achievement of project deliverables within the desired period. Also, there are many factors, inside and outside an organization, that may affect the timely delivery of projects. The project's internal and external environments are ever changing. Consequently, project managers will be called upon to make frequent adjustments regarding the scope, budget, timeliness, and specifications of the project on many occasions. This proactive approach toward project management requires employees who can work within project guidelines and who value change as an opportunity for improvement.
4. Prioritize communication. Effective communication is a vital ingredient for achieving faster project success. Project managers are responsible for promoting open-channel communication planning starting from the project conceptualization stage. Communication planning involves identifying the channels, audience, methods of communication, sequence of communication, and messages to be relayed. The practice of pairing the right message with the right audience by using the appropriate communication channels guarantees quicker completion of projects. As a project manager, avoid procrastination and assumptions regarding the flow of information. Good communication planning promotes greater motivation, trust, and enthusiasm among project members.
5. Apply smart risk management. Risks are unavoidable in any type of project, owing to manageable and unmanageable circumstances. The real worth of a project manager is gauged by how he can forecast and manage risks that occur during the life cycle of the project. Smart risk management helps boost the project team’s confidence when handling risks and boost the client’s confidence as the project progresses. Project managers can quickly resolve any issue arising during the project life cycle using the plan that is already in place. Unmanageable risks, such as earthquakes, cannot be forecast; hence, they have no mitigation strategy. Therefore, project managers must seek external assistance to reduce the severity and damage incurred when they occur. Conversely, project managers must execute on planned strategies to mitigate manageable risks as and when they occur. Key to better risk management is having a centralized online database system for monitoring the projects. This system will help with efficient management of project resources and keeping the project stakeholders on par regarding project development.
Successful management of projects is not an easy task. A 2013 Project Management Institute (PMI) study indicates that the success rates of projects are less than two thirds. Also, PMI reported that approximately 17% of these projects are total failures and that 13.5% of each dollar invested in the projects that fail is not recoverable. These grim statistics underscore the need for effective project management. By implementing the project management tips discussed above, project managers will be able to steer their organizations to success.
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