The Formula for Success: Best Project Management Practices for Managers
Projects play an important role in an organization’s overall success. With the increased competition in modern industries, companies expect project teams to perform consistently and at a rapid pace. Only through effective project management practices, your performance can become better, faster, and more efficient when compared with the previous results.
In project management, project managers plan, organize, and manage resources to maximize the productivity and efficiency of the team. The PMI states that in addition to the relevant technical skills, a project manager needs a combination of business management and leadership skills to ensure a project’s success.
In this article, we have listed down a few of the best project management practices that can significantly improve your results and help you manage your projects effectively.
1. Have a kickoff meeting
In this initial meeting, all stakeholders are invited and their relevance to the primary objectives of the project is discussed. A project manager also ensures that the interests of all the parties are aligned. By bringing everyone on the same page and introducing everyone who’s involved parties, having a project kickoff meeting gets easier to establish a working communication plan for the project.
2. Establish project scope and objectives
It is crucial to develop the project scope management and get it approved by all relevant parties. It is also important to establish a scope statement and a clear list of objectives at an early stage of the project life cycle. The scope should also answer basic questions, like the goals, final deliverables, standards of performance, and the constraints of the project.
3. Communicate effectively
Effective communication is the key to a project’s success. Project managers must keep all related parties updated throughout the project’s lifecycle. During the planning phase, it’s best to meet with all the stakeholders first and understand their expectations to come up with a successful project plan that benefits everyone. Studies have shown that with a working communication plan in a project team, the overall quality of the final product significantly increases.
4. Ask for feedback
Nothing is 100 percent satisfactory as there is always some room for improvement. By implementing a feedback loop in your project process, you can ensure that the final product is up to the client’s expectations. With feedback, you can also work on learning from your mistakes and avoid similar errors in the future.
As a project manager, you can also ask your team for feedback that will allow you to learn about your strengths and weaknesses and work on improving your project management skills.
5. Create a resource plan
No project team has unlimited resources. More often than not, even the team members or the project manager will have to handle multiple projects simultaneously, so effective resource management is necessary. A resource plan gives an overview of all the available resources and where they are being utilized.
Modern project management software automatically shows how your resources are allocated and their availability in a clear and understandable format.
6. Create a risk response team
Risks are an inherent part of any project. Effective project managers try their best to avoid risks but prepare contingency plans in case such scenarios ever happen. Having an active risk response team would save you from unnecessary project delays as the team would be equipped to tackle any risky situation as soon as it occurs.
According to the PMI, 27 percent of organizations reported in 2018 that they always use elaborate risk management practices in their projects.
7. Ensure transparency in the project
When it comes to the best project management practices, having transparency in projects within the team is at the top of the list. It is one of the significant characteristics that make agile project teams perform better than other teams in a similar setting. Since everyone is on the same page and have visibility into the big picture, team members can collaborate more effectively.
8. Expect and accommodate change requests
The scope of your project can be changed and experienced project managers always have some sort of a change management plan ready. Sometimes, the smallest change requests combine to become a huge headache for the team and in the end, the project spirals out of control. This is called scope creep, a huge challenge that affected more than 50 percent of the projects in 2018. It is a good project management practice to document every single change request from the clients.
9. Ensure proper documentation
One of the best project management practices is to always maintain a detailed project log where every decision is explained. By proper documentation, you can easily get any new members up to speed in a very short time. Similarly, you and other project managers can also refer to the project record if they run into a similar problem later.
However, you must stay alert. Many project managers start to focus too much on ensuring proper documentation, which makes them lose sight of their actual objective.
10. Avoid adding unrealistic milestones
Everyone wants to go above and beyond to distinguish themselves from their competitors. However, some project managers go too far and agree on deadlines or features that are almost impossible to achieve. There are times when clients push for quicker completion and the manager succumbs to pressure. Nevertheless, the project and the team working on it suffer as a result.
You might be able to pull it off and deliver on time by having multiple caffeine-induced working nights in a week, but that is counterproductive. Exhaustion significantly affects the overall quality of the final product and has a severe impact on the team’s morale and demotivates them. Realizing the limits of the team and sometimes standing up to the clients is a practice effective project managers adopt.
11. Review and reflect on the performance
Learning from your past to improve yourself is perhaps the oldest trick in the book and great managers always insist on making this project management practice mandatory. Have a meeting where all members discuss the shortcomings of the project and the strategies they must implement to overcome them.
It will be better for the team and you will also get a chance to improve yourself. As a project manager, this practice will also give you an idea about team members that need some kind of training which will improve their skills for the future.
If you are a project manager who followed all these recommended practices in your project, it is highly likely that it was a success. Not only did you perform exceptionally but through best project management practices, you ensured that your team will perform even better next time.