30 Project Management Tips

If you are put in charge of managing a project, you might need a few tips to make the process easier and smoother for everyone involved. You are a busy person and want to just get the most work done in the shortest amount of time possible, with the resources you have assigned.

Cone of Uncertainty

Planning Tips:

  1. Do the correct project by doing a cost benefit analysis or and evaluation of your Return on Investment (ROI), making sure your project the the best project for your company’s strategy.
  2. Plan the entire project, knowing that things will change, but plan for what you know today.
  3. Define your project scope clearly and precisely, using all the facts available.
  4. Use interviews and meetings to paint a visual picture of the overall project, defining phases, and get all stakeholders on the same page. You want everyone involved to understand the project goal, what it will take to get there, and how they fit into that success.
  5. Verify you have all the state holders identified and assigned to review the project plan and assigned resources.

Team Preparation:

  1. Select the correct team members. When creating your project plan, identify the skills required and make sure those skills are covered by the people assigned to your team. If a team member is weak in a specific skill, but is assigned that task, make sure the project risks include the possibility they won’t have the proper skill level and you might have to delay the project to provide them more time to learn the skill, or you might have to start a search for a replacement.
  2. Don’t hide missing or insufficient skills or business knowledge in your assigned team.
  3. Never assume that your team will “just figure it out”, and make every attempt the get the correct team together before the project starts. Hiring the required experts is usually less expensive than not hiring the correct personnel.
  4. Don’t over allocate your resources. If an assigned person on your team has limited availability, accept they might not get as much work done as you first expected and move on with adjusting the project timeline.

Project Cycle:

  1. Don’t allow stakeholders to expand the scope of the project. Define the scope, manage all changes, and make sure everyone knows that changing the scope has an impact.Scope.
  2. Use unbiased, accurate estimation techniques to estimate time and cost as accurately as possible. Set up a method to gather, track, and analyze time and cost information on a regular schedule so you can provide constant communicate the data back to the stakeholders. You will be expected to control the cost, and they will see you are tracking and controlling the cost, plus they will see the relative cost of any changes to the plan.
  3. Demand technical quality by tracing requirements and designing  checks throughout the project to reduce errors. You will want to test the development output to implement fixes as easily in the process as possible.
  4. Demand project level quality to prevent errors in the overall plan. Do as much testing as you can as early as you can. Allow time for re-work and re-testing to ensure you’ve eliminated errors without letting new ones creep in. If there is a mistake, correct the project plan and communicate the changes as quickly as possible.
  5. Demand quality at the business level, by including customers in testing.  Your goal is a happy customer and added value to the company overall.
  6. Plan for the worse possible outcome and hope for the best possible outcome. Perform risk management with your team every week of the project.
  7. Encourage your team to communicate with each other and become a team that understands and supports each other. You goal is a team of experts that get complicated tasks completed in the least time possible. Once you find those great team members that work together well to complete tasks on-time, your job is to do everything possible to remove barriers and keep them productive and happy.
  8. One of your many tasks is to make sure the supplies and resources your team need are available when they need them.
  9. Have a written communications plan, so that you are in touch with all stakeholders throughout the project.
  10. Make sure everyone knows what they need to know to make decisions and get work done.
  11. Analyze status information to create status reports.
  12. Be prompt and decisive when you have to address issues. Delaying decisions or not acting quickly to solve problems mean even minor issues can have a major impact on your project plan.

Stage Success:

  1. Always announce the official start of the project. This allows everyone to understand the clock has started on their assigned tasks. You can to clearly define each stage of the project, to allow stakeholders to understand the overall status of the project.
  2. Every phase of the project requires an update to the project documents.
  3. If the project is, or will fail, don’t be afraid to cancel the project.
  4. Focus on project scope and output quality. Get it all done, and get each piece done right.

Successful Conclusion:

  1. When the project is over the customer should be very happy, or you didn’t fully deliver on the project promise. You should seek to exceed customer expectations with the finished project and while interacting with any member of your team.
  2. Use every success and every error as a chance to learn to do a better job.
  3. Review the project once it has ended to document lessons learned and to help determine if the project met all project requirements. Compare actual results with the planned results, looking for predicted savings or ROI.
  4. Compile project historical information and lessons learned to make future projects easier.
  5. Document those things that worked and didn’t work, and use that list to improve the success of your next 5 projects.

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