Managing a complex project requires careful planning and an accurate estimation in terms of resources needed and deadlines that need to be met – and this is all prior to starting to execute on the project. Requirements must also be clearly understood, forming the basis of the project plan and helping to clearly define the goals of the project.
Not all projects are worth the time and effort, and sometimes there is a tendency to overestimate the capability of a team. On the other hand, you cannot know the limits of your team unless you take the plunge. If you boil it down, there are only two reasons why a project would not be fulfilled by your team: it is either a matter of ability or of management.
For ability, there is no substitute for good training, hard work, experience, and team synergy. Those four core characteristics are essential. Hundreds of thousands of scholarly articles and case studies have been done just to find out how to achieve these characteristics, and a short feature in this article will not do them justice.
On the other hand, proper project management is much more straightforward and truly has a gigantic impact on the productivity of a team, ultimately promising results if done correctly. Project management may sound high-level and strategic, and this is partly correct, but, at its heart, project management is actually very simple to learn and achieve. It is the execution part of the process that takes time and effort. Simply put, project management is how a leader fulfills steps in order to complete a project successfully. Here are a few things you can do to make sure that a project is managed properly.
1. Get a bird’s eye view and look for the forest to follow up with focusing on the trees
Whether it be for conceptualizing and starting your project, for troubleshooting and improving the process for the duration of the said project, inductive thinking, or the top-down thinking, can definitely help. By knowing that conclusion that you want to arrive and then start building up from there, the project will have a better structure and the execution would be easier. Looking at the bigger picture will allow you to find the bottlenecks and the problem.
You can do this by either looking at it with the mentality of a third neutral person or better yet ask an expert who has no part in your project. For instance, asking questions in Quora or opinions with your friends in your social media, provided of course that you can trust them with your privacy and secrecy, will definitely help you find a different perspective.
2. Make a superstar team who knows the project well
By superstar team, we do not mean the best of the best, which was very good can be quite costly and a team of geniuses does have its own unique problems. What we mean is that you should make your current team superstars. This is directly related to the first reason why a project could feel like something beyond the capabilities of the team. We are not just talking about the capability but also the synergy of the team. To make it more straightforward, we make the team learn during the project and not just do.
Getting an experienced expert is good, but if you are thinking long-term, which you should, cultivating talent is the way to go. In managing a project, deal with it as an opportunity for your team members to level up, whether by improving on their abilities and talents or by improving the synergy of the team by making them more integrated and knowledgeable about the team members and the long-term vision and goals of your business.
This can be done by integrating tools into your project management that not only remind them of their duties and responsibilities but also make the team aware of where the progress of the project is currently. One way to do that is to use software light Trello or Scoro. These tools will not only give a visual representation people assigned, they will also allow you to put comments and do even time tracking and reports on finances and project progress. If you do not have a project management tool yet, please get one as soon as possible. You will see your efficiency improve by leaps and bounds.
3. Communication should be proper
You may have a plan that has a great top-down perspective and you may have the best tools for your project management, but one thing where a competent team can fail is the breakdown of communications. We are not just talking about the lack of communication. What we are talking about this proper communication. Communication is a two-way process, in the listener or receiver is as important as the sender of the message.
The best way to ensure that there will be no misunderstanding or miscommunication is to use not only a reliable tool but to also properly word your messages. There are communication tools like Slack and in fact, most project management tools have their own communication channels. Instant messaging is best and will beat out not only e-mail but also voice calls because instant messaging is faster and easier to understand.
As for your communications, it is best to use simple language for instructions and more detailed sentences for the process. It is best to start with what should be the result by use of descriptions using adjectives and adverbs and then followed by a series of instructions which has a lot of verbs and concluded by recommendations for processes. That way, your communications are easier to understand and by using words economically.
In simpler words, you can improve your project management by focusing first on the bigger picture, followed by the proper use of tools and lastly by using proper communication channels and techniques.
Overall, a project manager must be an expert in leadership, communication, and organizational skills. With the high workload and stress, it is critical to have the skills required to bring a project to the finish line. Staying accountable and aware of all aspects of the project will guide you to project management success.
Also, try these 10 shortcuts to boost your productivity.