A successful project is a product of excellent management practices. The project manager is in charge of ensuring everything runs smoothly, everyone does their assigned tasks, and deadlines are met. With so many “moving parts” in projects, how does one go about managing the project effectively? We’re here to help.
Here are some ways to manage moving parts in your project and create efficient and punctual projects.
1. Take Inventory
The first part of project management is taking inventory, or counting your resources. Take note of how many team members you have, each deadline for the project, how many clients you’re serving, and what materials and resources are available to your staff.
By taking inventory of your resources, you can identify problem areas quickly and work to solve them even before the project begins. If you need an extra team member or even a smaller team, you can make adjustments. This goes for materials and resources as well.
Once you’ve taken inventory you’ll have a better idea of how your team will perform with the tools available.
2. Use Project or Team Management Software
Managing a large team or even a remote team can be difficult in the best of circumstances. With so many resources, people, and a client to answer to, it can quickly become overwhelming, especially when team members don’t pull their weight.
That’s where team and project management software come in. With these great tools, you can effectively track deadlines, team members, and hold everyone accountable for their part in the project. Best of all, the tools are web-based, so there’s no special software to download or distribute to the team.
Many project management platforms include cloud storage as well, so you can easily upload and share files and projects directly with the team or even the client. The client will most likely want updates as the project progresses, so using a cloud server is extremely beneficial to the entire team.
3. Accept That Mistakes Will Happen
Making mistakes is as human as walking upright. We’re almost designed to mess up now and then, and when you’re managing a team or project, you must remember that the potential for mistakes exists.
Mistakes can be major or minor, but the style of management that most effectively navigates mistakes is universally the same. Calm, collected, and understanding is the best approach to dealing with mistakes.
A mistake that sets the project back a few hours or even days is going to be frustrating, no matter whose fault it was. Mistakes happen from time to time, and in this case, who is at fault is irrelevant unless you’re facing a repeat offender who makes the same mistake often.
Let your team know that you understand mistakes may happen and have an “open-door” policy in dealing with them. Encourage team members to come to you with their mistakes, and while they’ll certainly be held accountable, they won’t necessarily face any disciplinary action for honest mistakes.
You should also include some sort of plan to fix mistakes. A backup plan is never a bad thing, especially with a complex or otherwise difficult project. Let your team know the backup plan so that when a mistake does happen, they can immediately begin working on it to keep the project on schedule.
4. Create An Honest Budget
No project is immune to cost. Creating a budget and accounting for factors such as scope creep or mistakes is the best way to ensure the cost-effectiveness of the project itself. The less time you spend on a project, the less it will cost overall.
Remember that every hour spent on the project is another hour that you’re paying your team. Account for labor in your budget (it’s the biggest expense, after all) so there are no surprises at the end of the project.
5. Assign Supervisors
Let’s face it, no one can manage every aspect of every project alone. That’s why it’s important to have a support staff, to assist you in making difficult decisions and answer questions when you’re unavailable.
A supervisor can have as little or as much power as you like. You can give your supervisors the power to make important changes or to simply answer questions about the project that the team may have. Whatever task you assign a supervisor, be sure they’re qualified and trustworthy for the position.
Make sure you are easily reachable should you step away from the project. Your supervisors are bound to run into a problem that either requires your approval to address or will be too complex for them to solve on their own. Remember that communication is key to successful projects.
6. Good Communication
Communication cannot be overstated in terms of importance. Without good communication, expectations aren’t presented properly, problems aren’t addressed, no one is really sure who is responsible for what.
Communicating with your team is the best way to manage and get to know them. Choose a platform which everyone has easy access to, such as a group email or text chain, or even a web-based conference calling service. You can find agenda templates for conference calls online if you’re unsure how to set one up.
Managing a project can be as simple or difficult as you make it. Choosing the right tools and methods to effectively manage your team can mean the difference between an efficient and punctual project, and one that is sub-par at best.