As a project manager, when you approach your project reactively, it will most likely guarantee that the project you’re handling will be over budget, overdue, and will ultimately miss its original goals.
You have to be proactive in your approach to managing projects so that you can be prepared for any situation that may come your way. But how do you do this and ensure success? Here are some key tips that you can apply so that your project will remain within budget and will be finished on time.
Tip #1: Get to Know Your Team’s Strengths and Weaknesses
When evaluating the skill set needed for an effective team for your project, you have to strategics your selection well. Choose team members who are not only skilled but who also have the positive attitude that can help in pushing the project forward.
It’s easy to see the strengths of the team members. The challenge is identifying each of your team member’s weaknesses so that those may be addressed and you can prevent it from having any negative impact on the project.
whenever adding team members think also about the risk of too many players that may slow down the progress of the project.
Tip #2: Before Starting, Know the Project’s Scope
The budget of the project should not be mere guesses or some numbers that are not really taken seriously. The same goes for the schedule. It is not something that should be just this imaginary line that can be moved or altered.
Projects that end successfully are those that started with a clearly defined scope. As a project manager, you should have an idea of the scope of the project even before it commences. You ought to do some good research so that you will have an idea.
During your first meeting with the team, provide a creative brief or project brief so you can effectively communicate to them the project’s scope. It is important that everyone involved will know this before starting any task so that everyone is aligned with the vision that you have set for the project.
Tip #3: Be Realistic with Your Deadlines
Being the project manager, you may be tempted to set the bar high and impress your clients and other stakeholders that you and your team can hit the mark. However, you have to balance out your excitement, your tendency to over commit, and what’s really realistically attainable.
To help your team get over the overwhelming feeling of the huge project goals, break it down into bite-sized tasks that are more manageable. This way, you can assign corresponding due dates to the smaller tasks. Your team will also see them as more doable and unintimidating.
Tip #4: Make the Team Understand Important Schedules
You may be able to create a completely ironed out schedule and plan for the project. However, this will all go to waste if you don’t get the team members’ input. When you are planning about the important schedule, include your team.
This way, they are aware of the vital details about this part of the project. Involving them will also ensure that there aren’t going to be any excuses once the final schedule and plans for the project have been set.
Your team members should be able to feel that they are part of the planning process so that they will be more accountable to the project’s schedule which they had a say in and helped finalize.
Tip #5: Use Appropriate Tools for Collaboration
You have to assess if the current system that you have for collaborating with your team member is efficient. If you spend countless hours sending out emails and attachments, you have to think about a better system that isn’t so time-consuming.
This is where project management tools can play an important part. You can centralize the team’s communication lines while everybody involved can see the progress that has been made for the project.
A good PM tool should be able to allow you to analyze data, assign tasks, set deadlines, and share documents with one another. There are several tools available for this. Choose one that will fit the needs of your team for better collaboration.
Tip #6: Open Communication
Encourage your team members to communicate openly. As the project manager, you have to be approachable and easy to talk to. Sure you want to be respected but at the same time, don’t be intimidating. Welcome questions and suggestions. Your team members should be able to communicate with you easily if they are facing any challenges or if they have an idea that can help with the project.
Give time for each of your team members so you can personally converse with them about how they are dealing with their tasks. Appreciate them when they have successfully done a good job. When they are faced with challenges, support them and encourage them more.
Tip #7: Watch Out for Red Flags
Know the warning signs that something is about to get derailed from the goals of the project. It is better if you identify what the red flags are so you can adjust accordingly and avert any major disaster.
Always remember that you have to be proactive rather than reactive. Doing so will allow you to make quick but precise decisions to make sure that the project is heading in the right direction.
Tip #8: Celebrate the Little Successes
What you need is momentum – achieve it with little success over common tasks and your team members won’t be paralyzed with fear that they may not be able to do it right.
There are so many other ways that you can make sure that your project will be within schedule and within budget. These are just some of the tips that you can try if you haven’t been applying them already.
Remember that it is important to have everything settled even before you start with the project. Involve your team members so that they can have a say on the schedule and what is doable within a certain period. Be realistic in setting your goals for the team. And lastly, don’t forget to appreciate and encourage each team member for doing a good job.