Did you know that only 58 percent of businesses understand the importance of project management?
Is your company part of this group, or are you still on the fence when it comes to identifying and implementing project management best practices?
It’s not enough just to have a “best practices” definition or be able to answer questions like “What are best practices for project management?” You also need to know how to put those practices into action.
Read on to learn about 10 project management principles you ought to keep in mind for your next big task.
1. Document Everything
A good starting point for every project manager is to make sure you’re documenting everything. The better your documentation process is, the easier it will be to keep everyone up to speed and ensure nothing important falls through the cracks.
Document all of the features, functions, and tasks that need to be completed with regard to a specific project. This helps you to set clear goals for yourself and your team. It also allows you to show project stakeholders where your team is at in the completion process and provide a visual representation of how much progress everyone has made.
2. Estimate the Right Way
Many project managers make the mistake of throwing out wild guesses when estimating projects. They don’t want to do the work up front to figure out how long a project will take, and they often end up not giving their team members enough time to complete it. To avoid this, be thorough in your estimations right from the beginning.
Think carefully about how you need to break down the work and what it took to complete past projects like this one. Consider the opinions of your team members, too. Remember, you don’t have to handle the estimations all on your own.
3. Use Project Briefs
A project brief makes it easier for you to come to an agreement with your project stakeholders. Put together a clear project brief for each project that covers things like objectives, deliverables, milestones, timing, and the resources needed for delivery.
The more detailed the brief is, the more inclined stakeholders are to buy-in. The brief (when it’s clear and well thought out) also helps to guide your team through the project launch process.
4. Create Clear Project Plans
In addition to putting together briefs for stakeholders, the creation of clear project plans also needs to be on your project management checklist. Project plans ensure that everyone on the team understands the scope of the assignment and what they need to do get it done (as well as when they need to get it done).
When putting together project plans, be sure to include dependencies between certain tasks that need to happen in a specific order, and add notes whenever possible to clarify important details.
5. Monitor Workload
At this point, your team ought to be ready to hit the ground running with their specific assignments. This doesn’t mean you get to sit back and wait for them to finish working, though.
As a project manager, it’s your job to monitor their workload and ensure everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do. This also gives you an opportunity to make adjustments to the plan if it seems that one team member has too much on their plate.
6. Clarify Responsibilities
Don’t be afraid to clarify responsibilities if there seems to be confusion among your team members. As soon as you notice potential confusion, address the problem and make sure everyone knows what they need to be doing.
The sooner you tackle these issues, the better. You can ensure the project stays on track and you can prevent wasted time, which could occur if two team members are confused and accidentally end up doing the same task, for example.
7. Choose the Right Software
The right project management software can make all of these best practices much easier to implement. When searching for the right software, ask yourself questions like “Which of the following can be used without coordinating with managers of succeeding activities?” and “Which of these offers features like Gantt charts and RACI charts to simplify the process of making assignments?”
8. Check-in Often
Don’t just monitor your team members’ workloads and progress from afar. Connect with them on a regular basis and see how they’re doing. Head to their desks to find out how they’re progressing and if they have any questions, or schedule a weekly check-in where they can bring up concerns and ask questions.
9. Define Quality Standards
If you want a project to be done well and completed on time, you need to ensure there’s no confusion when it comes to quality standards.
Before anyone begins working on the project, talk to your project stakeholders to find out what they consider to be quality work. Break down each part of the project and ask them what they want to see so you can learn more about their standards. Then, take that information to your team members and make sure everyone’s clear on what they need to do.
10. Emphasize Project Purpose
If you want to help your team members discover more about the importance of good project management, be sure to emphasize the purpose of each task throughout the completion process. This will help them stay motivated, and it can also raise their employee satisfaction scores.
When people know why they’re doing something in a particular way, they’re much more inclined to actually do that thing correctly the first time around. This is where regular communication and check-ins can come in very handy for you and your team.
Put These Project Management Principles to the Test
As you can see, there’s plenty to keep in mind when establishing good project management practices. If you apply these essential project management principles, though, it’ll be easier for you to streamline your process and make sure everything gets done correctly and in the most efficient way.
Do you want to learn more about project management? If so, check out some of our other tech- and business-related articles today.