Project Management Best Practices
Very often people agree that project management seems to be straightforward. You just need to set a deadline & budget, select the right people to complete the tasks, and the project gets done.
However, the reality is quite the opposite; project management is rarely straight forward. A number of things can go wrong e.g. you might select wrong people for the project, people don’t know what is expected from them, wrong information is passed on, project scope changed, deadlines are not met, and the worst of all, the budget allocated for the project goes in a deficit.
So, the question arises, what should be done to avoid such consequences, and increase the odds of projects being completed on time and within the budget? Numerous project leaders and project management experts came up with different theories for successful project closure. Here is our cherry picked list of action items that you should follow for increasing the potential of a project being successful.
The most important thing to do before the project kick-off is to have detailed project scope approved by all the stakeholders; this ensures that you have a solid foundation for the project. This will decrease any ambiguity in the flow and also help you define approx. estimates for completion of the tasks involved in the project, which is ultimately going to have an impact on the budget allocated for the project as well.
Most of the project’s timeline and budget is impacted because the project details are not discussed with all stakeholders, and the chances of implementing an incorrect flow increases.
Breakdown the project in small milestones/tasks
We have all read in theory that planning is one of the critical phases which can decide either the project will be successful or not. Effective project managers try to breakdown the huge chunk of activities in smaller tasks and sub-tasks.
This breakdown helps you and your team to keep on track, so that you are able to complete the project within a specified timeline. Once you break it down into smaller tasks and sub-tasks, it is easy to know what has been achieved and what else needs to be done.
Define realistic timelines to achieve all the tasks; if you expect un-realistic targets to achieve, the project is certainly going to be a failure without any further thinking.
Select the correct mix of people
You need to have the right project team in place, if you want the project to be successful. Select people whose skills and experience can be used as an asset instead of burden for the project.
The selection is not just for the developers or designers, this selection should happen from the project manager on down (without any emotional attachment to a particular person). This also helps you to limit the number of people involved in a project.
System for managing the project
The most obvious communication channel is emails these days, you can use this for communication related to project, but it can hinder the progress. If you are looking for a specific document that was sent via an email a month ago, this could possibly take up your half an hour or more (depending on the back and forth you have done on the same email), and if there are revisions to the document, best of luck finding the finalized version.
When you have multiple clients, it is better to use a project management tool that can help you maintain separate spaces for each of the project. So, when you need, you can easily find specific project related documents, discussions, change requests etc. in one place, rather than scrolling through your emails.
Frequent project status meetings
Frequent communication with the team and the client about the status is the best way to ensure the project is on track. When you do it internally with your own team, you get the clear picture of what has been completed and what remains. When you have a meeting with the client, you can set the expectations according to the work that has been completed.
At times, project managers hesitate while discussing with the client and do not provide the clear picture, they think the client might not be happy about it (if the expected timeline is not going to be met).
Take my word. Clients are a part of your team. If you provide a clear picture to them and let them know the actual picture, they will understand and chances are they might get involved with your team to help you out in any confusion you may have. For this, it is important to understand the goals of your client early on. If you share the same goal, letting the client know wouldn’t be much of a problem.
Truth is, Project Management is not as easy as you think it is. Even though if you follow the above suggestions, it may take some time to cook up a perfect recipe for successful project completion customized for you and your team. It may also seem to look a lot of work before the project starts, but believe us you would definitely see a positive impact when you start following a particular process.
Those of you, who think this is it, you are wrong. This is just the beginning of our discussions. We will be posting more about the project management aspects and let you know further about how you can make a project successful in our upcoming posts. While we work on our next post related to project management, we would love to hear your feedback on how the above points helped you in your projects.
Now, if you are a fan of UX, don’t forget to check out how to design UX for different persona.