There’s no denying that project management is not an easy job. It is an amalgamation of several activities, from the starting to the finishing of several activities. Based on project goals, managers select and lead a suitable team to achieve the desired result within a stipulated time.
It sure is an arduous job, but you can accomplish your objective if you have the right skillset and follow an effective process.
This blog discusses detailed analysis of each step and the necessary skills required to make the project a success.
But first, let’s start with the definition of project management.
What is project management?
According to PMBOK,
“Project management is the process that involves initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing a project to achieve specific goals through the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques.”
Effective project management ensures alignment with the organizational goals and its objectives. In addition, it creates a roadmap for executing them effectively and minimizes risk factors during the delivery. Thus, leading the project to success.
Now that we know what project management is and how it helps shape the business. Let’s understand what the project manager does to make the project management process efficient.
What is the role of a project manager?
Project managers are responsible for planning, tracking, and controlling the project to produce the desired deliverable and meet stakeholder expectations. Moreover, they have to lead the team members, manage suppliers, ensure strong team communication, and more.
Here are a few of the primary responsibilities of a project manager:
- First, formulate an effective project plan.
- Keep all project constraints in check.
- Identify and assemble the right resources for the project.
- Clearly define specific tasks and timelines for every part of the project to the team members.
- Identify and mitigate roadblocks, negotiating disagreements, and so on.
- Engage stakeholders and keep them in the loop.
- Keep team morale high, and provide training and mentoring.
Vital tips for successful project management
If you are an inexperienced project manager, you will find it hard to manage a project. But with proper planning and a strategic approach, you can deliver the desired result. Here is a rundown of the crucial project management tips for beginners that will surely make the project delivery profitable.
Understand the goals and objectives of the project
As a project manager, you must understand your overall mission. You should be aware of the result, the milestones that need to be achieved, and so on.
Understanding the project’s vision beforehand helps to develop the process needed to articulate the goals properly. Thus, it helps to keep the project on track. Besides, having proper knowledge of the deliverables avoids project creep. Excessive scope creep kills many projects as they go over budget and miss deadlines.
Create a work breakdown structure
A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a hierarchical and deliverable-oriented deconstruction of the project. It helps in workload management. As the WBS contains all the tasks and subtasks of the project, it’s an essential framework for planning and scheduling.
With the help of a WBS, you can break down the large projects into more manageable pieces, making it easier to plan, schedule, and deliver. In general, there are four primary levels of a WBS:
- The top-level: The project title or final deliverable.
- Controls account: The main project phases and deliverables.
- Work packages: The group of tasks that lead to the controls account level.
- Activities: Tasks needed to complete the work package.
While creating the WBS, project managers can take a top-down approach to successfully identify all the activities needed to deliver the project.
Recognize project roles and responsibilities
You must have a proper understanding of all the project roles and their associated responsibilities. For example, let’s assume that you are heading a construction project. And for that, you will need:
- Estimators: The estimator is responsible for foreseeing the costs, materials, and labor required to complete a task.
- Architects: The architect is responsible for envisioning the client’s needs and developing a creative solution.
- Supervisors: The supervisor oversees the construction activities and ensures communication between the field workers and the management office.
- Engineers: Engineers use various technologies to create plans for their projects and oversee their implementation.
- Construction Workers: They operate heavy machinery, lift hefty objects, and perform typical construction tasks.
Only when you have clarity over the roles and responsibilities can you evaluate the resource demand. Based on that, you will be able to request the concerned resource manager for suitable personnel.
Follow a structured resource requisition method.
Once the project manager estimates the resource required to execute every task successfully, he/she requests the same from the concerned resource manager. The resource manager then looks into the pool of skilled workforce and allocates them to the project. This process of placing a formal request to fill the project vacancies before the initiation date is known as resource requesting.
For a seamless requisition process, project managers first specify the skillset, primary role, resource cost, and other essential attributes to get the right person for the job. Using this information, the resource manager starts looking for suitable personnel across the enterprise and assigns them to the project.
Manage resources effectively and efficiently.
For a project manager, the most significant concern is to deliver the project within time and budget. Therefore, mastering the art of project resource management is crucial for successful delivery. You must ensure resources are productively utilized on projects for maximum profitability while enhancing their engagement for timely delivery.
A powerful resource management solution can unleash the potential of your workforce. It consolidates all information on a single platform. Using this information, you can allocate the right resources to projects for timely and cost-effective delivery. In addition, it provides complete visibility across the enterprise and helps leverage global resources from low-cost locations. As a result, you can substantially reduce project resource costs without compromising quality.
Communicate with team members and stakeholders
Managing projects requires effective communication with your team and stakeholders. As a project manager, you must ensure that everyone is on the same page and has all the necessary information to keep the project going. To keep your team on track, you must schedule regular meetings. After each session, emailing minutes of the meeting or action items discussed ensures that everyone is on the same page.
Moreover, as you will be reporting progress to your stakeholders, they need to be kept in the loop. As they are the decision-makers, they must know what is going on in the project. If any new requests come in from the client or your team receives praise for their work, you must share it with them.
Have a proper risk management strategy
Every project that we deal with has either internal or external risks or both. However, one can manage them with an intelligent contingency plan. As a project manager, you must have a risk management strategy to identify, assess, and mitigate any potential risks.
Your approach to risk management influences your overall potential to manage risks. It should take care of the following:
- Resolving the identified risks in compliance with your firm’s guidelines, local laws, and regulations.
- Ensuring optimal and effective utilization of resources.
- Empowering your decision-making and planning process by assessing opportunities and threats well in advance.
- Driving value creation by promoting an effective response to the uncertainties.
Use proper tools
Project management software tools help deliver projects effectively by allowing you to manage tasks, track progress, and streamline communication. Thus, before choosing which tools to use, it is essential to analyze your needs and identify which options are the best. First, you should determine which features you need and then check various tools. Here are the qualities you should look for in project management tools:
- An application that is easy for you to understand.
- It should provide cross-platform integration, i.e., you should be able to use the tool on any device or platform.
- It must allow you to create Gantt charts, meeting calendars, task lists, baselines, automation, and so on.
- You should be able to allocate/move resources between tasks and measure their performance.
- It must provide real-time business intelligence for timely decision-making.
Crucial skills for project management
A project manager must have specific skills that will help him/her manage projects. Here is a rundown of all the considerable skills that a project manager must have:
As a project manager, you’re responsible for leading a team towards achieving a goal. You must look after your team and make sure that they are motivated. You should be able to communicate with your team and ensure that you do not strain your members. The role of project manager demands a calm and composed personality, one who can lead by example and carry the team to success.
It is a skill that one can master with experience. Every project has specific tasks, and all these tasks have different time frames. A project manager should know how to manage a complex timeline consistently and help others stay on that schedule. Likewise, he/she must foresee issues that could hamper the timeline and suggest solutions to keep up the pace.
A project manager creates a budget before project initiation. But it has to be realistic and also meet the financial needs of the project. After creating and finalizing the funding, you must ensure that the project stays within the stipulated budget. Therefore, having profound cost management skills is crucial for controlling project costs.
Resources are required to execute and complete a project successfully. As project managers, you should spend considerable time planning and managing their activities. First, you have to estimate the resource requirement and create open positions that the resource manager will fulfill. Then, once deployed, you must ensure that the assigned resources perform at their maximum potential and complete the delivery. To ascertain that they meet their anticipated performance goals, you must have practical resource management skills.
As mentioned earlier, every project has risks attached to it. You have to calculate these issues before they become problems. Thus, you must know how to identify, assess, and control risk. Moreover, there will be unanticipated issues that may arise. You need to have a mitigation plan in place to handle those when they come up.
No matter how much you plan, you will have to make some decisions based on the criticality of situations. Critical thinking helps you analyze the data to make informed and timely decisions. Based on that, you carry that knowledge throughout the project as conditions change. It helps you remain proactive and lets you make calls when needed.
To sum up, effective project management is a combination of skills and an efficient process. Here are some takeaways that can make every project a success:
- Determine the objective and desired outcome of the project.
- Develop the milestones and deliverables of each stage.
- Identify the project constraints and ways to manage them.
- Create a proper project plan and schedule tasks as per the timeline.
- Identify the risks or warning flags that might surface.
- Determine the tools to ease the process.
- Allocate the right resources to the tasks.
- Communicate regularly with the members and stakeholders.
- Make sure that everyone knows the status of the project at all times.
- Lead the team to project success.
SAVIOM has over 20 years of experience helping multinational clients manage their resources efficiently and effectively. With over 20 years of experience, this Australian-based MNC has a global presence across 50 countries and has helped 100+ clients meet their specific business goals. Saviom also provides tools for project portfolio management, professional service automation, and workforce planning software. So, SAVIOM can help your business to establish an efficient system geared towards your specific business challenges.