There are many factors that influence the success of a project, among them the right combination of planning, monitoring and controlling. Getting the balance of the elements right to complete a project on time and within budget can be tricky, so we are looking at some best practice tips that will help you get there.
1. Get all of the project details
Ensuring that you have all of the project details before you begin a project is a vital for creating a comprehensive project scope that will be approved by all stakeholders.
The project scope needs to be as detailed as possible: deliverable dates, budgets and interim milestones should all be included. This will ensure that while changes to the project will happen, they can be correctly managed when something falls out of the project scope.
2. Predefine procedures and resource
Documenting the procedures and resources that will be used to manage the project will create the opportunity for proactive management. Outline sections on how the team will manage scope change and creep, issues, risk, quality, communication, and so on. By doing so, the project team and all stakeholders will have a common understanding of how the project will be managed.
3. Create a good team
The success of a project is completely dependent on the project team. Therefore, it is important to have a team in place whose skills and experience add real value to the project. Try to keep the team as small as possible without overworking your resources – a bloated team becomes much more difficult to manage.
4. Use a project management system that everyone will use
Email is still the most common form of communication, however it is inefficient and largely impractical for managing projects. Use a project management system that keeps all of your project information and communication central – this will make finding things simpler, saving time and making your team more productive. A good project system is especially useful for remote or scattered teams, allowing smooth communication and sharing of information and resources.
5: Watch out for red flags!
Often the warning signs of problems come long before the issues really start. Keep your eyes open for signs that your project might be in trouble. If something sets off a red flag, take the quick and appropriate action: raise visibility through risk management and put together a plan to proactively ensure that the project stays on track. Some things to look out for:
Changes in schedule or budget that start to get bigger early in the project. You may think that these can be made up later, but more often than not they tend to grow rather than shrink. Address these sooner rather than later before they become an exponentially growing problem.
Unscheduled overtime happening more often than not. Unscheduled overtime sometimes happens when there has been a hiccup and a deadline needs to be met. However, if every deadline is requiring overtime this needs to be addressed early.
Poor team morale. Poor team morale is one of the quickest routes to project failure. Keep an eye on your team and find ways to remedy poor spirits. Here is a great article on Improving team dynamics in your project team.