Most of us juggle many responsibilities at work, and the stronger our project management skills, the better. If you manage your work projects more efficiently, you’ll get them done faster, and you may even get that promotion you’ve had your eyes on.
You can improve your project management with the tips highlighted below.
1. Use Fast, Secure File Sharing
If you manage a big editing project with a dozen users, the last thing you want is to send emails with attachments. Many projects have been derailed or delayed by team members updating the wrong document.
But you can easily avoid this problem with secure file sharing systems like Box.com that let you send large files fast. So everyone on your team will get the document quickly, and you’ll know that everyone is on the same page.
2. Watch The Time
When you start a new task you’ve never done before, you should time how long it takes you, at least the first or second time you do it.
When you do it the third time, you know how much time you should allocate every time you perform that task. After you know the job well, you will schedule your time more efficiently and keep your day on track.
Note that you can do the same thing with your project teams. Keeping track of how long it takes to do tasks for the entire project will keep everything on time and budget.
3. Think About The End At The Beginning
Experienced project managers know that every successful project has a definitive start and end date. Why? Because when you can see ‘the finish line’ of a project, it keeps you focused on the goal.
It’s like when a runner does a marathon. Knowing that the finish line is miles down the road provides fuel to keep you going.
Keeping the project end goal in mind also helps you to avoid distractions and stay focused until the work is done.
4. Think About Others
When you’re running a major work project, please remember to talk to family and friends about the task, including deadlines and the concentration you need to meet essential goals.
It’s also vital to talk to your project team members about your personal and work schedule to keep expectations in check. For example, tell them when you do your best work and when you need to take care of personal commitments.
5. Ensure Great Communication
Every excellent project manager needs to communicate well. Communicating with company executives, programmers, writers, finance, HR, and more will ensure that the project stays on target.
If you don’t have clear communication in your project team, things will go off track quickly. Remember, plans and priorities almost always change during a project, and scope often increases. These things happen often, but all changes and updates need to be communicated clearly.
Always strive to keep every communication channel open, so you have the information you need to keep your supervisors informed.
Don’t Strive For Perfection
We all want to shoot for perfection when overseeing a project. But there is an almost endless litany of factors and circumstances that can affect the outcome.
For this reason, you should reject perfection and focus on meeting vital project goals. If your project meets its predetermined objective, then it was a success.
Beware of slowing project progress by obsessing over every detail that you can improve. Instead, concentrate on the big picture and meeting critical project benchmarks.
Share Project Requirements
A common problem in failed work projects is team members didn’t understand the requirements. In addition, if the team has different understandings of the scope of the work, problems will arise.
That’s why you should get all team members together when the project starts to ensure everyone is on the same page. Then, ask and answer the following questions with your team in the room:
- What are the deliverables for each stage of the project?
- What are the benefits and goals of the project?
- What are the project risks?
- What’s the time and budget?
- How is success defined for this project?
Focus On Leadership
Leadership isn’t about giving people orders; it’s usually about working with others and providing help and guidance when others need it. Also, great leaders motivate people to use their strengths to make the project the best possible.
It’s easy for the PM to focus constantly on budget, time, and scope, and no doubt, these are vital. But project managers also need to be there to help every team member do their job.
To be a better manager, you need to know each team member, including what they do and don’t do well. Take time at the start of projects to learn about each employee and how they have fared on past projects.
When you know as much as you can about each team member’s skills and tendencies, you’ll be able to assign tasks to those who can best handle them.
Be Leery Of Multitasking
The idea that you need to be a skilled multitasker to succeed in the organization is an old one. Problem is, research shows it doesn’t work.
The American Psychological Association has found that routinely switching between work tasks negatively affects productivity. We lose focus and attention, too.
So how do you get enough done if you aren’t multitasking? Reduce your distractions, such as social media check-ins and non-work-related conversations. That way you can improve your efficiency and focus and get the task done well and in less time.
Learn From Other Project Managers
Great project management isn’t just about using one skill set. A major step to being better at your job is viewing project management as an opportunity to learn. You can increase your project management knowledge by studying how others do it.
For example, think about opening dialogues with other project managers on LinkedIn to find out how they manage their teams and projects. You might be surprised at how much you’ll pick up from other experienced managers.
As you take on new projects, remember these tips to ensure the project goes well and every team member has something they can take pride in.