5 tips for successful project management

 Jan 29, 2014

When it comes to project management, there are many challenges from beginning to end. There are several external and internal factors that may affect the original project timeline, budget and deliverables. These factors may cause the project to derail from the plan, but there are actions that you as the Project Manager can take to help keep the project on track. Here are 5 helpful tips that Project Managers can implement to ensure successful project management. 1. Gain buy-in from all the stakeholders to your project This action will ensure that you have a very solid foundation for your project plan, stakeholders’ expectations are met, success criteria are established, and roles and responsibilities are defined. 2. Develop a project milestones chart This can be a simple table with columns for 'task names,' 'planned dates,' 'actual dates,' and 'responsible resources.' You can use this document in the project implementation phase to help monitor and control the project progress. It will also help you spot problem areas in the actual work schedule. 3. Avoid scope creep Scope creep is when additional work is later attached to the original project plan that was approved. Scope creep can delay your project end date as well as the project quality. Although changes to the original project plan are inevitable, it is ideal to keep the project within the original scope. To avoid scope creep, make sure that you clearly define what is in the scope and what is out of scope. This way, you will overcome nasty surprises. 4. Identify risks and risk factors  Risks can delay the project end date and negatively impact the quality of the project deliverables. Once you identified the risks, rank them and prepare a risk management plan. You can use a risk breakdown structure to categorise risks into technical, external and organisational categories. Knowing the causes and the effects of risks, you will be able to better manage and keep them under control. It will also allow you to factor in time contingencies and a general budget reserve for project risks. 5. Constantly communicate project information clearly to all stakeholders Create a communication matrix so you have a plan in place which sets the communication frequency, the target stakeholder, the channel of communication and the format. While some stakeholders will be happy with a phone call, others may request formal reports, PowerPoint presentations, or emails. Make sure you find out this information as early as possible. For successful project management, I would recommend using Project Management software application such as Microsoft Project. Such programs can help you develop a project plan, calculate project costs and critical paths, manage and control project progress, analyse the earned value, and create professional Project and Excel reports. To learn more about Project Management, you should definitely consider New Horizons' Project Management Fundamentals or Microsoft Project training programs.

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About the Author:

Magdalena Todor  

With over 20 years experience as a facilitator and university lecturer, Magda is one of our most senior and experienced trainers. With previous practical on the job experience as a project manager she embodies a brilliant balance of training experience and business knowledge. With every event she delivers, Magda takes a wholehearted approach to ensure every course is impactful, relevant and a genuinely positive learning experience for all.

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