10 Best Practices That Guarantee Successful Project Management
A majority of companies face a high rate of failure when it comes to project completion. Most are comfortable with just finishing a project with minimal success. This detrimental strategy not only affects the team but the overall success of the company.
Businesses who are capable of completing assignments cheaper, better and faster are the ones who are growing. Why? Because they have implemented effective practices for project management.
The best project management strategy is one that strikes a balance between planning, supervising and monitoring
Listed below are ten best practices that ensure successful project management:
1. Use a Project Definition Document as Guide
This step forms the basis for all the work that will be performed. It defines the entire project. Your project definition should include the following items:
Duration, cost and effort estimates
Signature Page (stakeholder or client must sign showing approval of how you plan to proceed)
2. Create a Work Plan
After your project is clearly defined, begin working on a work plan. This is a step by step instruction for making project deliverables and handling the project. It can also include a resource assignment.
3. Define Project Management Procedure
In this step, you need to create an outline of all the resources you plan to use to manage your project. It will include sections such as how the team will handle risk, communication, issues, scope change, quality, etc. The project should be managed proactively and rigorously to ensure that the team and stakeholders have a shared understanding of how the project will be achieved.
4. Regular Supervision of the Project Plan, Schedule, and Budget
Once there is sufficient planning in place, execution of the project work can start. The challenge going forward is to apply discipline and rigor to your project management methods so that your project proceeds as it was planned. To ensure this happens, do the following:
Review your work plan routinely. Are you progressing according to the budget and schedule?
Update the work plan regularly to capture work that is already completed, and more importantly work that is outstanding.
After updating the work plan, determine whether you are proceeding according to the projected outline, duration, cost, etc. If not, evaluate your strategy to get back on track.
Monitor your Budget. How much money has your project consumed thus far? Is the spend proceeding according to the original plan? If you suspect overspending, take proactive measures to help your team work in line with the budget. You may need to request management to raise the budget.
5. Lookout For Warning Signals
The following signs indicate an ensuing problem that may put your project at risk for failure:
Small variance in the budget or schedule begins to grow.
Activities that you assumed were completed are still being sorted out.
Increasing reliance on unscheduled overtime to meet deadlines, particularly at the start of the project.
Declining team morale.
Decreasing quality of service or final product.
Cut back on testing activities, project management time and quality control steps.
As soon as you notice these signals, implement a risk management protocol to help your project get back on track.
6. Ensure Scope Change Approval is in Place
Many projects fail not because of team skill sets or with a schedule or budget estimation, instead because the team had to work on deliverables that were not part of the original project plan. This is scope creep. To manage this risk, you must have approval for scope changes in place. These are provided by stakeholders, i.e., those who are funding the project.
7. Manage Against Scope Creep
A majority of project managers are aware of when to implement scope-change management protocols. These are typically required when a significant new task or function needs to be added to the project. However, many managers forget that even small scope changes can accumulate and completely deter a plan from its path. It takes a skillful and diligent manager to notice scope creep and manage it accordingly.
8. Identify Risks as They Arise
It is necessary for the team to sit together and identify all possible risks.
For each threat, determine its probability and potential impact.
For hazards that are labeled as ‘high,’ implement strategies to mitigate them.
For medium level risks, evaluate them to figure out if it needs proactive management. Low-level risks may exist, but you know there is a possibility that the positive outcome is more likely.
9. Maintain Risk Assessment throughout the Project Lifecycle
Once the project has started, perform a period risk assessment to ensure new risks haven’t surfaced, and the old ones are being managed.
10. Resolve Issues Expediently
Issues must always be resolved with urgency. Although individual team members can help much when they can identify problems, it is the manager who must address them. Some issues are so minute that they don’t pose a risk, whereas some difficulties are active throughout the lifecycle of a project and therefore become a potential risk rather than an urgent one.
Successful project management is a skill that is developed over time with the right resources. With a project management tool, managers can increase their rate of efficiency and successful project completion.
To learn more about this valuable resource, get in touch with ViduPM.