Top 40 Project Management Tips for Success


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project management tipsProject success is based on many different factors. Below is a list of tips/reminders that every project manager should review and keep handy to help projects stay on track. Which project management tip do you like the most?

Helpful Tips:

  1. Planning is the most critical phase of the project because of the key decisions that are made.
  2. Customer must inform the PM of changes in the environment that would affect the deliverables.
  3. Project kickoff involves setting expectations and understanding how the project will be run.
  4. A project is successful when the needs of both the customer and the organization have been satisfied.
  5. The goal of initiation is to set direction, what the project should accomplish, and identify constraints.
  6. The issues list is maintained by the PM and is updated for each project team meeting.
  7. Capture lessons learned during the project to review upon completion with team and customer.
  8. Can a project finish on time and on budget and still fail? Yes – customer satisfaction is critical.
  9. End solution usability is a key determiner in overall project success. Involve end users & SMEs.
  10. Peer review all project deliverables to avoid errors and to keep customer confidence high.
  11. Educate the project team on properly charging effort to keep the project budget on track.
  12. Watch project scope carefully – tell the customer “no” if it doesn’t match requirements.
  13. Don’t leave the customer high and dry at deployment – plan well for handing the customer off to support.
  14. All key communication must go through the project manager – set this expectation at kickoff.
  15. When the team works together to create and monitor the project plan they take ownership.
  16. Understanding the goals of the project increases the level of commitment to project success.
  17. Use team-based tools for planning and decision making so that the team can reach consensus quickly.
  18. To make a project meaningful to the team PM must connect the project to the strategic goals of the org.
  19. Project Management is more about managing the customer than anything else – success begins and ends there.
  20. Spend enough time planning up front to avoid re-work later – practice could save the project 80% budget.
  21. Smart to plan for risk at beginning of a project – smarter to continuously review it.
  22. Getting customer requirements correct and complete is critical to the success of every project.
  23. Brainstorm with stakeholders to gather all possible information about potential risks to the project.
  24. 81% of surveyed PMs are producing regular weekly status reports on their projects.
  25. Always keep the customer in the loop on issues and risks – their participation is critical for success.
  26. Business risk is inherent in all business activities – the business sponsor owns that risk, not the PM.
  27. Poor communication is cited as the primary cause of project failure by 40% surveyed.
  28. 57% surveyed conduct lessons learned less than 10% of the time – this contributes to project failure.
  29. Early project assumptions are also risks and must be managed throughout the engagement just as risks.
  30. 81% surveyed say customer satisfaction is the key determiner of project success.
  31. Key PMO success factor #1 – Company executive leadership must buy-in to the PMO.
  32. Key PMO success factor #2 – The PMO must be staffed with experienced project managers and leaders.
  33. Key PMO success factor #3 – The PMO must have a methodology in place with good repeatable processes.
  34. Key PMO success factor #4 – The PMO Director must lead the PMO, not projects.
  35. Key PMO success factor #5 – The PMO must be the focal point for all projects – PMO relevance is key.
  36. Two key documents to have in place early: requirements document and the project definition document.
  37. Develop a relationship with the project sponsor – he has leadership authority to overcome obstacles.
  38. Consistent flow of project information allows for good decision making-last week’s info won’t help.
  39. Don’t forget to record the assumptions and constraints of the project in the SOW.
  40. Risk planning must happen repeatedly throughout the project – the team must revisit risk continuously.
Thanks to Brad Egeland for those tips.

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