When it comes to managing a project, we all know the drill. Phases like planning, objective identification and streamlining project development process are all part of our daily bread, but are there any practices which project managers miss out on? Here are a few unique practices which will spark the interest of every project manager who wants to succeed.
Market and customer research
You’d be surprised to learn how many project managers never bother to find out who is their client. Just like before a job interview, project managers should investigate the organization and prepare the outline of the project that will satisfy their client and perfectly fit their industry expectations.
As a project manager, you’ll need to know where they’re coming from and where they’re headed. This information about history and projected future of client organization will help you to understand their needs and document crucial customer information. It will grant you more credibility with your client – they’ll be impressed that you’ve done your homework.
Compile project information early on
Before planning your project, you’ll need as much information as you can get. Contact anyone who might dish you some key facts – it can be an account manager, the project sponsor or the owner of the company. Make sure to familiarize yourself with all the requirements, estimates or past project mockups. You’ll need it all to put together a working project schedule.
The power of change management
Stakeholders might change their minds about project deliverables any time. Sometimes business environments change after the project starts, so assumptions powering the project may no longer be valid. Successful project managers realize that the scope or deliverables of the project are never stable.
But changes cannot be accepted – they need to be managed. Project managers are there to make the necessary decisions about which changes to incorporate immediately and which ones can wait. The project manager should control how changes are applied, plan them and allocate appropriate resources accordingly.
The importance of a kickoff session
A proper project kickoff session is a must. Gather all your team and communicate the project plan to them. Set proper expectations, finalize key milestones, be clear about assumptions and create a schedule for the project. This session is crucial for fostering team engagement with the project.
Risks can impact the successful outcome of the project. Be it lack of technical skills or delayed hardware delivery, you’ll need to identify main risks and prepare to deal with them. Ideally, you should construct a plan to avoid or mitigate the risks and reduce their impact.
Naturally, it’s impossible to manage all risks – there’s simply way too many of them and not all will have the same impact on the project. Identify the risks, estimate the likelihood of each risk occurring and then consider their impact on the project. Manage risks which bear the highest risk factors. Make sure to keep an eye on them and look for new ones – they really pop out of thin air. Project managers who don’t bother to consider the risks will be usually unprepared to manage them once they occur and so might put the entire project in danger of a failure.
Project management requires quite a few skills and a lot of know-how, but there are certain things which should become the habit of all project managers. All tips listed above will significantly help to improve their chances of success in any industry.