Effective project management plays a crucial role in keeping companies on track, on time, and within budget. Without it, thriving in this economy can be an uphill battle. If projects consistently take too long to finish and rack more costs, it can wreak havoc on your bottom line.
However, handling projects is not as easy as it seems. An effective project manager with a wide range of skills needs to be at the helm. Even then, it won’t be smooth sailing, especially when it involves complex projects.
But there’s no need to fret. In this article, we’ll give you an overview of what project management is and the role of project managers. We’ll then discuss nine tactics to help with your company’s project execution. In the end, you’ll know what it takes to meet your deliverables, milestones, and goals consistently on time.
What Is Project Management And Why Is It Important?
As an entrepreneur, this is something you must be extensively familiar with. Project management is a systematic approach to handling and organizing the tasks, resources, and timelines of a project from its conception to completion.
In addition, it involves the definition of project scope, requirements, and objectives. It also requires the identification of risks and contingencies. Effective project management can help to improve the success rate of projects and ensure that they are completed on time and within budget.
Not only that, but it also aids in the development and monitoring of quality control measures to ensure that all deliverables meet the project objectives competently. Plus, defined and clear project objectives can help ensure that all departments and key stakeholders are on the same page.
There’s no doubt that it’s an important part of any business or organization and is essential for successful projects. With a proper understanding and implementation of project management principles, any project can be completed successfully.
With that, let’s move on and get an overview of what an effective project manager does.
What Is The Role Of An Effective Project Manager?
A ship can’t sail properly without a great captain. Project managers are responsible for coordinating the project team and ensuring that all project requirements are met. They possess critical skill sets that make the whole process move smoothly toward completion.
Here are some project management skills that are crucial for an effective project manager to have:
A. Technical Adaptability
Their role involves using software and tools that require technical skills. In today’s digital economy, almost everything can be digitized, including the process of project management. If you’re a project manager, you’ll come across smart calendars, scheduling tools, booking software, and many more.
But that’s not all. Specific projects may also require you to learn how to use other tools. For instance, if a project requires you to make a business proposal, proposal management software knowledge would be useful. It’ll help expedite the timeline instead of spending hours or days making a single proposal, which can be costly given the time needed to get it done.
B. Effective Communication
Project managers take part in many meetings with the business owner, relevant stakeholders, team leaders, and other key employees, Hence, excellent communication skills are a must-have. They should discuss the projects clearly and relay messages effectively.
Moreover, having this skill set can avoid misunderstandings and inefficiency. Thus, dodging project delays and possibly going over the budget. A soft skill like this also helps with improving a project manager’s people skills by being articulate and thus nurturing relationships with co-workers.
C. Risk Management
Risks are inevitable but they shouldn’t be ignored in hopes that luck will play a role and assume no problem arises. A sign of a capable and skilled project manager is knowing how and what to pinpoint as project risk before the whole process even begins.
Afterward, the development of a risk mitigation plan must start. As such, if the risks do materialize, there’s already a solution in place to avoid derailing the entire project.
The 3 skills mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more skills and knowledge they must know to ensure project success.
So, how does an entrepreneur choose the right one for the company?
How To Choose The Best Project Manager?
There are plenty of project managers with a master's degree in project management or business administration. As such, they have a strong background or fundamental understanding of the whole field. Plus, they’ve been trained to have the necessary skills to succeed in real-life situations.
What’s more, some services specialize in conducting skill assessments. With professional assessments, companies can determine if an applicant is the right one for the position based on the results. It’ll show who has the right skills, including verbal, numerical, and logical. All of which are crucial for a project manager.
Overall, there are ways to filter out the bad project managers from the competent ones. What matters most is that the project manager fits the company's needs, regardless of how the selection process is conducted.
With that, it’s time to move on to the tactics that are going to improve the effectiveness of your project management process.
The 9 Ways To Improve Project Management Effectivity
There’s no magic formula or a one-size-fits-all strategy for project management. However, that doesn’t mean nothing can be done to ensure workflow optimization for companies. Whether you’re a business owner or a project manager, this is a list of tactics you can use to achieve effective project management.
1. Understand The Project
Never start a project without a complete understanding of it. You and the entire team have to know what you need to complete and the steps needed to reach the finish line. One of the best ways to have clarity and complete the projects on time is by defining the project scope.
As such, you need to go through every detail of the project, including the following:
This is a time-consuming task, but if done right, it’s going to save you a lot of time, money, and headache moving forward. Plus, knowing everything about the project allows you to be prepared for any challenges.
2. Prioritize The Tasks
Don’t lump everything together. You have to initiate a prioritization of tasks. By determining the most important aspects of the project, you’ll create an operational project timeline and set due dates accordingly for everything.
You see, if the most important tasks get sidelined, the other parts of the project won’t move forward. When that happens, the whole project will be delayed and may result in going over the project budget.
On top of that, setting your priorities straight allows you to properly allocate resources. When you identify your priorities, you’ll know where to distribute the most budget or assign the most team members.
3. Set Realistic Goals
You won’t achieve anything if the goals aren’t clear. Even if you hit milestones, it’ll most likely take longer. Thus, setting realistic goals is an important part of the process, and it should be done at the initial project planning stage.
But what does "realistic" mean? Simply put, it means something you can achieve. When it comes to this, using the SMART method is a popular choice. Check out the image below to see how it works.
Let’s apply this to a real-life company for a better understanding. For example, GILI Sports is a brand that produces stand up paddle boards, and its SMART goals may look something like the following with the consideration that its products’ popularity is season-dependent:
Specific: To increase website traffic by taking advantage of the rising demand for paddle boards during the summer season.
Measurable: Boost the monthly visitors from 30,000 to 40,000.
Attainable: The marketing team has different strategies in place to pull more website visitors. This includes creating relevant content and utilizing social media platforms.
Relevant: More website traffic leads to more potential paddle board sales, which is vital for the brand’s expansion plans and its commitment to helping save the oceans.
Time-Bound: We want to start seeing results within two months before the summer season kicks off.
As you can see, everything about the goal is clear. Presenting it this way for the team allows them to digest the information better. Plus, it allows them to know what is expected of them and when it should be achieved.
4. Use Project Management Tools
When you're working on a project, it's easy to get overwhelmed by all of the moving pieces. You have to make sure that everyone is doing their job and that the project is coming together as planned. This is when the usage of project management tools enters the chat.
They’ll help you keep track of your work and stay on top of deadlines, which is incredibly useful when making reports regarding project status. Also, they’re great for managing your team, assigning tasks, and organizing your schedule.
What’s more, they’ll help you organize everything and make sure nothing slips through the cracks. When it’s time to choose the right tool for you, try different ones and see which ones fit into your workflow seamlessly.
5. Keep Your Team Engaged
It's no secret that project management is a time-intensive task. The challenge of keeping your team engaged and productive can be a daunting task, especially when deadline pressure is mounting.
So, how do you achieve this? Well, here are some proven suggestions:
Communicate effectively for the best results
Build and manage relationships with the team members
Earn the trust and respect of the teams you’re working with
Be a present leader by being available when your team needs you
Hold productive meetings by only offering them what they need to achieve their tasks
As a project manager or entrepreneur, you need to create a work environment that fosters the growth and development of the whole team. Engaged and productive teams are the backbone of a great project since no one can do it alone. When your team members are happy and empowered, they are at their best. Thus, making the whole process more harmonious.
6. Be Proactive
Being proactive can set a project up for success or failure. Project leaders must constantly look ahead and anticipate problems. As such, you can prepare solutions and address them swiftly without pulling the project into failure.
In addition, always being steps ahead can help you work more efficiently by scheduling accordingly and focusing on more crucial project tasks. As a result, you can get more done in less time, and give you room to further nurture your relationship with the team. Plus, aside from identifying possible issues, being proactive also allows you to spot opportunities.
7. Avoid Being Overburdened
Yes, you want to get things done. Nevertheless, it shouldn't affect your health, either physically or mentally. Taking more than you can handle adds more stress, which can affect the quality of our work. And when big mistakes happen, that will push back the other tasks on your project schedule.
One of the things you could do is schedule short breaks within your work day. You can go walk outside or just sit back in your office and relax. Or you could just mindlessly browse the internet or chat with friends.
The bottom line is to have enough breathing space in your schedule or calendar. So when it’s time to get back to work, you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated. With a clearer mindset and a boost of energy, you’ll get back on track and continue working on the project. Also, less stress can give you a better outlook when making big decisions.
8. Effectively Delegate Tasks
The ability to delegate tasks is a project management skill that reduces stress and helps you accomplish more. Don’t try to do almost everything on your own. The team members are there with great skill sets you can utilize.
Aside from that, the delegation of tasks is a great motivator because it shows that you trust them to complete the tasks successfully. Plus, it can encourage other team members to learn how to work together effectively.
This skill will also allow you to manage your time throughout the day by taking off some of the pressure. Thus, you can focus on the most important priorities. One of the best ways to achieve this is to get yourself a virtual personal assistant (VPA). You could let go of time-consuming tasks such as clearing out your emails if you have a VPA.
Moreover, having a VPA means you won’t have to worry about adding a workspace in the office. They work from home but are still readily available to assist you. You could also give them the task of handling your schedule, which could be quite tedious. As such, that’s another worry off your plate.
You might be thinking, isn’t the hiring process also time-consuming? So, why should I go through that?
Here’s the thing, it doesn’t have to be stressful and time-consuming to hire your VPA. You could use appropriate tools to make the process effortless, including applicant tracking systems. They simplify the hiring process by utilizing AI technology to find the most suitable candidates.
9. Evaluate Your Performance
To improve as a project manager or entrepreneur, you must evaluate your performance after the project's completion. This will allow you to see what areas you're successful in and which areas need improvement.
Although, the evaluation process can be challenging as it requires an honest look at what you’ve done. But it’s a necessary step for self-improvement. Don’t be stuck in your ways and seek ways to grow.
Additionally, it’ll allow you to make adjustments to the way you manage projects and teams. To help you with this task, you could ask your team members to give their honest feedback on how you handled the project. You should also allow them to offer suggestions because whatever it is you do affects them and their work.
Project management is complex, tedious, and sometimes stressful to do. It involves many things between conception and completion. As such, it can be overwhelming at times, and without an effective system in place, projects can crash and burn.
So, what can you do to guarantee that your projects see the light of day?
Well, this list has nine proven tactics you should try. In doing so, you’re putting yourself on the path of improvement. However, you don’t have to do it alone. You can bring the whole team with you on the road to growth, effectiveness, and productivity. And here at Workast, we can assist you with that and make launching projects more seamless. Sign up and get started now.