Keeping projects moving forward fluidly and on budget is no easy task. In fact, as many 70% of projects are prone to failure due to a number of reasons.
Some fail due to lack of proper goal alignment, others due to poor communication, others end up with scope creep that was never adjusted for. Lack of confidence right from the start also is a common problem when it comes to managing projects. Keeping all those moving parts going in the right direction can be a daunting task.
Even big companies like IBM see a majority of their projects falling short of meeting all of their three key goals: schedule, budget, and quality.
But the good news is that by having a good support partner and adopting the proper tools and best practices, you can conquer project headaches and bring your project in on time and on budget.
If you’ve been struggling with how to better manage your projects, read on for our best tips on properly managing multiple projects to a successful conclusion.
Best Practices for Skillful Project Management
Once you know the secrets of great project management, you’ll no longer be intimidated at the prospect of heading up yet another project undertaking, but instead be ready to go.
1. Get Input for Realistic Timelines
While you may think that your graphics department can do the artwork for your project in 2 days, if you ask them, you might find that 2 weeks is more realistic. Often project planners will start mapping out timelines without checking in with the people responsible for each various task.
Trying to “guestimate” will only set you up for missed deadlines down the road and a frustrated team being asked to do what’s not possible. When planning your initial timelines for each task and the project as a whole, involve all team members so you can start with realistic expectations.
2. Streamline Communications
Businesses cite team communication as having the biggest impact on project outcome, with 52% stating it’s the main determining factor for project success or failure.
If you’re trying to use email to keep track of who’s doing what when it comes to a project, you’ll end up with people spending hours searching for messages in inboxes and dealing with confusion.
There’s a reason why team chat tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams have become so popular. They streamline team communications by allowing you to set up chat channels (by department, project, client, etc.) and keep everyone informed of what’s happening in real-time.
(They also integrate nicely with project management software, which is our next tip!)
3. Use Project Management Software
An impressive 77% of high-performing projects use project management software. This type of cloud application often uses what’s known as a Kanban board, which gives you a visual representation of moving your tasks through a project timeline.
While each app is slightly different, the main components are:
- Your project (for which you’ll create tasks and subtasks)
- Your workflow (columns for things like “in progress” and “awaiting approval”)
- Your tasks (these often take the form of virtual cards that hold all the task information)
Project management software gives you a place to assign tasks, know exactly what’s going on with a task (eliminating the need to continually follow up), comment on tasks, share files and folder, and view reports on project timelines, workloads, and much more.
There are many different styles of project management tools out there, some emphasize simplicity while others have the complexity that enterprise companies need. Using our CIO as a service can help you invest in the one that fits your company’s needs best.
4. Keep Up with Your Budget in Real-Time
If you’re not keeping track of expenses in real-time, you could end up finding out at the last minute that your project’s over budget. By using cloud technologies that allow for real-time job-costing, you can get an automated alert if a cost exceeds what was planned for.
You can also know immediately if you’re coming in under budget and may be able to reallocate resources to help another area of the project. The right technology tools can automate the process so you know what’s going on with the money without having to make a ton of phone calls and can adjust on the fly to ensure a successful project outcome.
5. Use Project Milestones to Track Progress
Planning milestones into your project helps you keep your team on track and ensure you’re not going to get to your deadline only to find out you have to pull multiple “all-nighters” to meet it.
Milestones are like small timelines within your larger project timeline that give your staff smaller goals to reach for and be able to celebrate on the way to the larger success. Most project management tools will allow for adding milestones and can adjust your task dependencies and budget allocation accordingly.
6. Use Deadlines and Alerts
Often a task can get stuck because someone was waiting on an approval, but another team member wasn’t alerted they needed to give one. Using clear task deadlines helps things move forward and alerts can be automated and sent to mobile and desktop devices to let everyone know things like:
- A task hasn’t been completed by the deadline
- A task is “in your court” for the next leg of the journey
- A team member has a comment on your task
- A task is completed successfully and on time
Get Customized Technology Solutions to Fit Your Team
Are you tired of having to fit your workflows to a specific software? At Genuine Technology Group, we believe it should work the other way around. Technology solutions should be tailored to fit how you and your team work like a glove.
Reach your full tech potential! Call us at 971-288-0880 or request a consultation online today.