Project management

Project management: The Ultimate Guide

Professionals who don’t understand what is expected from them. Departments that don’t talk with each other and only exchange tasks, indiscriminately. These are just some of the problems you might be going through, for lack of a smart project management. How to reverse it? Here are the 9 best actions to deal with these challenges that, believe me, every project manager faces some time, and you can win. To cheer you up, I advance that all advices were given by renowned professionals from great technology companies. Check this out:


1. Hire the right manager and team for the project

More than deeply know his/her work, a project manager must know how to deal with different professionals. “It’s hard to find this kind of manager, but it will be worth the effort,” ensures Harry E. Keller, CEO of Smart Science Education Inc. And a successful project management depends on a balanced team, from directors to interns. Only then, the project manager will be able to perform well their own work, instead of taking care of the others’. “Too often resources are allocated in order to clear a bench rather than due to a skills match with requirements. In the end this will only serve to undermine the success of the project” advises Gerardo Menegaz, IBM executive IT architect.


2. Know the strengths and weaknesses of professionals

Dr. Tim Lynch, CEO of PsychsoftPC, says: “You need to know who on your team works best with minimal supervision and can be left to run, who needs to be spurred on and who needs to be reined in.” For example, “Good project managers know that multitasking is a big productivity killer, so they create an environment where individuals and teams can focus on a few tasks at a time” says Sanjeev Gupta, Realization Technologies CEO.


3. Assign a priority order and guidelines for tasks

In order to minimize conflicts, the project manager can guide for certain tasks to be worked on only after some prerequisite are delivered. In addition, it’s essential that staff is advised by the company board about how to manage time in the most productive way. “Keep track of the time spent by the key personnel responsible for the completion of major parts of the project”. This is the tip of Ken Leland III, vice president of engineering at Monmouth Telecom. “This will alert you to inaccuracies in your original estimates early on in the project and give you more time to deal with the consequences”. I know that this issue deserves more details, so I put here our best texts about it.


4. Track the status of projects and team

“The project manager must be vigilantly aware of what is going on at all times”, says Albert Sarvis, who leads the project management team at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. Make it a matter of consistent routine to monitor project metrics at the resource level and don’t let the traditional project tools be your only guide,” he says. “No project management tool can illuminate project surprises as well as a project team member can provide through regular one-on-one communication.”


5. Hold weekly meetings

“Set up a short, mandatory weekly meeting where each team member takes a minute or two to tell the team what they did last week, their plans for this next week and any roadblocks they have that the team can help with,” says Grant M. Howe, vice president of Research and Development at Sage Nonprofit Solutions. “This creates urgency for each individual on the team around making progress every week.”


6. Manage changes on the way

“Managing changes to the original scope of work is critical to keeping projects on track,” says Jaimin Doshi, principal consultant at AppleTech Consultants. “It is important to analyze the impact of the changes with respect to time, cost and purpose of the project. Changes considered as minor should also be tracked by project managers as implementing and testing those changes could sometimes add up to substantial hours.” To help you, here are the critical knowledge areas of an ideal project management.


7. Take a hard line against scope creep

“This is the main cause of projects getting out of control,” says Nick Coons, director of Hyperion Works. However, “spending the time up front to lay the groundwork and clearly define the scope will help keep the project on track,” he says. Moreover, “when the client inevitably makes out-of-scope requests, don’t be shy about telling them that you’ll add their request to ‘Phase 2’ of the project, which will have its own scope and cost.”


8. Set goals for every team member and celebrate successes

Creating milestones in the planning phase for you and your team will help you keep track of your progress and also give you a sense of accomplishment when you reach each milestone”, says G. Karthik, project director at Hexaware Technologies. “To celebrate, bring everyone together to have fun, while keeping them excited about the future of the project,” advises Michael Hamelin, chief security architect at Tufin Technologies. For teams that work virtually, acknowledge milestones with smaller gestures, which can be as simple as a congratulatory email.


9. Use project management software

“Do not use the e-mail as a project management tool,” says Kent Milholland, president of NeoNexus, for online marketing solutions. Instead, he recommends: “With a software project management, the details of each request are documented without a whole lot of extra effort. Web-based project management allows everyone, from users to programmers, from clients to decision makers, to follow the progress with ease.”


As you can see, taking control of projects is strictly related both with productivity and profitability of a company and using a management software. Do you need help to choose one? Test for free and get impressed:


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