Not many really know what project management entails, and beginners thrown into this role may find themselves not sure of where to begin. Project management can be a daunting task, and figuring out the various tools available to help facilitate the process can be annoying.
It is important to know that not every occurrence within a company or organization can be labeled as a project. A project has to be an endeavor with a clear start and finish. These projects have to be able to work towards a certain objective that is not a norm when it comes to an organization’s aims.
Understanding what can be labeled as projects is the first step to understanding how to carry out your role as a project manager. But what are some key steps that project managers should take to ensure a smooth sailing operation? We will discuss some basic project management principles for beginners down below.
Principles Of Project Management To Follow
These basic principles will help you get the ball rolling and should be adapted to suit your needs and the requirements of your project.
Have Well Thought-Out Project Goals
As with almost every process, setting up a goal and understanding the objectives you would have to meet to reach this goal is the best thing you can initially do. The goals set by you will help you stay on the right path throughout the entirety of the project, that is if only you and your entire team are constantly able to come to agreements.
However, simply setting goals and objectives isn’t enough. It is crucial to the success of your project that the goals you set for yourself and the team are well-defined, realistic, and measurable.
Having a goal that is well-defined and realistic will help you deal with expectations throughout the entire process. A measurable goal is also ideal as it allows you and your team to track the progress of the project and make necessary changes when needed.
Know What Deliverables You Can Offer
A deliverable in project management terms simply refers to a product or potential to carry out a service to complete a project or phase(s) of a project. Defining what deliverables your project can benefit from will be useful in reaching the end goal of said project.
Organizational Alignment Is Important
Organizational alignment is seen as the glue to effective and successful performance. As a project manager, you hold in your hands a myriad of tools, talents, strategies, resources, as well as the values and purpose of the organization. To stand out as a project manager, ensuring that there is an alignment between all these different factors should be second nature to you.
This can be as simple as ensuring that your employees have a role in which they can excel. You can even go further to ensure your organization’s mission and values are reflected within the structure you have set up for this project.
Have Well-Defined Roles And Responsibilities Within The Team
A project manager has a responsibility similar to that of an orchestra conductor. You must ensure that each individual and team of individuals understand their roles and responsibilities within the bigger picture. Confusion around the roles that each individual has to play will only lead to conflicts and confusion that will hinder the progress of the project.
Work On Initiation And Execution Strategies
With clear goals set in mind, there now has to be an initiation of the project. This includes all the work beforehand that has to be done in order to get the project moving, such as feasibility reports and building business cases.
Once the project has been kicked off, you as a project manager have to ensure that its execution is as flawless as possible. Creating a strategy to work your way around possible hindrances, or even documenting errors and changes are good ways to ensure good execution of a project.
Plan And Work Around A Set Budget
With a finite number of resources available at hand, it is important to build up a budgeting plan with margins for unforeseen expenses. Setting up a schedule to follow will also help you to stay within the bounds of your budget by ensuring efficiency in the running of the project.
Identify Priorities And Milestones Ahead Of Time
As a project manager, keeping track of every single detail will be impossible.
Priorities and milestones help you to keep track of your project as well as ensure that the project stays on the right path.
Accountability And Responsibility
Accountability and responsibility are two important factors in ensuring that a project funds smoothly. Creating a means by which individuals can track their progress and roles within the bigger picture, allows for a more efficient workforce and at the same time, prevents yourself from micro-managing every detail.
Communication Plans Are Important
Communication is the bread and butter of any type of team project. Ensuring that there are specific guidelines as to how and what information should be passed around will only help to better the workflow.
Being transparent is a part of having effective communication. Creating an environment where all members of the project can access the necessary information easily will allow for more efficiency. This can take the form of having shared platforms, collaborative tools, and even transparent project data.
Carry Out A Risk Assessment
Being able to identify and mitigate potential risks even before the project has started is what all good project managers should be doing. Encountering unexpected problems along the way only works to slow the progress down and incur higher costs.
Any Progress Should Be Monitored And Measured
Part of having a quantifiable goal is to ensure that the project’s progress can be monitored. Monitoring expenses, deadlines, and quality checks are all crucial to ensuring the project stays on the right path.
Whilst there is a lot more to learn about good project management, these 12 principles discussed above should be enough to get the ball rolling. As you begin your journey of managing projects of different scales and types, you will start to learn more about what makes a good project manager.