Mat Isaac asked:
Many new project managers are struggling to cope up with the overwhelming responsibilities of planning, monitoring and leading. The list of tools and advices on how to manage successful projects is as overwhelming as the tasks at hand. In the end the steps to do on how to achieve the end goal will still depend on the manager. It is up to the manager on what steps to do that will fit the structure of their project. However, there are general guidelines that every project manager must know and the manager can just fine-tune those strategies according to their needs.
Guidelines to success for project managers
Scope Project Specifications
This is somewhat similar to a business plan. All pertinent information about the project should be written down thoroughly and accurately. On the project specifications the manager must define the purpose, goals and deliverables. In the specification, limitations should also be set such as timescales and budget. The people involved should also be specified along with their duties and responsibilities on the project. Another important specification to add is ways to measure quality and performance. Lastly, set a definite time for reviewing project status.
These specifications should also be consulted with the people involved in the project to get an insight on their end. An agreement must be made between parties involved regarding the specifications then announce to the team the final plan.
This is putting the project specification in detail. Planning involved identifying the tasks to be done to achieve the goals specified within the timeframe allowed. After identifying the tasks that needs to be done, identify the best candidate from the team to execute the task and set due dates. Identify tasks that are a prerequisite to another task and put it in the timeline accordingly. Lastly, it is important to plan project contingencies because there will be some tasks that will not be done by the due date. Project contingencies is important in order for the project to move on even if a certain task is delayed.
Launch and Execute the Project
After setting the project specifications and planning out the details of the project, the manager can now launch it. A project handbook based on the specifications and plan is usable and should be created and distributed to the team in order for them to check on the plan if they feel they are losing track. While the project is being executed the manager will have to monitor progress, encourage and motivate employees, keep the team on the right track, and inform the team of their progress. The project manager will have to check against the project specifications and plan while the project is in progress in order to check that the team is on the right track. The project manager can use project management software in order to execute and monitor the project well.
Review Project Performance
Reviewing project performance is vital in order for managers to make necessary changes to the plan while they still have time. Monitoring team performance is also important to check whether the members are up to the tasks delegated to them.
Project Completion and Documentation
Upon project completion, a project report is necessary in order to document the outcome of the project. Include in the report goals that are met and not met, difficulties encountered and how were the problems encountered solved. On this report an analysis on why the project was successful or why it failed should also be included. Lastly, a recommendation on the how the project could be improved in the future should also be added.