Project Management Strategies to
Take You to the Next Level
Less than 60 percent of organizations grasp the value of project management for their operations.
For these organizations, there’s no reaping of optimized project management fruits. In the organizations that do understand the real value of project management, getting the right strategy is of great concern. As any project manager worth their salt learns, there isn't one killer strategy since each project is unique.
No matter what set of strategies you settle on, you need to optimize them. Here are some ways to shape your project management strategies and achieve the highest outcome possible.
Understanding Project Management
Simply put, project management is the way an individual or entity manages and organizes resources to complete a given project.
As such, every project manager’s overarching objective is to meet their target within the constraints the project faces.
Project Management differs from regular management in that it has a defined timespan.
Some of the core elements of project management include:
- Defining the need for each project
- Zeroing in on project requirements
- Developing a business case to justify investing in the project
- Securing organizational buy-in and financing
- Drafting and executing a project management plan
- Leading and motivating the delivery team
- Closing the project promptly where it’s called for
Many people often confuse project management with change management.
The latter involves tools, processes, and people that help an organization navigate changes that occur.
On the other hand, project management touches on the tools, people, processes, and methodologies necessary to see a project through.
Effective Project Management Strategies
Given the closed-end nature of a project, you must settle on the most effective strategies that empower you to deliver. Let’s look at some ideas to help you keep your sanity during the life of a project.
1. Define What Success Looks Like
Generally speaking, a project is successful when you deliver on (or under) budget, on schedule and within the required scope.
However, beyond these primary markers of success, each project is unique and needs its definition of success.
Look at the responsibilities you have at different phases as the project manager to identify the desired outcomes accurately.
You can then craft a precise definition of success, which then helps you pick out the right success factors.
Additionally, you will be better suited to zero in on parts of your project management plan that correspond to the strategy you pursue. Matching the two correctly can enable you to ship high-quality deliverables.
2. Develop Team Buy-In
Let’s face it - you may be the world’s best project manager but without your team being all in, your project will be a dud.
Consequently, you need to win the hearts and minds of team members even if they work for you.
As a start, present a clear definition of the project. A concise but clear roadmap helps galvanize those who will work on the project by rallying them around a shared vision.
When you make each team member gain a clear understanding of the project, they better appreciate the contribution that will be their effort.
Absent of this internal motivation, team members will feel - and act- as an isolated bunch disjointed form the project.
Define the structure of every team to make collaborative processes like scrum (read more now about it) move more efficiently.
3. Bring Together a High Performing Team
True project leaders are the only ones who get their projects to cross the finish line successfully. To effectively deploy your leadership, you need the right team strategy.
Bring together team members who can add the three crucial skill sets for your project to succeed. These skill sets are strategic management, leadership, and business management.
If you or your team members need to acquire just-in-time skills for any stage of the project, you'll need to prioritize that.
Don't throw emotional intelligence and being self-aware out the window as that is what helps you identify and maximize on the strong points.
4. Celebrate Incremental Achievement
Your project is a marathon, and you need to continue incentivizing everyone involved in the effort.
While the big win will be the day you deliver successfully, there are small wins along the way you need to celebrate.
Identify all the phases in your project, and for each step, designate what success should look like. As you and the team hit each phase successfully, you can devise a way to mark that achievement.
That effectively sustains morale over the project's lifetime as there’s something to look forward to during its lifespan.
5. Identify All Constraints and Challenges
What gets measured gets done. When it comes to barriers to success, what gets accurately identified gets resolved.
Just as you must identify your criteria for success, so must you identify your constraints.
If you don't include all relevant elements in your scope assessment, you are bound to come up short. Identifying what stands in the way of time, quality specifications, and cost expectations for the project is also paramount.
6. Document Everything
Your project will, in large part, live or die by the degree of communication involved. In cases where various team members are collaborating across different time zones, it becomes seven more critical to communicate efficiently.
Creating proper documentation is a core part of enhancing project communication. To this end, you should - at the very least- have the two most critical documents in place. These are the project plan and the project scope statement.
A project plan is a guide for the project's execution. The project scope statement will outline the project's detailed description, which helps deliver on budget and according to schedule.
For each document you craft, you need to design a way for the relevant team members to seamlessly access it when necessary.
Any technology that comes into play to aid documentation and communication needs ground rules to avoid a lack of clarity.
Get the Most out of Your Project Management
Project management can help build efficiency around how you design and deliver mission-critical projects. Each project is unique, and as such, you can’t rely solely on one strategy. To get the most out of your approach, identify how you can streamline your project management strategies to operate most optimally.
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