You need to know your destination before starting a trip. So define your objectives and stakeholders as well as the essential elements of the project. Set a realist budget and a target date. Assembling a team and assigning tasks according to each member’s strengths is the next step. Get the best people and assemble the team. Check out each member’s areas of expertise and strengths to assign tasks. Be well aware of the team’s weaknesses and get prepared for them.
Reverse Timeline and Performing Functions Simultaneously
You have to be prepared to face a reverse timeline. A timeline will help you identify when a particular step of the project has to be completed. You can start at the timeline’s end working backward to keep the completion of your project at a fixed point. Since some of your project’s tasks must be done at the same time, schedule as many tasks as you can in tandem.
Budget and Meetings
Keeping a close eye on the project’s budget is always recommended. Check out how your team is using money and time. If you see overruns, reassign resources right away so that you can keep the project within limits. Having regular updates meetings sharing important information is very good. These meetings are great to brainstorm solutions, identify problems and report on progress. Your team members should ask tons of questions offering suggestions at the same time. The lines of communication should run freely at all times.
Focus on What Matters
You have to focus on what matter most in your project when resources start to diminish. Put the ‘nice to have’ aside and focus on what’s important for the whole project. Identify what the project is all about and get the essential things done quickly. Get prepared to change the course of the project when things go wrong.
Use a Project Definition Document
Writing a project definition document will help you reduce costs and enhance the project’s results over time. This document will describe all of your project’s aspect at a high level. Make sure all of your stakeholders will approve it before starting to work. You should include the project’s objectives, scope, risks, assumptions, overview, approach, organization, duration estimates, costs and initial effort in the document.
Create your work plan including instructions for managing and constructing the project. If you have a prior similar work plan, use it as a model. Use a network diagram and a work breakdown structure to create the work plan if you do not have access to a model. Remember that you need to lay out the project at the highest level, meaning where a high level of uncertainty happens. Define your high-level activities in more detail as the time frame gets closer.
Define Procedures Upfront
Your procedures will outline the resources of the project. Sections to be included in this area of the project are quality, risk, communication, scope change and issues your team must deal with over time. Make certain that your stakeholders, as well as your team, understand how the whole project will be managed. You can also use common procedures that have been already implemented by your organization.
Managing Work Plan
Now that you have your procedures, project definition document and work plan in place, it is time to go ahead. From now on, you will have to apply all of your project management skills with discipline and rigor. To find out how your project is progressing in the areas of budget and schedule, you have to review your work plan regularly. Do you have to deal with a large project? Check its progress out every two weeks.
And just in case you’re running a large virtual team, things can quickly get messy. We are talking about missed deadlines, communication gap, and ineffective teamwork here. Once you get hold of these, only then the creativity can flow. To have everyone on the same node, we recommend TeamWeek; the smartest tool to get your team organized and more productive.
Look for any warning signs such as a budget that is starting to get bigger. Do not think that you can just make it up and that’s all. This is a warning and you should treat it as such. To avoid a huge negative impact, correct these problems as soon as you can.
You should think about all the risks involved in the project. In addition to this, determining the probability that a risk will happen as well as its potential impact on the project is also useful. Identify high-risk events and put a mitigation plan in place. Implement these top project management strategies right away.