June 28, 2014
Concepts such as agile and SaaS have begun to play a huge role in project management. While these concepts and their adoption could deliver massive returns on investment for businesses, it’s important to think of them as the “next stage” of project management.
At a fundamental level, you’ll have to rely on common sense for implementing solid, results-oriented project execution strategies. If this leads to you implementing the latest techniques, technology breakthroughs, and best practices, well and good; if not, then you don’t need them.
Let’s take a closer look at how businesses can use common-sense project management to guarantee that critical tasks are completed on time as per the precise requirements of your business.
Put an astute project manager in charge
The size, scale, and scope of your business determine the number of project or program managers you need. These are people who have solid qualifications, experience, and expertise to take charge of and manage challenging projects. It makes perfect sense for your business to hire an expert who will help you control and manage a development process. The ideal project manager, apart from being well qualified for the job, has the following characteristics:
- Leadership qualities
- Attention to detail
- Nimble thinking
- Great powers of observation
- Active listening
- Exceptional team building skills
- Ability to align talent with business goals
- An inherent competence for getting work done
- Motivational skills
Businesses err when they think all they need to do is advertise a vacancy and there’ll be project managers lining up outside their doors, all waiting for an opportunity to work in their company. But the reality is there is a shortage of project managers – the demand is far more than the supply.
So set aside some time and budget to hire the right manager. If you know project management will bring your business the competitive edge it lacks, then common sense tells you to begin by hiring the right project manager.
Integrate parts into the whole
Rather than coming up with a detailed plan for the project, why not divide the project into parts/phases and come up with a plan for each phase? This makes sense especially for long, drawn-out projects. Say you have a project that has a timeline of 12 months. In this case, even if you spend a massive amount of time planning each and every work item for the project, it will be wishful to think everything will pan out just the way you expect.
Planning, even the most informed planning, is based on speculation. You just start out by making the best possible guess and proceed accordingly, allowing room for the most diligent provisions and forecasts to become obsolete as the project progresses. A project is the sum of its parts. So, plan the parts; this will deliver more value than trying to sort out the whole project before you begin the actual development process.
Leverage project management tools
This one is a no-brainer. You need to incorporate the use of project management software, as it simplifies the process of management, control, collaboration, and staying on top of deadlines and designated budgets.
Yes, you do have a project manager, but you still need software that ensures seamless management. A manager can be put in charge of multiple projects (and clients) at a time, each project having a collection of team members, stakeholders, and resources. Managing diverse activities taking place on multiple projects without the use of software is a task made in hell. The market is packed with multi-platform, web-based project management tools vying for your attention. It makes sense to use them, if their use promises great returns on investment.
So how do you know which is the software for your startup, huge enterprise, or non-profit organization? Simple! Choose something that is very easy to use, and ensures seamless, results-driven project management. More often than not, this would be something that has every feature in the book. For example, collaborative, cloud-based project tools like Basecamp and Asana are inherently robust, comprehensive, and affordable.
Ask project managers to participate in the choice. Their experience will allow them to identify the right tool that perfectly fits the needs of your organization. It will also result in easier user buy-in and faster training.
By complicating project management, you end up making uninformed decisions that will wreak havoc on your project and derail your business growth. All it takes to stay on the right track is to get the fundamentals right and simplify your thinking to ensure all the pieces of the project puzzle fall into place. Project management is a complex task; what it needs is simplification.
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