Project management is about achieving a desired result within certain time parameters. Successful project managers are able to lead a group of people to accomplish this task. The best project managers are usually the ones that work their way up in organizations or become entrepreneurs at their own business ventures.
Projects typically pose issues for managers and team members. It can be difficult to keep a project on time while delivering a great result. As issues arise, it helps to have an understanding of how to keep projects efficient and effective.
These are 10 important aspects of successful projects from one person's experience. If anything is missing please add your thoughts in the comments below. It would be great to hear your stories about successful (or unsuccessful projects). Maybe the next post could cover projects that failed and what the reason for failure was.
For now, though, here are 10 good aspects of successful projects.
The project charter is the layout of all the information for a project. This is the document team members will review when they have questions about everything from the roles of individuals in the project to the reason for the project to the goal of the project and more. Everything needs to be laid out in the charter. This is the lone place of truth for all team members to reference. Use a project charter to keep information organized.
2. Schedule and Calendar
The schedule, which is often a calendar of events and due dates, should be housed in the project charter. It's important to lay out the projected schedule at the beginning of the project. Also, break down the schedule of due dates into smaller projects. One big project can feel overwhelming and when something is overwhelming people (you and I included) tend to figure it's too big and we shuffle it out of our minds and no work is done. Carefully consider a reasonable schedule for your project. Even consider consulting with a few key team members to get their input on when the project can reach each milestone.
With research, you should be able to come up with a reasonable budget for a project. One example would be a website project for a small business. The project manager should put in the effort before the project begins to vet out potential design partners. The budget should then be created and presented to the company leaders for approval. The details of the budget are then presented to the team members when the project begins. The work you put in ahead of time should alleviate most objections from members during the project process.
4. Expectations and Roles
As you carefully choose people to be on your projects consider the roles each will play in the team. No person can do it all. It's best to focus on what each person is good at and allow them to thrive on the team. Make sure that success is measured by the overall project and not by any deliverable by a single individual. Some members will have higher expectations, more work, and a bigger role. Let everyone know their roles at the beginning of the project, but ensure each member that they are important to the overall project. It's not about the individual. It's not even about the customer. It's about company success, which lifts the status and experience of each team member and leads to the best results for the customer.
5. Vision and Mission
There may be no greater important item in business than a clear vision. The leaders at your company or you need to provide clear vision to your project team members. It's important for everyone to understand how the deliverables of the project will move the company forward. A vision creates a mental goal for each person involved to achieve.
6. Leadership and Respect
If you are the project manager then it is your responsibility to lead the team. You need to have the respect of each member. Don't waste your time with people that aren't full committed to the vision. Your job is to see the project through and get results. This doesn't always fit with everyone's view of how things should be done. Lead the team to get results and make sure you have the respect of each team member.
7. Mix of Introverts and Extroverts
After working on a few projects you will learn that there are introverts and extroverts. Both are necessary for projects to be successful. Above it was mentioned that each person will bring a certain talent to the project. It's your job to find the right mix of personalities for a project. An introvert might be excellent at research while an extrovert might be better at coming up with creative ideas to push the limits of the project. Both aspects of the human mind are necessary in most projects. Learn how to manage each type of person and you should be able to challenge them to provide great results while working well together.
8. Feedback and Conversation
Something that often lacks in projects is the simple act of providing an update. As the leader, it's important to communicate with your team. Talk to them as a group and individually. Provide updates on where the project is and how that aligns with expectations. Compliment members when they do something well. Encourage them to continue as the project moves along the scheduled timeline. It's simply about having conversations and staying in touch with your co-workers. It's easy to forget, but simply speaking with people can provide the necessary feedback to make changes and improvements.
Do you remember those report cards you got back in grade school? They were handed out every so often by the teacher. It was a day every kid knew was coming. Some looked forward to it. Others dreaded it. Either way, the reporting of progress was a good tool for keeping people on task. Projects can fall behind for various reasons. Don't let your project fall behind schedule. Report the progress to your team members periodically. Let them know they are expected to finish on time while hitting various key dates with deliverables.
It's important to acknowledge your teammates and their successes. Everybody contributes to a successful project in various ways. It may be true that one person does more work than another, but each contributes and it's this collaboration that ultimately leads to the success of the project.
Once a project is complete, speak with each member of the team and acknowledge their work specifically. Talk about how the project is succeeding and helping your company. Explain how their contributions helped the project become successful.
People just want respect in this world. Give it to them and they'll be more likely to be on board the next time your company has a project.