Finishing project on time, while not exceeding the budget, is the company’s priority. It happens that the management demands too much from the project managers, which leads directly to project managers demanding too much from their teams. The environment that is created in the process is far from encouraging. The project may be done on time but the toll it takes on the managers and their team members is way too high.
Luckily, there is a system that prevents such drastic actions from happening. Almost every huge corporation, as well as thousands of regular companies, follow a certain set of principles that were developed especially for the purpose of carrying the project through without putting too much pressure on those, who work on it. When properly used, these principles help project managers and their teams to finish the tasks and projects on time and with ease. When every single aspect is under control, the work goes more smoothly, the team members are relaxed, and the job gets done faster and cheaper.
Here are the major phases of managing a project. Implementing them into your company’s workflow can be a major turnaround! Follow the blog, because we are going to describe more of these!
1: Plan the work in advance.
Some managers, when seeing the demands that must be met in order to complete the task, panic a little, and tend to immediately start the work. That’s because they fear that the team won’t be able to finish the tasks on time. However, it only creates chaos and the results are always bad. This mistake must be avoided at all costs.
The time spent to properly plan a project is never a wasted time. Furthermore, it usually results in the costs and duration of the project reduced, while increasing its quality. The questions that should be answered in the first stage of planning are:
- What are the main assumptions of the project?
- What are the objectives? What is the project supposed to do, when finished?
- How many phases does the project consist of?
- How much time do we have to finish it?
- What are the risks that must be taken into consideration?
- How big is our workforce and what are their strengths and weaknesses?
- Where and when should we expect problems, initial costs, or delays?
Answering these questions, giving them a proper thought – that action should leave us with a decent outline of our project’s work plan.
2: Create a plan up to the point you can estimate the actions.
Once we have the answers to the questions in phase 1, the work on the project’s plan will be a brief. A good hint is to make use of similar plans – projects tend to have a lot of things in common, so finding one that resembles ours and taking it as a model should not be hard. However, if we have trouble finding one, preparing a diagram based on the data we have won’t take too long.
First, focus on the first stages of the project. Try delegating the tasks between the team members, assigning resources, estimating the time-consumption. With the development of the project, you will see how accurate your estimations were, and you will be able to adjust accordingly.
Read more about project estimating.
3: Define project management procedures.
In other words, be sure that once an obstacle appears, there will already be a way to overcome it. Your team needs to know what to do when the situation gets complicated. And if the problem is huge and they will come to you, you have to be prepared. Also, you have to be certain that there is a common understanding of the way in which the project will be managed. If your company already uses particular procedures, or maybe project management methodologies, it will be much easier to utilize them on your project.
You can learn more on the topic from our articles: Project Management Methodologies That Improve Your Business! Choose a Project Management Methodology for You!
4: Manage the work according to your plan while monitoring the schedule and budget
The title of this point pretty much sums up the activities that should be done. You already know that your team members are well-informed about the project status, the plan (at least to a certain stage) is established. You only have to focus on the work now. Or to be more precise, on the execution of plans and processes. Be careful and precise. Remember that everything cannot go in 100% according to plans. The challenge here is to establish and maintain the control while executing consecutive phases of the project. Pay attention to:
- Your working plan – Follow it step by step and check whether others are doing the same. At times you may have to add some adjustments, be ready for that.
- Activities – Update the plan on a regular basis. Make sure that the finished tasks are scratched out from the plan, and that nothing is missing. You have already established which activities are the most important, so you know what to focus on.
- Budget – Carefully monitor the amount of money that the work is consuming. Prepare a summary, depending on the length of the project – if it’s a short one, do it every day/ if a long one, once a week (for example, you will know the best.)
5: Be careful and look for flaws
Look for the symptoms that may suggest that you will have some problems with your project during the later stages. These include:
- Any variations in the previously established schedule or budget. Even if they are minor, they are a sign that something may be going wrong. Pay a close attention to those and analyze them carefully.
- Always double-check whether the tasks marked as finished have really been completed. A human or time tracking project management software mistake may occur and drastically disrupt the workflow.
- Observe the behavior of the team members – the team’s morale are essential to finish the project on time. Talk with everyone, ask questions, coach, make yourself available so they know they can rely on you.
- The customer service must be always prepared to respond to the client’s demands. You have to be informed about every change to the project that client wants, so you can immediately readjust the plan. Or simply tell the client that it cannot be done within the budget and time, and start negotiations.
At all times, be aware of your team’s actions! It’s up to you whether they perform their tasks within time.
Luckily, there are tools that can help you with that! TimeCamp – the Time Tracking Software that tracks the time spent on computer activities, will provide you with a detailed insight on your team’s performance. Enhance the productivity and engagement of every employee, the work will get easy!