When it comes to business development, few roles are in such a position of authority and responsibility as a project manager. They play a large part in the planning process as well as oversee the implementation.
What’s more, project managers are also held accountable if anything doesn’t go according to plan. With all of these balls in the air, project management is certainly no role for the faint of heart.
The 5 Principles of Effective Project Management
It’s integral to the success of your project that you adhere to the five principles of project management outlined below. Doing so will not only help you secure your project’s success, it’ll also make it run much smoother as well.
1. Set Clear Goals.
Clear, attainable goals are instrumental in any plan and are the foundation upon which a successful project is built. Rather than simply working towards a single deliverable for months at a time, break up your project into smaller chunks to better measure progress.
Goals should follow the SMART guidelines: They should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
2. Monitor the Budget.
One of a project manager’s primary goals is to ensure efforts adhere to fiscal guidelines. After all, a deciding factor on the overall success of a project is whether or not it came in on or under budget. That’s why effective project managers will utilize resource management techniques and forecasting in order to keep costs down. These might include:
- Frequent budget re-appraisals throughout the life of the project
- Strict project scope management
- Monitoring and correcting resource inefficiencies
Keeping the project in line requires a skillful interplay between these techniques.
For example, if initial estimates came in much lower than actual costs, a competent project manager will have to alter workflow to compensate, leading to resource allocation changes among departments. What’s more, a necessary scope adjustment may require budget reconsideration and could be grounds for a change order.
3. Keep It Organized.
Organization is key to a well-run project. Maintaining a high degree of organization throughout the entire process will prevent a wide range of time-wasting inconveniences and miscommunications down the line. That’s why you should adhere to a few organizational principles to keep your project from spiraling out of control.
Check in with your staff regularly to eliminate confusion and gauge progress. Save and back up all correspondence for reference later. Take advantage of digital asset management programs to keep project assets in one place and gain access to a variety of analytics to help manage your team. Doing so will show that an organized project is an efficient project.
4. Identify Risk.
One of the tenets of effective project management is predicting and mitigating risk. And while everything that can go wrong typically doesn’t, it’s still a good idea to plan for each scenario and know how it will affect specific facets of the project.
One of the best preventative measures against risk is eliminating uncertainty beforehand by developing and sticking to a detailed project plan. An effective project manager will also be able to identify and eliminate new risks that pop up along the way.
5. Value Transparency.
A project manager is in most cases held responsible for the project’s outcome. As such, it’s crucial to maintain transparency with the primary stakeholders throughout development.
Frequent and honest budget and progress updates will help them understand more fully the successes and setbacks the team is experiencing and will prepare them for the final outcome. Holding onto valuable information in the hopes that it will somehow just work itself out can end up with disastrous consequences.
Project Management: Accountability and Results
Effective project management takes a combination of meticulous planning, a keen eye for detail, and a commitment to honesty and transparency throughout every stage in development. By adhering to the five principles outlined above while managing your project, you’ll ensure your team achieves the best results possible.
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