10 Tips to Improve Your Project Management Process
If you are dealing with projects in your line of work or have to hire individuals responsible for your project management process, there are many areas that you can work on to make it smooth and effective.
As a project manager, you need to be good at a lot of things: interpersonal skills… time management… problem-solving… communication… And so much more. But on top of all these strengths, you are going to need an efficient project management process to make sure nothing falls through the cracks!
Here is a list of the ten most important tips to help you get better at project management. These well-curated tips will help you make the most of your time while managing projects, whether you own a business or planning to start one.
1. Communication Is the Key, Focus on It
A recent project management study disclosed that out of every five projects, two never meet their planned objective.
These numbers are alarming, and one of the biggest reasons for these is the lack of efficient communication amongst those involved in a project. Getting things right on paper is essential, but the way you share your strategy and plan of action with your fellow team members and clients also plays a crucial role.
A project manager needs to be able to communicate the following:
- Doubts and questions
A project management process can’t be executed if all team members involved do not have a clear role in the grand scheme of things. Communication also includes the ability to understand what clients want and expect, even when not it’s completely voiced.
It is better to update your clients after regular intervals at specific times during the project’s execution process.
As a business owner or project manager, you will have to make sure that you experiment with different ways to find out the perfect communication method. This is the stage where you can be innovative in your approach. For example, if a project needs frequent inputs from clients, prefer communicating over a video call rather than scheduling physical meetings.
Following such practices can reduce redoing any work or misinterpretation of any requirement.
You can also organize a morning round table discussion at the office about the tasks in hand with your team. It is essential to stay in constant touch with your client and the team as well.
Once you get that perfect communication strategy working for your team, integrate it with your project management methodology.
Bonus Tip: If you have a sales funnel software in place, you can integrate it with your project management software to streamline the communication amongst your sales team and the operations team.
2. Establish Measurable Goals and Objectives
Setting up measurable goals will ensure you do not lose track of the progress. You will have to make sure that you set hard numbers and make your team members stick to them during the project.
Ensuring that all of your in-house and off-site employees know precisely what the team aims for in the project is also crucial.
Goals have to be realistic, and the common best practice is to use the SMART method to set goals. SMART goals are highly effective as they include all the elements below.
For example, a content marketing strategist who is planning to start a blog would likely have the essential goal of boosting organic traffic from content updates to drive more traffic and sales.
This could be further broken down:
- Update and revise ten existing blog posts
- Build five high-quality backlinks
- Increase organic traffic by 10%
- Update all author bios
- Optimize each post for on-page SEO
And each of these smaller goals or milestones can be assigned to different members of the team. The same methodology can be applied to any other project management process in your business.
Keep your objectives simple and precise, and divide them into small and achievable milestones!
3. Analyze Your Key Productivity Areas
Often, you will find that some areas of your projects are performing better than others. It is crucial to identify the loopholes in your process and the outcomes it is generating.
Ask yourself some important questions, such as:
- Is the project running on time?
- Are we in sync with the allocated budget?
- Are we utilizing more resources than needed?
- Does our process often require corrections?
- Do we often need to settle problems between people?
- Is service delivery appropriate or it can be improved?
- Is the right priority set?
- Is the return on investment good?
- Are the supplies being ordered timely enough?
- Do you need changes in your resource management area?
Answering these questions will not only help you make corrective actions but also help you stay on track. If your projects are getting delayed continuously, it’s time to find that weakest link in your production chain.
Avoid repeatedly assigning the same tasks to those employees who just might not be the best fit for the job. Find the areas where you can integrate automation for enhancing productivity.
Estimate and finalize everything to arrive at the areas generating the most ROI and the ones that are generating the least. Clear identification of these areas will help you make timely corrective changes.
4. Centralize and Organize All Your Resources Under One Roof
One of the primary reasons for failed projects is that employees get muddled by different hierarchy orders and cannot follow centralized sources of information.
For example, if an important document has been placed in an inaccessible folder by one employee, it could result in the project getting delayed. It’s never a good idea to spend time going back and forth in various folders, files, and databases. It not only confuses but also wastes a ton of time for the whole team.
An efficient project management process should revolve around a centralized place of storage for all the information. You need to centralize all your files in a shareable, easy to use data filling system.
Businesses use smart cloud storage solutions like Google Drive, Oracle Cloud, and Dropbox to centralize their business data and workflow. Available both as a free and paid service, cloud storage solutions will allow your team members to store, share, and access data from anywhere and anytime via any kind of device.
You can even directly integrate the data storage and sharing in your project management software for easy access.
If you are working under the same roof with a centralized source of information, you have the advantage of direct interaction with employees and co-workers. Ideas, problems, solutions, and communications can be addressed immediately when they come up, instead of developing into more significant issues that will consume time later.
5. Turn Feedback into Feed-forward
Feedback is critical if you are planning to enhance your project management process. The world’s best leaders don’t just lead through commands at their team; they ask for feedback from them and take it seriously.
Asking for feedback from your clients or employees isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s one of the most critical strategies to find out the problems in the process you need to work on.
You may be a product manager ninja, but you likely have a whole project team to think about. The only way to see breakdowns in your process is to listen and be open to feedback.
Whenever you implement a new strategy or plan in your project management process, don’t hesitate to have your team’s inputs. You might end up collecting ideas that you could have otherwise never thought.
If your team is big, you can conduct surveys after regular intervals to collect feedback and ideas to improve your project management process.
Turn the feedback into feed-forward to directly put it into execution, and you will see your project management process evolve with time.
6. Assign the Right Job to the Right People
Small and medium-sized business owners don’t have an option when it comes to job distribution. Essentially, everyone in a small organization is a project manager.
Every person in the organization has a ton of different jobs to do simultaneously and has stringent deadlines. This is where smart project management tools can help you get organized and divide the tasks.
As the ship captain, you will have to look at and identify your team members’ strengths. You will have to assign the right jobs to the right people.
Your project board has to be under the control of a person who understands every member’s strong points and weaknesses. It should be well aware of your organization’s availability of resources.
7. Emphasis on Accountability is a Must
Project management is never a single-person job. In any project, all of your team members must identify their role and importance in the chain.
Everyone in your organization must be accountable for their share in a project. It not only makes the complete project management process simpler but boosts the outcome as well.
Accountability is the identification of the areas where your team struggles to perform their best. A project manager must know when and where to step in and remind the team members of their crucial role in the project management process.
Accountability is a powerful tool that will ensure your team understands the importance of doing the right things and taking timely actions if it goes otherwise.
8. Use Accessible and Simple Job Schedules to Eliminate Hassles
The foundation of a successful project management process starts with having a precise and clearly defined job schedule.
All of your task lists, checkpoints, and deadlines should be accessible and visible to the complete team, regardless of your organization’s size.
Project management tools allow you to view your job schedules in different formats making it easier for you to go through them all at a single glance.
With the help of an efficient project management tool, you can view your projects’ status and job progress in a calendar, list, and board format. With a single glance window, you can develop a job schedule and assign it to the relevant team members.
All of your tasks must have a well-defined deadline, and everyone involved must know when their jobs have to be completed for the project to stay on time.
A well-planned job scheduling is one of the pillars of a successful project management process and it is the most important ingredient in making sure your project runs without any hassles.
9. Leverage the Power of Project Management Tools
Project management tools are one of the most important tools every startup needs. These tools deliver comprehensive project management solutions for all sizes of business organizations and elevate the power of what you can do in your projects.
Some of the most popular tools include ProofHub, Trello, Monday, Asana, and ClickUp. Trello and its alternatives offer plenty of features in competitive pricing structures starting from free trials to discounts.
Compare every one of them and choose the project management software that suits your business needs. You can find some tools online, even for free, with basic functionalities to serve every business need.
Cloud-based project management software can empower your business to manage projects, tasks, deadlines, job scheduling, and resource management. There are third-party integrations as well that elevate your efficiency, for example, integrations with time tracking software.
Most of the paid project management software offers a free trial, so you can check their feasibility with your workforce and processes before investing your money.
The right project management software will boost your project management process’s efficiency resulting in more accurate and faster outcomes. Choose wisely!
10. Plan, Improve and Replan!
Success is never an overnight phenomenon, especially in a competitive business world.
There will be days when your long-term, successful project management plan would not work according to your estimated timelines, and there will be days when things would be working for you without much effort. So how do you plan for a successful project management process?
For project managers handling small businesses who need quick and flexible solutions, having the power to plan and replan according to the incoming challenge is a must-have skill.
From adjusting the budget to rescheduling the limited number of resources, a successful project manager has to nail it all. You will have to analyze in a timely and practical manner and plan out your process changes as you proceed!
Improving Your Project Management Process: The Bottom Line
These tips are being implemented by different kinds of business organizations every day. So whether you’re building a startup and pitching to venture investors or a mature business looking to edge out your competition, you will benefit by improving your project management processes.
Got some other tips or tricks that could help enhance a project management process? Please share them with us!