The project management best practices that you need to know

Posted by Niall Sullivan

25-Sep-2017 08:00:00

project management best practices

With only 40% of projects meeting schedule, budget and quality goals, there is always room for improvement when it comes to project management.

Luckily, there are a number of project management best practices that can help you to bridge this gap. In this blog post, we’re going to explain some of the key ones that you should implement to ensure project success.

Understand your hierarchy

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Before doing anything else, you will need to decide the structure of your project management hierarchy.

Why? In simple terms, they provide a sense of authority and unity. Each individual has a clearly defined role and they know exactly what is expected of them.

One other important point to consider, is the size of your team. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has a famous two-pizza team rule, that states that teams shouldn’t be larger than what two pizzas can feed. Is this the case for your team?

Make time to plan

Did you know, that by spending just 15 minutes planning out your day, you can save 2.5 hours of your time? Impressive, right?

This logic can also be applied when planning your project. Make sure that your project goals, deliverables and schedule are clear to all of your stakeholders from the start and save yourself some time.

Knowing all of this in advance can help to keep your project on track, especially when factors beyond your control come into play.

Effective communication

project management best practices

With 90% of a project manager’s time being spent on communication related activities, it goes without saying that you need to get this right.

Creating a project communication plan is a good start. As well as identifying what needs to be shared and the frequency, your plan should include the methods that you plan to use to share this information.

Doing this will be popular amongst your team. One survey has found that 81% of workers would rather join a company that values open communication than one that offers great perks.

Take risk management seriously

There are plenty of risks that you need to consider when managing a project. Here are just some of them.

There are numerous benefits for doing this. Not only does it reduce the likelihood of an issue occurring, but also the impact that it has on your project.

Once they have been identified and assessed, you can use one of the following methods to manage the risk:

  • Avoidance – How can the risk be avoided?
  • Reduction – How can the impact of the risk on your organisation be reduced?
  • Sharing – Can the responsibility for the risk be shared with other stakeholders.
  • Retention – Accept that a risk is unavoidable and adjust your budget accordingly.

Improve collaboration

Improve collaboration

75% of employers rate team work and collaboration as “very important.”

This has led to project managers start to look at ways to improve collaboration and ensure that their team members are as productive as possible.

Mastering key collaboration skills is a good starting point. These include:

  • Displaying a willingness to find solutions to problems
  • Recognising the strengths and weaknesses of collaborators
  • Giving credit to others for contributions
  • Agreeing on roles that capitalize on individual strengths

You can read an extensive list of collaboration skills here.

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Engage your stakeholders

As you might know, stakeholders can be difficult to manage and engage with.

With so many to manage, each with different goals and priorities, it can seem like a daunting task trying to engage stakeholders with your project.

That’s why you need to create a stakeholder engagement strategy. This will not only ensure that you are clear on the groups that you need to engage, but also make you aware of the tools that you will need to achieve this.

Use a cloud collaboration tool

I know what you’re thinking. Shouldn’t we be discussing the use of a project management tool to help bring all of the key elements of managing projects together?

To be frank – no. Cloud collaboration is fast becoming the new project management software being used by organisations in the private and public sectors.

The reasons for this? They include:

  • Security – Although there are a number of common myths around this, cloud is now considered one of the safest ways to store sensitive data. Just ask the UK MOD!
  • Reduced costs – Avoid the costs of maintaining expensive legacy IT systems and other hardware.
  • Accessibility – No longer do you and your team have to be connected to your organisation’s shared drive to access important information. Simply login via a web browser when connected to the internet.
  • Regular updates – Because software updates are rolled out automatically, you can be sure that your software is always up-to-date.

10 Questions to ask an Online Collaboration Supplier

Topics: project management