Career Woman

6 Phases in project management for optimal results

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Regardless of the industry you activate in or the experience you have, taking on a management project can be a truly daunting task. At first, you only know what the goal of the project is and what your expected outcome is for it, which may make it feel overwhelming. However there are always certain steps you can break your project down into, so you can achieve your vision, be timely in your endeavour and engage team members in an efficient way:

1. Conceive and initiate your project

Any single project you may take on starts on a piece of paper. You not only jot down your idea, but also the key points of your project. This is how you develop your project charter which contains the scope of the project, its objectives, as well as team management.

This phase is essential for the overall development of the project and sharp clarity is essential. Connect yourself with the ‘why’ of the project and zero in on what you want to accomplish by it.

2. Set a timeline and assess your resources

In the initial phases, it’s also important to establish a realistic timeline for your project. Try to adjust this timeline so that it’s not too loose and you get sidetracked along the way or too tight and you get pressured instead of motivated to tackle the challenge.

It’s also important that you consider the resources needed in the project. Establishing what these are does not mean your job is done. On the contrary, you will need to take this a step further by also assessing the resources you already have at your disposal. Make a clear list of the resources you still need in order to accomplish your goals and set out to acquire or attract them.

3. Communicate clearly with your team

After you’ve set up all the details of your project plan, including the workflow, schedule, as well as the critical path, you will need approval for it. Once you get the thumbs up to carry on, you will need to assemble your team and communicate what your intentions are.

Paint a clear picture of the scope, the timeline and all the tiny little details that actually are important in getting the work done. Delegate tasks accordingly and set up meeting times with the entire team in order to ensure you’re on the right path. Empower your team with appropriate tools and knowledge, such as project management courses, in order to polish their approach and give it a more global touch.

4. Document all your steps

As soon as you start work, it’s important to take note of all the steps you’ve made. Regardless of how good your memory is or that of your team members, you may need to refer to previous emails, documents and purchases that attest your project’s healthy development.

With that in mind, keep a recorded version of everything you do for the project and ask your team members to do the same. In the end, you’ll have a much clearer picture of where you’re headed and if any adjustments are needed to the process.

5. Monitor all your milestones and goals

As you’ve set goals in the initial phases of your project development, it’s important to also monitor your progress. Use to-do lists, apps and charts that clearly define what needs to be done, set clear dates and then follow-up on them.

Be sure to adjust along the way whenever certain delays occur and create new opportunities if your team is moving quicker than anticipated. Productivity always stems from adjusting accordingly to where you are  at half-time. If you’re behind your schedule, you can create new ways in which you can get the tasks done and if you’re ahead of your schedule, you can take advantage of the extra time to improve everything you’re working on.

6. Follow-up and appreciate your collaborators

Any great project manager knows that their work isn’t done as soon as the actual projects end. One of a manager’s key qualities and responsibilities is to manage the people that were involved in carrying a project to its fruitful end. Having said this, it’s important to take them and follow-up on your project with your teammates.

Discuss your strong points, what could be adjusted in the future, ask for feedback and most importantly appreciate their hard work and involvement. Regardless if we’re talking about team members, stakeholders or simply collaborators, they all took part in delivering the project as expected and appropriate recognition is due.

All in all, project management is no easy task – developing a project from scratch and seeing it successfully to the end requires an impressive set of skills, organization and excellent people skills. However by breaking it down into the steps described above, you are likely to succeed in anything you set out to accomplish.

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