Project Management

Five Tips for Project Success

by Allison Dunavant

Utilizing project management techniques help projects execute on time, stay on budget, and use resources effectively. However, even when you apply the best processes and tools, things can still go wrong. This becomes increasingly difficult when you are not only the project manager, but also responsible for executing on components of the project (as a contributor, developer, etc.).

89% of high-performing organizations value project management. - Project Management Institute

Here are 5 tips to help ensure the success of your next initiative.

  1. Don’t overlook the warning signs. Try to get ahead of project problems by recognizing some of the more subtle warning signs. Ineffective status meetings, new email recipients that haven’t been identified as stakeholders or team members, and radio silence from project sponsors are all symptoms that there may be a need to further investigate a potential setback.
  2. Ask the tough questions. Molly Fletcher, a famous sports agent, was about to sign a coach to a big university; which would have been the largest accomplishment of her career. However, she failed to ask him the tough questions upfront (are you ready to leave your current job, uproot your family, etc.). In the end, the deal didn’t go through and what was supposed to be her biggest accomplishment became her biggest failure. Spend time to figure out what you don’t know by reaching out to the right people to try to get the right answers by asking the tough questions. Don’t be afraid to tackle the elephant in the room.
  3. Be realistic about your constraints. Have you ever heard the saying, “you can have it good, fast, or cheap…pick two?” You don’t need to pick two, but you do need to be realistic when changes occur mid-project. It’s not realistic to stay on the same project schedule if you lose a resource or have an increased scope of work. It’s also unlikely you would be able to get it done faster without adding additional resources or decreasing the scope of work.
  4. Get buy-in. A colleague once said, “Get weigh in to get buy in.” People do their best work when they understand the purpose behind the tasks they are completing, and feel as though they can contribute to that purpose. Frequently remind team members of the purpose and ask for feedback on ways you could do things better.
  5. Keep your eye on the ball. Don’t lose sight of your objective. Document and update your plans as things change and make sure this is communicated out to team members and stakeholders. Sometimes meeting notes and follow-up action items seem like extra work, but they go a long way in making sure people understand what they are accountable for.

You don’t have to be a professional project manager to put some of these principles into practice. If you need help with your projects, check out the ways we have helped our customers execute on their important initiatives.

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