Keeping Projects on the Right Tips Track and Top Project Manager Schedule
Tips for Keeping Your Projects on Track
Managing and tracking a project comes with its fair share of challenges. No one ever says being a project manager is easy. As a project manager, it is your job to manage budgets, resources, communication, etc. under tight deadlines. Doing this effectively requires a great deal of planning and strategic thinking.
Listed below are few tips that can help any project manager improve results.
Track your Bids with respect to Actuals
With respect to budgets, it is vital for successful project managers to monitor how their bids or estimates compare with actual once a project has begun. This is an ongoing process that begins before a project starts and ends after its completion. Comparing estimates and actuals every step of the way allows project managers to increase efficiency, isolate potential risks, and improve accuracy going forward.
Key performance indicators (KPIs)
Determining Key Performance Indicators is essential for the success of a project. After all, without established KPIs, how can a project manager know if their projects are adding some benefit to their organization? KPIs follow after a careful examination of an organization’s goals. Whether an organization’s KPI(s) are decreasing churn, increasing revenue, improving customer experience, increasing referrals or lowering costs, the responsible project manager must remain cognizant of these indicators at all times.
Effective communication goes a long way in ensuring the success of a project. Keep clear lines of communication and always leave them open during a project. Keeping multiple communication channels open at all times for your team increases collaboration, saves times, reduces risk, and ultimately improves your effectiveness as a project manager.
Face-to-face communication tends to be the most efficient, which is why those schooled in project management best practices prefer to have all team members in the same physical space if and when possible. Of course, with the nature of the global economy, having everyone is the same office is often impossible. Using tools like Skype, Slack, project management software and facilitating weekly stand-up meetings where each team member answers specific questions can alleviate issues surrounding disconnected teams.
Shuffling Available Resources
As a project manager staying up to date with the project may not be enough to guarantee its success. Keeping track of the resources in play will also go a long way in ensuring a successful project. A project manager needs to continually track resources in order to stay on top of projects and ensure they are coming in on time and on budget. Failing to forecast resources during projects lead to significant over and underutilization. In turn, some team members become overburdened and over-stressed while others become complacent. Also, being aware of resource allocations enables project managers to be decisive and make changes on the fly. For example, say a team member is grossly over-allocated on a task, if a project manager knows this and knows the availability of all others within the organization with the same proficiencies; he can assign others to help with the task thus decreasing turnaround.
For managers lacking sufficient resource management capabilities, project management software can be a powerful tool. These products allow project managers to track all resources, do real-time what-if forecasting and assign resources accordingly.
Keeping records of every single detail of a project is vital. This record will help you make better future decisions, while also helping you figure out milestones and solutions to problems that may occur during a project. Detailed documentation can serve as a roadmap leading you directly to the sources of issues during a project. Comprehensive records also come in handy post-project when project managers perform evaluations.
Reports can prove indispensable tools for managers. Reports foster communication, improve accuracy, reduce risk, can assist in determining appropriate KPIs, assist in resource management and do much more. Having a wide variety of reports readily available can make or break a project manager. Many online project management products have built-in reporting features. These products are certainly worth considering if you need to increase your reporting capabilities.
No man is perfect. No project is perfect either. Oversights and unexpected circumstance are unavoidable in project management. Project managers need to develop a contingency plan. Thoroughly critique your plan, then identify risks, and then create a plan to neutralize those risks. As a project manager, expect the best, but always prepare for the worst.
Consider Project Management Software
Being a project manager can be overwhelming. Luckily, we’re in the 21st century and there is software that can simplify the project management process. Many of these tools integrate with products you may already use like MS Project, Jira, Excel and others. Some enterprise products have hundreds or even thousands of features. These products can track time, provide interactive Gantt charts, have sophisticated, built-in reporting features, possess complex resource management capabilities, and much more.