In today’s competitive, yet thriving market, the success of a business is determined through its ability to successfully manage its projects. Every business, whether large or small, must meet its set goals not only within a limited timeframe, but also in line with a pre-decided budget. The amounts of assets delivered successfully in the timeframe equate directly to the business value of the said project.
In reality ‘success’ and ‘failure’ are subjective terms, that would perhaps entail varying results, definitions or responses, depending upon who is asked, and what parameters are being judged before, during, and after the project ends. However, projects are often assessed as a measure of how well it:
- Defined a timeframe and set milestones
- Executed the techniques, and applied the necessary skills and tools; and
- Met its objective
While project management may seem like a simple enough thing to implement effectively, it may in fact get quite complex. A project may fall apart or derail, thus leading to it being unsuccessful, for a number of reasons, and therefore companies usually enlist the help of professional project managers to keep the course of things right. Regardless of its size, every business will essentially have to tackle intense business situations during the course of a project. While conglomerates and large businesses often devote entire departments to manage their project activities, achieving the same turns out to be quite a challenge for smaller or newer businesses due to lack of experience, and relatively fewer resources. This two factor breakdown can help with the project management of small and large organizations alike.
- Choosing the Right Team and System
No matter how big an organization is, or how well resourced its project management department is, all of it comes to naught with the wrong team! The importance of getting the right people together for the job is monumental. Everyone from the project manager, to the core team, experts, and stakeholders should be taken on board from the beginning, and should be involved in the planning. It is imperative to realize how crucial the team is to the project! A group of incompetent individuals can lead to project failure, no matter how well thought out the plan, or how experienced the manager was. Every person involved in the project must share the same vision for the project, and be just as enthusiastic for its success.
It is essential to plan the project in real time to set up deadlines that can be realistically met, a budget that ensures maximum asset production and profits, and a system to maintain a strict timeline of short term goals in the course of project fulfilment. You may use software tools to digitize and automate the process of planning to minimize the error ratio. Previously completed projects may be used as templates to base new project plans on. This will diminish the possibility of redundancy, and improve accuracy in light of the evaluations from previous projects.
Once the team is selected, and the project is planned, you must effectively compartmentalize the tasks, and assign them to different individuals. Understand the importance of open communication, and try to avoid crowding the team. Gaps in communication can potentially harm the success of a project, therefore a communication plan needs to be made beforehand that outlines the reporting hierarchy, and reporting intervals. Make sure to keep all stakeholders in the loop of progress, to ensure transparency, and to avoid any future problems.
- Careful Risk Management
While planning a project, it is of vital importance to evaluate all possible risks involved in it. Going ahead with the assumption that all will go according to plan is a great shortcoming, and will lead the project into great trouble. All good project managers head into a project knowing full well that everything does not always go according to plan, and therefore contingencies should be mapped out that can mitigate any risky situations without disrupting the flow of work. Therefore, project managers assess and calculate all future deviances in the plan, so they can either prevent or be better prepared to tackle an issue should it arise.
It is extremely important to make sure that all members of the team are aware of these risks, as well as the contingencies, so as to avoid panic, and assure smooth operation. All stakeholders must also be kept apprised at all times of the potential risks, and the management plan put in place to prevent or deal with them, should the situation arise. You can make a database and share it with the team to ensure the accessibility of your risk management plans. This forms an air of trust and transparency, and increases the team’s, and client’s confidence in the progress of the project.
By applying this two factor approach, you can easily simplify the process of effectively carrying out a project activity. However, since project management is a complex task, you may not always be successful, but don’t let that get you down! Make sure to always analyze a project at the end, regardless of the result, to determine its strengths and weaknesses, so you may learn from it, and effectively employ that knowledge in a future project. Remember, it isn’t failure if you learn something from it!