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Project management is a set of skills that range from accounting to organizational management. This field has expanded into an internationally recognized profession. Project management skills are the same, regardless of the industry, size, and scope of the project. There are five main tips for successful project managements: planning and scope, executive buy-in, time management, people management and change management. Learn how to implement simple processes to improve the speed and success of your projects.
Planning and defining the scope of a project are critical. This is often done in a document known as a project charter. Included in the project charter is a clear definition of project goal, definition of project success, estimate timeline and costs and team members. When creating this document, provide as much detail as possible. This document is circulated to all members of the project team and the sponsoring department.
Executive buy-in is critical to project success. Present your project plan and obtain approval for the before you begin work. Large projects often benefit from a steering committee. Invite executive participation from all areas that will be impacted by the project onto the committee.
Clearly define the challenges, issues and state what type of support you require to achieve the project goal. Keep them informed and avoid the temptation to report only good news. Ask for support when it is needed and do your best to ensure there are no surprises.
Time management is necessary for you and your team. Invest time to learn project management software and other tools to keep the project on schedule. Set up regular meetings, provide an agenda in advance, and stick to it. Follow up with team leaders on their respective contributions to the project and commitments. Send out meeting minutes with a list of assigned activities and clearly list who is responsible for the completion of these items.
Managing people is the most complex and rewarding aspect of project management. A successful project manager must be able to obtain commitment and follow through from people outside their reporting structure. The most common reason for project failure is communication and personality conflicts.
Institute a process for change management at the beginning of the project. Any changes in scope, addition, or removal of items from the project plan must be submitted and reviewed by the steering committee. These changes must be managed, costing and timeline adjusted for every approved change. Failure to manage change will result in a never-ending project that is over budget and unsatisfactory.
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