Effective project management does not have to be complicated. In fact, making project management as simplistic as possible is usually the best process to follow. This does not mean that you can expect to skip certain steps and still successfully complete a project, but rather, it means that having a strict plan and processes in place will keep you on track and in the right direction.
So, what are the steps you should take in tackling any project?
1. Define the project lifecycle
To meet deadlines, it is imperative you set out your project lifecycle, key milestones and completion criteria. It is best to confirm these three things when writing your project scope and timeline.
2. Outline the project scope and requirements
A well-defined project scope is vital for a successful project outcome. Before you start work on your project, make sure that every member involved knows what their role is and what the project will and will not include. It is easy for deadlines to escape you, and so a well-defined project scope is important in keeping you on-time and on track.
3. Implement tracking systems and structure
It is crucial that all members within a project understand their role and responsibilities. It is also important that tasks are monitored and reviewed regularly so everyone is meeting the necessary deadlines the project requires.
4. Put a quality assurance process in place
From the get-go of any project, quality assurance is a must to ensure that what you are promising to deliver will be delivered. Not everyone in your team may have the same understanding as to the quality needed for certain tasks and may even have different opinions as to what quality constitutes. It is important to have a quality assurance process in place so that project milestones aren’t just met on time, but so they are met with the highest quality standard as practically possible.
5. Develop a project plan
Having a project plan in place will increase accountability, more effective time management and ensure that you meet the objectives you have set out to accomplish. A project plan typically consists of nine main components: scope and mission, scheduling, budgeting, human resources, control, risk and quality. While these components may vary from project plan to project plan, it is essential that you define and establish the key factors that lay the foundation for your project.
6. Implementing adaptability
Certain problems may arise that inevitably push certain deadlines back. It is integral you have the right processes in place to appropriately manage variances within your project. You will most likely have to take time that is unaccounted for in your project plan to deal with such variances. Tracking and analysing variances will assist in addressing the same problem for future projects, thereby reducing the likelihood of your next project encountering the same variances.
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