Project Management 101

These tips won’t protect you from every possible problem, but following them will give your project a better chance of achieving its desired outcome.

Get everyone on board

Be certain that everyone necessary for the project’s success can allocate resources to it: you often won’t be a priority for people with other responsibilities.

If you have to work from a customer’s site, for example, it’s necessary to ensure that the company has space for your team, time to get you on the systems, and the inclination to provide help when you need it. Forward planning will eliminate many of these issues.

Manage your manpower

Assigning the right project management tasks to the right people is really important. In small teams, the business owner frequently takes control of a project’s decision-making, but their other duties often mean they can’t give it the attention it deserves.

Delegating where you can is advisable: the best people – in the right positions – will relish the opportunity to demonstrate their talents.

Go agile (if you can)

If your team is skilled enough, consider going ‘agile’: with the right group, it can be far more efficient than other project management styles.

Agile methodology separates a project into smaller parts, enabling your team to get to work quickly and make changes with little notice. Agile has many advantages over other methodologies: it closes the gap between what’s delivered and what’s required, and the short delivery cycle allows for a swift response to changing priorities and unexpected issues.

Manage expectations (and morale)

Setbacks happen: not every project goes exactly to plan, and incremental progress is still progress.

An experienced employee who feels comfortable enough to tell you when they see a problem ahead of time can be your best asset. Keep team morale high and make transparency a matter of policy: not only will it improve your current projects, it will lay the groundwork for future success.

The extended version of this article appeared on Real Business.