If you were in a room with a highly experienced PM, and they were to offer you some advice, what do you think they would say? Well, no need to guess, because we’ve taken some of the tips from the crème de la crème of project management and packaged them into five easily digestible tips for you to take away.
1. Don’t be in a rush to start
The start of the project lays the foundations for every following step, and getting this stage just right is worth its weight in gold. Remember to put all the right things in place before anyone starts ‘doing’ anything, as a poorly planned start can take months to recover from. This is true whether you are following an Agile approach or a more traditional methodology such as APMP or PRINCE2. Hold a proper kick-off meeting to introduce all the sponsors, stakeholders and team members to the project, and make sure the ‘t’s are crossed and the ‘i’s are dotted before you go ahead with anything else because initiating a project correctly is one of the key project management skills that you must master.
2. Don’t be in a rush to finish
Just as an overenthusiastic kick off can backfire inyour face, so a rushed ending to the project can unravel all those weeks or months of work. Undoubtedly you’ll be keen to get the project signed off and cleared away, but you still need to make sure the original project goals were achieved. If you fail to close out the project in a meticulous and organised fashion, you risk leaving your client with a rather bitter taste in their mouth.
3. Your customers don’t really want to see you
Whatever client you are working for, they probably don’t want to see you as much as you might like to think they do. They enjoy seeing the progress you are making, hopefully via your timely status updates and interim reports, but the less they see of you and your team, the more comfortable they will feel. Some customers will be different, but in most cases the more they see of you, the more they are reminded how much they are paying you, and the more they will start to worry about your value.
4. Check all estimates several times
When you are contracting for parts of your job, don’t take the estimates of your contractor as written. Many contractors will over estimate job costing, because they are afraid of going over budget. This means that when you present the costings to your client, you are likely to look as if you are trying to overcharge them. Come up with your own estimates first, and run your quotes by your project team or peers to see if they deem them to be ‘fair’.
5. Make the most of meetings, if you have to have them
Project managers run meetings in a variety of ways, some with great gusto and others like a wet blanket, but the important thing no matter what your project management style, is to recognise the value and importance of project meetings and ensure you get the most out of them. Equally important is to recognise the value of having your team out doing their jobs rather than in a meeting room reporting back to you. Only call a meeting when you really need to, and see if other communication methods will suffice at other times.