Halloween is right around the corner, and as we get closer to the end of the year, it may feel like unfinished projects and pressing deadlines are rising from the grave! If you are new to project management, the thought of only having two months left in the year will leave you screaming, and knowing that new projects are coming down the pipeline is enough to give you the chills.
It doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that reviewing and refining your project management skills on a regular basis will keep your spirits lifted throughout the year. As there is no single method to follow when it comes to project management, many who are new to the role may feel that they don’t know where to start when all they can see are looming deadlines on the horizon. But have no fear – there are many great tips that will ensure your outlook on project management is less of a trick and more of a treat!
- Know Your Project and the End Goal(s) – Make sure you give yourself a good foundation to build off of when starting a new project. Familiarize yourself with the stakeholders and understand what they want and expect. Identify the project requirements based off this information, and start pulling together the different resources you will need to ensure you’re successful.
- Determine Project Milestones – We can absolutely consider finishing the project as the main end goal, but how do you determine if you’re staying on track to meet that goal? Identify key milestone that will guide you throughout the lifecycle of the project, and evaluate after every milestone is reached to ensure you’re staying on track. Not only will you be able to identify if everything is where it needs to be, but you may also be able to foresee any risks to project completion.
- Identify and Plan For Risk – Risk mitigation is a big part of project management, as things don’t always go according to plan. Some risks are easier to plan for than others, like a stat holiday cutting into the timeline, or a team member going on vacation. However other risks may creep up without warning. When this happens, make sure you document how you handled the scenario, and use it towards a general “risk response strategy” that could apply to future projects.
- Use Your Time Effectively – After planning out the life cycle of the project, you should have a good idea of how much time you have to dedicate to different areas. There are many time management strategies that you could draw from in this instance, such as prioritizing certain aspects of the project, tapping into your team’s skillset and delegating as needed, or keeping your stakeholders engaged in the process if they have any action items on their end.
- Take Time to Reflect – When the project is completed, make sure you spend time appraising the process from start to finish. What really worked to ensure the successful completion on the project? What were some challenging areas that you had to overcome? Are there certain aspects that you would keep or change moving forward? Each project is a learning tool, and analyzing various components of the process is a great way to refine your skillset to ensure success for future projects.