Friday, July 13, 2018

Secret Most Successful Project Managers Know

1. Squishing a square into a circle never works

Gantt charts are great for defining a project's scope, budget, and resources, but they aren’t great at adjusting once your project has contact with the real world. This study found that client-based change requests were the primary reason for projects going over time and budget—and traditional Gantt charts don't adjust well for those.
Successful project managers know they need a project tracking platform to help them identify risks as the project progresses—one that gives them real-time feedback with the flexibility to adjust as things come up. With over a third of projects running between one to three months exceeding their scope due to underestimated time frames, you need a dynamic tool that can tell you when something isn't feasiblein time to do something about it
2. Take trends with a grain of salt
Great project managers don’t “copy and paste” ideas from thought leaders and insert them into their own strategy blindly. For instance, while the agile approach works for some, you might realize that on its own it doesn’t bode well for you (i.e. it’s hard to set real deadlines since you’re always trying to figure out how you’d like to accomplish tasks each week). It's important to figure out what parts of a trend or strategy work for you and then, make sure you have a project management platform in place that can adjust on a whim (like you) to get the job done efficiently.

3. Tweak the recipe

What works for some might not work for others—so successful project managers combine methods and create their own unique approach. Then, they build out those strategies on a project management platform that can work exactly the way they want to work(because there’s no one size fits all). Still, many project management solutions force you to run your project within their preset parameters (when it should be the other way around)—so it can be hard to make the tweaks you need to be successful.
Trying to manage and dynamically adjust to the realities of managing a project when the platform you’re using isn't flexible can be frustrating. If this is a pain you’re struggling with right now, then you’ll want to have a look at a platform that’s smart and flexible the way you are.

Other tips:

Tips & tricks for effective project management

1. Write down everything

Project managers are responsible for juggling all of the small details of a project. “It’s easier to sift through notes than to completely forget something".
Makes use of old and new technology by using customized Excel spreadsheets and programs like Asana and 10,000ft. These tools track everything from notes and task management to time and resource planning.

2. Gain your team’s support

All of the technology in the world won’t make you an effective project manager if you don’t have your team behind you. Earn your team’s trust by listening to them, especially about risks and obstacles, recommends Marie Phillips, retired Project Management Institute project management professional. You’ll make more informed decisions if you’ve got a firm handle on your team’s abilities.

3. Communicate well

Communication among your team is essential to success. Tools like Skype and other chat software make it easy to stay in touch with your team at all times. Even with these slick tools, some people may still prefer phone calls or face-to-face interaction.
It is important to understand how each member of your team prefers to communicate. This will help prevent misunderstandings and will allow you to strategize the best way to introduce your team to new technology.

4. Stay enthusiastic with the right tools

The best way to get your team excited about a project is to show that you’re passionate about it yourself. Don’t let your enthusiasm get bogged down by a mess of details. Turn to programs like Harvest to track time and expenses so you can focus on the heart of the project.

5. Get to know keyboard shortcuts

Project managers have a lot on their plates. Cut down on wasted time by learning keyboard shortcuts for your web browser, email and other commonly used programs. This trick will gain you hours of saved time in the long run!

6. Choose the right person for the job

“If you assign the wrong person to a task, you’re reducing your chances of success before the project even begins,” warns Juan Velasquez, marketing and project specialist at DoItWiser.com. Use a site like Trello to track, evaluate and delegate tasks to your team. The simple layout and clear-cut visuals make it the perfect tool for effective task management.

7. Create a readable timeline

The right visuals give you an at-a-glance view of your project’s timeline without requiring you to flip through a calendar. Use Gantt charts to quickly check the progress of a project. Programs likeSmartsheet have Gantt charts already built in, saving you the time and hassle of creating your own.

8. Prepare for tech failure

You need to stay in touch with all of the decision makers on your project, even if your email is down or you spill coffee on your laptop. Be prepared for tech mishaps with a system that keeps your info backed up across multiple devices.
9. Write a postmortem report
Effective project managers are constantly looking for ways to improve. Evaluating each project after the fact will help you recognize what went well and what could have been done differently.
This is the perfect time to evaluate the success levels of the technology and communication tools you used during the project. You can move forward with successful tools as a best practice for future projects.

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