4 Project Management Tips From the Pros
By Karen J. Bannan
Successful project management doesn’t just happen
overnight. But if you can master the skill, it can improve IT
decision-making and communication, and help foster an effective work
culture. In fact, a 2008 study from the Project Management Institute
found that the more mature the project management in an organization,
the greater the number of intangible values that came out of it -- not
to mention that companies at every level of maturity that used project
management in the study saw tangible benefits.
No matter what the project, these strategies will help you be the best project manager you can be.
Streamline with simplicity.
Have a detailed
breakdown of all the elements in a project -- data, products and
services -- so you know you’re not overlooking anything,
suggests Ginger Levin, PMP, a consultant who also teaches at the
University of Wisconsin-Platteville. “Assign each work package
to a specific individual or organizational unit to complete,”
she says. “Then, list activities to be done to complete each
work package, determine resource requirements, determine cost estimates,
identify risks, and identify possible needs for outside
procurements.” Keeping track of every detail will help you
stay organized and on top of everything that needs to be done.
Identify all stakeholders.
Don’t procrastinate when it comes to involving
stakeholders. When implementing a new project, you’ll probably
have a list of obvious stakeholders, but it’s the people you
leave off the list that can throw a wrench into it in the long run, says
Albert Lee, lead analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, an IT
research firm in Boulder, Colo. “It’s not just the
IT people or management you need to worry about,” he says.
“You also have to think about everyone who is going to
interact with the project in the long run.” End users should
be consulted, he says, as should outside contractors who might be
affected by the new project.
Set a vision for the whole team.
your project mean to the IT department? The answer is probably very
different from what someone in customer service or finance would say.
This is why you need to make sure everyone on your team, including
customers, has the same vision for your project, says Levin.
it should be done at the kickoff meeting with the customer,”
she says. “Then, when a scope statement is prepared, include
the vision and make sure everyone signs off on it.”
should include bringing together representatives from every department
and making sure they communicate from the start with IT and with each
other. “Recognize that communications represent 90 percent of
the project manager’s job,” says Levin.
Keep an eye on time and budget.
starting any project, create time and cost estimates for your project.
Make sure you’re tracking progress of both on every task, even
those that don’t seem critical. The sooner you can spot time
or cost creep, the sooner you can squelch both or readjust stakeholder
expectations. “You’ve got to track everything to
make sure the process is smooth for everyone involved,” says
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