Project Management Strategies

Chess players and project managers have a great deal in common, which begins with a passion for strategy moves that yield measurable results. Effective project managers are good listeners and fearless in the face of insurmountable challenges. Bold talk is not a substitute for careful adjustments that make the project participants’ jobs easier. Every project participant will learn to trust a project manager who minimizes assignment changes and scope creep.

Effective Strategies

Although every project has unique attributes, project managers will develop a winning combination of actions that resemble holding the reins on a spirited horse. Too much constraint causes the project team to revolt, but mastering certain project management strategies will affect the project results positively.

• Requirements definition – Certain projects are borne out of a pre-defined set of requirements that are translated into the project task list. Others are innovative business advances that must be parsed into complete units that can be implemented in stages. Project managers are adept at drawing boundaries around the requirements to create the project scope.

• Stakeholder agreements – Processes must be developed and documented to handle change requests, work approval and turnaround times. Stakeholders have high expectations of project teams because of the money involved. Project managers are wise to establish guidelines that prevent extreme expectations that cannot be met.

• Structured project plan – Tasks that make up the project must be assembled into a meaningful project plan that includes a critical path. Dependencies can change if careful examination is not completed prior to the project start date. Surprises are avoided when the project manager engages experts in the project plan creation.

• Update schedule – Every project management methodology mentions the project plan, but few encourage constant updates to the project plan. Time intervals, task order and assignments will change often when the project manager is relying on the project plan effectively. Project management strategies include timely updates to reveal the issues that could arise.

Common Mistakes

Project management does not include unnecessary activities that tie up valuable time. Project management theory might call for a certain number of meetings, but the wise project manager will evaluate every suggestion against the situation.

• Meeting overload – Tasks on the project plan require every team member to work independently on the assigned tasks. Meeting time is wasted time in the eyes of most team members. Managers might want more meetings, so the project manager will determine who must be present at each meeting.

• Accepting excuses – Updates and status reports are required. Managers are the best people to enforce requirements for valid updates to the project manager. Lines of communication should follow the reporting structure.

• Trusting the memory – Verbal updates must be refused because of the volume of information offered to the project manager throughout the business day. All information should be received in written form.

• Delaying action – Early adjustments that will reduce the affects of obstacles and problems must be taken. Passage of time causes ripple effects in subsequent tasks.

Successful Projects

Every participant in a project will have a different definition of success. Project managers know that project management theory means less than actual results. Unconventional approaches to situations that arise make project managers irreplaceable.

• Obstacles anticipated – Effective project managers look ahead at least one full week on the project plan and create ways to move obstacles out of the way.

• Work completed – All tasks on the project plan must be completed in a timely manner.

• Participants proud – Great projects are remembered because the entire team talks about the events for years.

Final Word

Project management essentials include effective communication avenues that prevent work stoppages. Development of project management skills comes with experience and making honest mistakes. Every team member knows that the project manager is developing new approaches. Some project management concepts are more difficult to apply than others are. Great projects are made up of talented people who work together to make miracles happen.

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