Project management – 7 key steps for success

How to deliver a successful project

Project management can be a difficult job but by following a few key principles you can ensure that your project stays on track.

The role of project manager can be a difficult one. With so many elements to manage, it’s all too easy to take your eye off the ball, which in turn can adversely affect the project outcome.

However, there are some key principles you can follow that will help your project to stay on track and deliver results.

Understand the requirements

In order to deliver a successful project you first need to fully understand exactly what the requirements are. It’s important to create a detailed project brief that sets out the scope and objectives of the project, key deliverables and milestones, and what budget and resources are required. Agreeing these elements with the client from the beginning will help you to plan effectively and avoid any unwelcome surprises.

Create a detailed plan

Planning is key to effective project management and having a clear brief will enable you to develop a detailed plan for the project delivery. A good plan should cover all bases, and encouraging your team to participate in the planning process will help you to do this. It’s also worth remembering that project management can be unpredictable and things are likely to change as the project progresses. So, while your plan needs to be detailed, it also needs to be flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances.

Choose the right team

A project is only as good as the team behind it, and ensuring you have the right mix of people working on your project is a crucial element of project management. For best results, choose team members whose skills and abilities are a good match for the project requirements – and try to keep the team to a manageable size. Smaller, more agile teams tend to get better results and experts recommend working with a team of no more than ten people.

Allocate roles and responsibilities

With your team in place it’s time to start allocating roles and responsibilities. Everyone has a specific role to play in the delivery of the project and, as project manager, it is your job to make sure each team member understands their role and how it contributes to the overall project. At the same time, be sure to give your team some space – avoid micromanaging and give them the trust and confidence they need to produce their best work.

Clear communication

Project failure can often be attributed to poor communication, so maintaining clear lines of communication with your team, clients and other stakeholders is vital for a successful outcome. Make time to hold regular catch-up meetings where you can discuss the status of the project, check progress against key milestones, raise any potential issues, and brainstorm possible solutions. Try to avoid getting bogged down in too much detail and instead concentrate on communicating the most relevant and most urgent information.

Use the right tools

The good news about project management is that you haven’t got to do it all alone. There are lots of tools out there, such as resource management software and workflow automation programmes, that are specifically designed to make project management more efficient and effective, so don’t be afraid to harness this technology to make your life easier and improve your project management practices.

Be agile

In today’s dynamic business environment, some traditional project management methodologies can seem inflexible and overly-bureaucratic. As we’ve already mentioned, project management can be unpredictable, so you need to be agile enough to roll with the punches and quickly deal with any issues that arise. By working flexibly and responsively you’ll be perfectly placed to deliver a great result for your client.

The best advice we can give in regards to project management is to always be prepared. With the right planning, the right attitude and the right team behind you, you’ll be well on track to manage a successful project that delivers on its objectives.