If you look into the job market, more and more positions require some basic project management skills. Also, non-project management departments are asking for training in the area. Why?
Well, our way of working has changed drastically in the last few years.
There are constant changes and challenges that you can’t plan for and performing small or bigger projects has become the new “normal” for many companies and organizations.
That being said, we also know that project management is very complex and no company can expect their employees to be project managers. To not create a very long article, we wanted to highlight three main concepts of project management everyone should know, as they can help you no matter what job or personal project people are pursuing.
- Creating a project plan & keeping track of it
Yes, this sounds very basic. But you won’t believe how many projects don’t have a clear plan, or how many started with a plan that in the end was not tracked and just left in a “dusty” folder somewhere on the PC’s desktop. Always try to imagine your project plan as being the “Google Maps” of your project. As in real life, getting from A to B has become harder without Google Maps, also in projects it is almost impossible to reach your goal without a project plan. At the start of a project, make sure your project plan is well structured, contains all the relevant information (e.g. objectives and milestones), and has a clear timeline. Don’t forget to set responsibilities for each of the tasks and in every team meeting take a look at the plan, update it and make any necessary changes.
- Create a risk analysis and a communication plan
What makes projects so complex, are the many difficulties that can arise on the way. But many of those risks are already clear to the eye from day 1, except we didn’t take the time to prepare for them. Well, let’s not do that anymore.
Create a risk analysis where you actually write down possible risks that can occur, a contingency plan of how to avoid those risks, and an action plan if any of those risks actually happen. This will allow for much faster reactions. Even if it is a small project, preparing can never hurt and I promise the risk analysis won’t take too long to create.
And don’t forget that the success of your project will mostly depend on strong stakeholder management. That is why it is very important to create a communication plan. Who do you need to inform? Who needs to be included in the decision-making? Write it all down and keep track of it – it will save up so much time in the long run.
- Sharing Lessons Learned
You wouldn’t believe how many projects start the wrong way even if a similar project was already performed in the past (maybe even by the same team). Writing down the lessons learned and sharing them with your team and organization can make such a big difference! Don’t forget that part after each project. Write them down and make them visible to everyone.
I hope this helps gain some insights into the essentials of project management.
Ah, and before I forget:
Always celebrate at the end of a project – you did a great job and can be proud of yourself and your team!