I present you 5 simple rules (actionable tips) of effective project management, which will help people (even those who don’t have any experience) with running projects. I don’t write too much about methodologies. I give here the list of techniques, which appear indirectly or directly almost in every popular methodology and which you can use in your everyday work no matter what projects you work on.
#Use project management app
The most important tool that we’ll need is project management app. Of course we can do without it. We can write out tasks in excel, and collect statuses and remarks by emails…However it’s a quick way to disaster…
Such a tool is used not only for writing out the tasks and reporting. When used correctly, it’s the best knowledge repository about the project, including documents archive and history of conversations.
There are many tools for project management and many of them are great. However, I suggest using Asana. It’s a great and very simple in use tool, which additionally is free for teams up to 15 people.
Below there are some tutorials that will help you to start work with this programme.
Begin with the vision of the end. How to plan project realization:
1.Write down precisely what the final effect of the project realization should be.
2.Then divide it into stages (milestones), the best not too long ones e.g. 2 weeks. Every stage should end with measurable, possible to verify effect. The shorter stages, it’s easier to control the project deadline.
3.Write out the first stage into the tasks and assign people to them. Don’t write out all stages into the tasks if there is no need, because projects are changing during realization and after finishing the first stage you can totally change your plans as for the others.
4.Remember to describe tasks precisely, so as it wouldn’t be any doubt about that what should be done.
Time evaluation of tasks.
To give realization date of task we must define its time consumption. There are many methods of time evaluation. For the start I suggest evaluation method, which is used in lightweight methodologies of project management – voting. You gather your team and present the task. Then you vote annonymously and estimate task realization time. You assign time on the base of average time evaluation.
Several rules of effective communication:
1.If it’s possible meet your team every day. During the short meeting (about 15 minutes) everybody should answer to questions:
• What did you do yesterday?
• What are you planning to do today?
• Did you face any difficulties?
Thanks to these meetings, every member of the team will know what is happening in the project and they will make helpful suggestions to one another.
2.Difficult tasks delegate personally, explain and ask if everything is understandable.
3.Put all tasks to the project management system e.g. Asana.
4.Before starting every stage, meet your team and discuss all tasks and aims (possibly conclusions from previous stages).
5.Brag about your team successes, even the small ones.
#Feedback for employee
This point should essentially be placed in the point ‘communication’, however I seperate it because of its significance. It’s extremely important that every team member was given feeedback regularly, both positive and negative one. Remember that researches show that most employees expect to be given more feedback from their employers.
How to give feedback properly:
1.Feedback must always concern action, and not a person. It’s very important in case of negative feedback, because criticism of a person isn’t constructive, it causes offense and not behaviour change.
2.Show behaviour results (positive or negative ones).
3.While giving feedback, give only the facts (nobody can oppose to them).
4.Remember that punishing your employee, motivates him to avoiding punishment in the future, a not to positive behaviour change.
An example of sentence construction for feedback:
When YOU … (here we put information about behaviour) … then (here we put information about the consequences of behaviour), [in the case of positive feedback we add thanks / in the case of negative feedback we give information about necessary change]
When you sent me this report 3 days before deadline then I could prepare and pay salaries earlier. Thank you.
When you didn’t deliver me the report yesterday, in accordance wih the deadline, then I couldn’t prepare salaries and that is why the transfers for employees will be delayed, next month please deliver the report on time.
I recommend a great podcast about giving feedback and other issues connected with manager work: Manager tools
Whatever work methodology you’ll use you can always improve something. That is why, after finishing every project (or every stage) remember to:
• Spend some time on thinking about project results – what was a success and what wasn’t.
• Meet every team member and ask him what according to him went well and what can be improved in the future.
• Write a journal of actionable tips (it’s not worth repeating mistakes).
The actionable tips that I described, will help you in everyday project management, no matter what methodology is used in your company. However, you must remember that actionable tips used by Project Manager are not enough to run big projects effectively. The key is an effective implementation of chosen methodology in the whole organisation.