You have landed in a great job in a digital marketing agency. Pertaining to your knowledge and experience, you are the right arm of your marketing project. Congratulations, you are the project manager
You will be seen as the person in charge of the project, who has to keep things at a place to make sure the project is moving forward steadily. Project management is a complex process to understand. If you want to shine, you have to bring in the inputs to successfully meet project goals.
Being a manager is no easy gig. With so many projects, comes many challenges. It feels like a constant uphill battle to keep running smoothly on track. Are you happy with your project performance? Being successful in managing projects is usually the outcome of following the best project management practices and overcoming the challenges that come along.
Challenges in Project Management
It is one big task for project managers to balance the elements of a complex project. Here are the unexpected obstacles a project manager has to face on a daily basis.
- Fail to know what exactly to expect from a project
- Timelines eventually slip due to unrealistic ‘initial deadlines’
- Disagreements in team bringing a negative impact on the project
- Expansion of project outside of the planned objectives
- Teams working from different time zones, complex language barriers
- Unexpected risks of the financial market, hidden flaws, and other factors
- Dependency conflicts leading to delayed schedules
- Managing the expectations of customers
I am fully aware of these challenges as I have faced these numerous times. Using a defined structure to make sure the projects in my organization are done right increases the chances of project success. So, the next step for you is to figure out what can be done to overcome the challenges you are likely to face throughout the project.
How to Win at Project Management
If you aren’t managing up and out enough, you are probably not a winner. But you do not even want to be a loser. Right? So, step on to the following directions to win as a project manager.
1. Establish firm goals & objectives
Top-performers and successful people set goals for maximum results. It gives them something to strive for. A project without a goal is like traveling on a road without knowing the destination. Every manager needs to set up goals to know clearly what they want to achieve. Here are the steps you need to outline objectives that motivate everybody in the project team:
- Define the vision statement – primary purpose with a clear intent that the whole team can relate to.
- Choose a SMART model – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Results Oriented and Timebound to support your vision.
- Be sure that driver’s and supporters agree on your project’s objectives.
- Involve your team through one-on-one chats, team meetings etc. to set their project goals.
2. Plan, plan and plan again
As every story is based on an outline, a project is based on a project plan in the project management world. A project requires a detailed project planning to get the story right. Planning means to simply have an idea of how a project is executed, monitored and controlled. It streamlines the doing.
Incorporating project management software with a planning tool can make it easy to achieve quality results. No longer will you have to worry about scope-creep when you have a proper planning. As you have planned what will be happening, what quality measures you have to use, who will be working on what, you do not have to worry about if people are going to be available because you have planned in advance. All in all, you get a good reality check to make changes to bring the project back on track.
3. Get your team communication at the best
The importance of communication between team members can’t be overstated. If you are overlooking the importance of communication on your projects you are taking a serious risk. A team that doesn’t communicate is like a broken down engine. When you start implementing a communication strategy, your team can bond and bounce ideas off each other, it offers a message of transparency, encourages two-way feedback, takes care of project deadlines and other key decision makers.
You may need to get into more face-to-face meetings or if your team members are from a different location, meet-up with the whole team on video conferencing. Work collaboration software makes online communication a breeze as teams can access the information quickly and easily. In the end, it’s a win-win all round as the whole project will get together seamlessly.
4. Find the right project management tool
It’s tough getting the entire team on-board without a project management solution. You need to find a tool to streamline the process of managing a project. But how should you start to find a tool that aligns with how you execute projects the best way. When hunting for the right project management software, make sure it manages the entire lifecycle of your project. Incorporating tools like ProofHub, Asana, and Basecamp will balance your expectations with your goals without sacrificing quality. Make a wise choice!
5. Keep clear schedules
It becomes very complicated if a project is running behind schedule, which means not knowing what needs to be done, which resources should be utilized and when the project is due. These unknowns can over complicate any project. Teams will always have a problem with navigating too big projects if there is no clear schedule. When creating a schedule, make sure it covers:
- Project milestones
- Dependencies between tasks and milestones
- Resource requirements and allocation
- Timeframes and task duration
In short, your schedule should be like a timetable that outlines things revolving around the project to be completed on time.
6. Set appropriate expectations
No matter how much experience you have as a project manager, one of the most difficult challenges lies in setting project expectations. It can be difficult for managers if they don’t really know how busy their team is. Often, project managers receive sudden project request through emails or phone calls that can be difficult to manage. This calls for a need to measure the expectations against reality, confidently providing expectations of what the team will deliver. Thus, making a plan to be better with project management.
7. Engage your team on a day-to-day basis
For many managers, keeping team members engaged is an ongoing struggle. How engaged your team is will be one of the key parts of a successful evaluation. If there are disengaged employees it will lead to more absenteeism, falling productivity, frequent resignations and much more. The team needs to be engaged daily. You can get them together by creating groups on social media channels or any of the project management collaborative tools to improve workplace culture and keep the team informed on a regular basis.
8. Organize your resources in one place
Just as you do with your certificates and other documents, you need a system to keep your project files at one location so you don’t waste time searching for them. Where does your team look for if they need to access client files? It wastes a lot of time and energy to go back and forth chasing the documents and files. Google Drive and Dropbox offer free and paid file storage and sharing saving a lot of time. The most project management software has direct integration with Google Drive and Dropbox to organize easily. Or users can also attach documents in the software, saving valuable time in the future.
You are the vision of your project. Start with knowing the ins and outs of your project, successfully bringing a project to completion by acting upon the above solutions. Take care of your projects!
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