Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

5 Best Practices for Effective Project Management - Part 1

~ By Brad Egeland

The word WOW over a grunge background

While leading our projects, we like to make sure we are doing so to the best of our abilities, helping our project team gain responsibility and experience, and keeping our project customer engaged. Sticking to overall project management best practices is what we strive for – or at least should be striving for – on every project.

So as you go through your project engagements, let's consider a few "best practices" litmus tests to perform (if only in your head) to make sure that you are delivering. If you don't do this, in my opinion, it can become too easy to fall into a rut of going through the motions and "just running the project." And by that, I mean doing what you're "supposed to do" but not necessarily doing what the project or customer needs or providing that extra WOW factor that customers like to see…it's what they keep coming back for, right?

There are many things you can do that meet these criteria, and what those things are and how you do them depends on the customer, the project, the industry, etc. However, there are a few best practices that you can consistently inject into your projects to make a difference. Here's my first two:

Formally Kick Off the Project

Make the project kickoff a formal occasion, and make sure all the important people are there. I don't care if it's a $50,000 project or a $50 million project. Do this. The $50k project may kick off over the phone if the budget doesn't allow for a face-to-face gathering, but do it anyway. You aren't limited by technology in this area, so make it nice, and make it formal. It will set a certain expectation for the project, and your customer will appreciate the dog and pony show -- trust me.

Document the Project Well

This is broad, I know. But be thorough and purposeful with your documentation. Create some formal plans that mean something – communication plans on how project discussions will happen, requirements documents putting the project scope in perspective for each stakeholder, and design documents that help developers move forward with coding and testing the solution they are working on. Also, have the customer sign off on these: make them official. Don't go overboard on the $50k project, and – likewise – don't just phone it in on the $50 million project. Let the formality and effort match the budget and visibility/importance of the project. That said, documentation is important, so do it right. Peer review all documentation before giving it to the customer. The worst thing you can do for customer confidence is hand over error-filled documentation and plans. Ouch. I've been there, and it is a very hard hole to dig yourself out of.

This article has started my discussion by covering the first two of my list of five key areas to focus on to ensure you are delivering quality, value and performance on the projects you manage for organisations and for clients. In Part 2, I will continue this discussion by examining three more areas.


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
How many letters are in the word two?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

Top 10 Qualities of an Excellent Manager

The word excellent on a virtual interface with a businessman standing behind it

What are the most important qualities of an excellent manager that allows them to tap into talents and resources in order to support and bring out the best in others.

Project Planning a Step by Step Guide

Businessman finding the solution to a maze

The key to a successful project is in the planning. Creating a project plan is the first thing you should do when undertaking any kind of project.

How to Build a High-Performance Project Team

Business people and bar graph going upwards

What makes a winning project team? Why do some teams achieve greatness while others struggle? Let's look at the factors present on winning project teams.

Agile Through the Waterfall

Agile and waterfall tag cloud

Many organisations have adopted Agile practices into their development methodologies and they have proved to be successful for the organisation as a whole.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Duncan Haughey commented on…
The Project Go/No-Go Checklist
- Fri 22 February 2:55pm

Jeff commented on…
Pareto Analysis Step by Step
- Thu 14 February 4:18am

Alexander Orsini commented on…
The Role of the Project Manager
- Tue 12 February 6:02pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Questionnaire on Application of Green Technologies in the Field of Construction https://t.co/0pkMc5sSdn about 3 months ago

General Project Management • Re: Project Resource Capacity Planning https://t.co/Cz06NsMGI4 about 3 months ago

General Project Management • Re: Identification System for Project Management Methodology https://t.co/y27Ga6roUt about 3 months ago