Top Tips For Effective Project Management

According to some business experts, project management is an art. Others, however, say it is a skill that you can learn if you diligently put your mind to it. Whatever it is, whenever you exert efforts towards defined goals and marshal resources and people to achieve the objectives, then you are managing a project. Thus it would be worth your while to know a few things about being more effective in project management.
When about to manage a project of whatever kind the obvious first thing to do is to determine the scope of the project. What are the desired outputs? When are they deliverable? At what stage are you now? Such and similar questions –probably in greater detail— should establish the breadth and length of the project.
Next, you should assess your resources. To achieve the goals, what resources do you have in terms of people, machines, finances, time, and support infrastructure? What more would or do you need?  Do you need to train or retrain your staff, and do you have time for that? Who can do which activity best? What equipment must you buy for the project? Will your budget support that?
It may be necessary to list down everything so you are clear about them, forget nothing or constantly have them in your mind. Somehow things are clearer when put down on paper.
Once you know these, then you can plan in detail. Break down what you believe you should do into strategies, programs, activities and tasks, and assigning people to each to accomplish, going from the broad strokes to specific details. This way you will have a constant yardstick to measure progress and be able to readily see where you failed and why, but be sure the deliverables are also achievable. Of course, your plan must have alternative courses of action where failure is likely or possible.
Organizing the team is your next step, either by recruiting your people or drafting them from available manpower. Either way, once you have mustered your team, you can either present your plan to them and invite comments, or brainstorm ostensibly from a blank slate until you have generated from then your plan. Both methods have disadvantages and advantages, so normally a combination of both is used most often. However, the latter makes the plan the team’s own, so participation may be more enthusiastic than otherwise.
Then you can start implementing the project, going by the detailed plan you have to deliver results by the deadlines and monitoring the accomplishments or failures, making adjustments or modifications in the plan as needed. It is wise to document everything for later reference or review.
While the above-mentioned process is by and large generic and known to almost all project managers, many managers still fail in the specifics and details, the nuts and bolts of the process. Then the errors compound, resulting in a botched project.
Essentially, project management is simply using the available resources to achieve goals set in accomplishing the project. If you understand that, then you’re off to a good start.
This was a guest post by Julian from Bourton – a management consultancy specialising in the construction industry.