As a project manager, you quickly learn to adapt to many different things. Different types and sizes of projects, different clients, different teams, and different team member personalities.
However, mastering to juggle all these aspects, is no easy task. Project management requires discipline, the ability to manage lots of information, and the ability to communicate the status of different tasks at various stages of a project, just to name a few.
While being a project manager basically translates to guaranteeing a project will move forward successfully with little to no issues, there are crucial aspects or stages to making sure this will be achieved. Let’s talk a bit more about what these are.
The first aspect when beginning to map out a project is research. You must define goals, requirements, tasks, deliverables, deadlines, expectations and responsible parties before you even start planning. The main benefit this stage provides you with is being able to set specific limits to the project, by defining and understanding the project.
See this as a table read before the pilot starts filming. It’s vital for your team to know that you got this. So, set up a meeting and start by providing your team with clear directions. These include schedules, expectations, deadlines, budget, and requirements. By doing this, you will be ensuring a clear and organized roadmap to the ideal order of how your project should run, and making sure everyone is fully aware of what the logical progression should be, and who is responsible for doing what.
It’s your time to shine, your moment, your happy place. The project is alive and you’re pulling all the ropes. It’s extremely important that you, as the project manager, keep full control and maintain open communication with everyone involved in your project (this includes clients and stakeholders), monitor task progress, timelines, and how the budget is going. You must also learn to anticipate any issues or bottlenecks that might hinder your progress in the upcoming future, such as delayed tasks and overworked team members.
You’ve made it to the end of the project, but you still have work ahead of you. The closing stage marks the time to evaluate the good and bad sides of your project and to learn from them. Once you have truly documented each aspect of your project, you need to have a sit-down with your team and discuss their performance, including the areas where your team was great, and the areas where your team can improve in the future. It is also a great idea to ask your clients for feedback, which you can then share with your team. After all, this is what will ensure your future projects' success.
Keep in mind that every project is different, and as such, not all of them involve the same decision-making process. Projects can have all sorts of issues associated with them: budgeting, unhappy clients, last-minute direction changes, you name it.
Being able to make valuable decisions at various points along the roadmap becomes crucial for the success of your project, and this is where a project management tool comes in handy and can truly signify a huge change for you. By overseeing every aspect of your project as a whole, you will gain a sense of ease and control you might not have experienced before during your PM career.