When it comes to running you projects and keeping things going smoothly you need to understand just what goes into the process. Whether you’ve been managing projects for years without really knowing what you were doing or you’re just starting in a new role, you need to make sure you’re on the right track. That’s how you’re going to help your team and it’s how you’re going to help your clients and yourself as well. So, let’s take a look at what you need to know about project management.
Let’s start by looking at a few important definitions that you need to know when you’re starting project management. That way, you can make sure you’re off to a good start before we jump into all the specifics and other things that you need to know.
Project – A project is a temporary thing that you need to do for a client (or even within your own company). It has a beginning, an end and an outcome that you’re expected to reach. It also has specific tasks that need to be completed to consider it ‘completed.’
Management – Management means that you’re in charge of something and that you’re controlling it rather than it controlling you. It means that you are the one who figures out what needs to be done and when. You are also responsible for getting everyone else on the team to execute the tasks that need to be completed to achieve the goal.
Project Management – So, when we talk about project management we’re talking about you taking charge of a task that has a definitive start, end and outcome. You are working with a team to execute that task to the best of your ability and in the way that the client expects. It means you are using the skills that you have, the processes you’ve developed, the methods and experience that you have and the knowledge of yourself and your team to create a specific experience and outcome for your client. If you do it properly, you’re going to have happy clients for a long time.
In order to effectively manage a project here are specific tasks that you need to accomplish. Some of these are done early on in the process and others are done throughout or later in the process. The goal is to make sure that each of them is done properly.
- Define just why the project needs to be done
- Record the requirements of the project
- Specify what needs to be delivered to the client
- Estimate all resources needed including labor and time
- Set up a business case that justifies the costs
- Secure all necessary agreement and funding
- Develop a plan for executing the project
- Lead the team in completing the project and achieving delivery
- Manage any problems that occur along the way including changes or risks
- Monitor the overall team progress compared to the plan
- Manage and maintain the budget
- Maintain all necessary communication with clients, stakeholders and other members of the team
- Close out the project as needed for efficiency
- Monitoring and controlling
- Integration – How can you bring everything that needs to be done into one task? How can you get your entire team working together to achieve the outcome that you need? What needs to work together to achieve the goal or outcome that the client wants?
- Scope – What needs to be completed for the task to be considered complete? What tasks are a part of the project and what tasks are outside of the needs of the project? How much does the client expect you to get done?
- Time – How long do you have to get the project completed? When does the client expect to see some type of update? When do they expect to see the final project? How long will it take for each part of the project to be completed or each person to get their tasks done?
- Cost – What is the total cost for you in this project? How much does it cost for materials? What about labor? What about getting the project to the client? What is the client expecting to pay for the project? Will the amount they are expecting to pay cover what you need it to?
- Quality – What type of quality will this project have? Do you have the knowledge and skills as well as the materials to get it done to the right standard for the client? Can you get the specifications that the client is looking for as far as the durability and quality of the deliverables?
- Procurement – What do you need to get together to execute this project? Do you need to get more of something? Do you need to purchase or find materials that you don’t already have on hand? How about getting anything from the client or someone else on your team?
- Human resources – How are you going to work with each of the different members of your team? How are they going to work together? What do you need to do to make sure that everyone is working well together and executing their tasks properly?
- Communications – How does everyone communicate with one another? What are your preferred methods of communication for each member of the team? How will your team communicate with you? How will you communicate with the client or with other project managers? Who else is going to communicate with the client?
- Risk management – What are you doing to minimize the amount of risk that you have to take on as a team? How are you going to be responsible for the potential risks of not getting the project completed on time? Have you pushed yourself or your team too far or too thin to get everything completed the way the client expects it to be?
- Stakeholder management – What are you doing to make sure that everyone who has a stake in this project is going to get what they expect? How are you making sure that they are kept in the loop about everything that’s happening with the project?
So, now that we’ve talked about different parts of the project management process and questions you need to know how to answer, let’s take a step back and look at just why you even need to do all of this in the first place. You know what to do, but why should you do it? Why does it even matter in the long run of completing the tasks? Well, there are a few reasons.
1. Project management produces a quality result.
2. Project management ensures the client gets what they are looking for.
3. Project management ensures all members of a team know the desired outcome.
4. Project management ensures all members of a team are working together to achieve the outcome.
5. Project management ensures all materials and resources are ready when needed.
6. Project management ensures all resources and materials are used properly.
7. Project management ensures all team members stay on task and on schedule.
8. Project management ensures all necessary people are kept in the loop about what’s going on with a project.
There are many different situations where you would need project management, but in general, if you’re working on any task that involves multiple people working together to achieve an outcome on a set deadline you will want to consider using project management of some type. You want to make sure that everyone is on the same page at all times and that can be difficult if you don’t have some way of keeping everything in line. And if you don’t have everything in line you could end up with big problems along the way.
Project management keeps things moving, but only if you have a good system for it. That’s what we’re going to talk about in the next section. After all, project management alone is just a whole lot of lists. If you don’t have a good system you could still end up having trouble or struggling with keeping up with everything that needs to be done and how it needs to be done. So, what kind of system are you going to put in place to make sure you stay on top of your tasks and everything that goes into managing a project?
There are plenty of different systems and options that you can use when it comes to managing projects but one of the easiest methods is going to be with a Gantt chart. These charts allow you to track absolutely every aspect of your project, and they do it in a way that is even more efficient and simple to learn as well. After all, if your system is too complicated you’re not going to stick with it, right? So, how do you use a Gantt chart to help you?
Gantt charts allow you to set up a single project in each chart. From there, you can break the project down into smaller steps that need to be completed. Each of those steps can even be broken down further, so you don’t have to worry about missing anything. But even better, you can assign each of those tasks to someone on your team and make sure that everyone knows what they are responsible for. That’s because those tasks are easily updated and monitored directly by them.
Each task can also be given a start date and an end date, so each member of your team knows what they should be doing and when. Then, they can update the tasks as they work on them with the amount of progress they’ve made or if the task is complete. They can even communicate directly in the chart with others to make sure everyone is on track or to help out or update others based on their work. It makes the whole process of setting up a task and then following through with it a whole lot easier.
If you’re looking for Gantt charts then you want to make sure that you are going about it in the right way. You want to make sure that you have a system that you can use and will do all of the different things we’ve already mentioned and then some. That’s where Instagantt can help you. With Instagantt you’re going to have everything you need to keep track of your projects and make sure that your entire team is working toward the same goal. You’ll even have integration with all of your other favorite apps and services.
When it comes time to set up project management with your company, it’s important that you are on the right track and that you work with the right systems in the first place. Starting with Instagantt is going to make it a whole lot easier for you to achieve the outcomes that you and your clients are expecting. And all you need to do is take a little bit of time to fill out your charts to get started. What could be easier than that?