Top 10 Project Management Best Practices

When it comes to managing a project you want to make sure that you’re doing it properly. Careful project management will help you to advance and improve your business while poor project management could mean delays and difficulty in executing the project on time. So, how do you make sure you’re doing everything you can to execute your projects properly?
You need best practices.
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What Are Best Practices?

Essentially, best practices are specific ways of doing things that you do every time so that you always get the same result. They’re time-savers and they’re better for effectiveness because you’ve already tested them out and you know they work. When you use best practices you are ensuring that things are done exactly the way they should be every time. You’re also ensuring that everyone knows what those practices are and how something should be done so there’s no confusion. You can speed up the process and make sure that it’s done well at the same time.

Your Best Practices

So, just what are the best practices you should be putting into practice? We’re going to talk about 10 that should be on your list, but keep in mind you may want to put in a few additional best practices in your business. These should work no matter what type of business you’re running, but depending on the needs of your company you may also want to start implementing more area-specific practices that will make sure everyone on the team gets the job done the way it should be and when it should be.

Let’s take a look at some of the project management best practices available, so you can select the best fit for you and your team:

1. Write Everything Down

The very first thing you need to do is make sure that you write down everything about the project that you’re going to be working on. When you can write out all of the details including the scope of the project, who is responsible for which pieces, what needs to be done along the way and so on you’re going to set yourself up for success. This means that everyone who is involved will know what’s being done from the people responsible for the actual tasks to the people who are going to receive the end product when you’re finished.
Writing things down can be done with a Gantt chart, which will help you lay out all of the different requirements, dependencies, and deadlines. Plus you have the ability to customize everything to each project.

2. Get Estimate Input From Everyone

When you create an estimate for cost as well as a timeline you should never do it on your own. Even as the project manager it is essential to get input from anyone and everyone that you can within the team. Talk to the different people who are going to be responsible for each aspect of the project and make sure that each of them knows what they’re supposed to be doing. This will enable them to give you more informed ideas of how long each piece of the puzzle will take and what the materials and labor costs are going to be.
The more you bring your entire team into a situation to make sure that they know what’s going on the more accurate the quotes you give will be. That’s going to look a whole lot better when it comes to the people you’re working with and letting the client know what’s going on.

3. Be Specific on Responsibilities

When you tell someone what they need to do you must be as specific as possible. You don’t want to risk projects or steps within the project being done incorrectly and that means you need to tell each member of the team exactly what they are responsible for. When you tell them what they need to do and you clarify each of the different aspects you can ensure it’s going to be done properly. That’s going to make it easier for them to give you accurate timelines as well.

On top of that, giving them the right instructions and as detailed of instructions as possible means that they’re going to get it done right the first time. That means less redoing of the work that’s going on within your team. It also means the client is going to be happier with the end product.

4. Stay Aware of the Progress

As the project manager you are responsible for getting the project done on time. Even though you want to make sure that each member of your team is responsible for their part and each person is holding to the best standards you will ultimately be responsible. You want to make sure that you know what’s happening at all times. That means being aware of the progress that your team is making and the areas where they might be falling behind. From there, you’ll be able to encourage them to keep up their pace, speed up the pace or anything else you need.
By being aware of the progress at all times you are going to set yourself and your team up for better levels of success. That’s because you know when things aren’t working the way that they should and you can take action immediately rather than being blindsided later down the road.

5. Watch for Scope Creep

When it comes to operating a team and executing a project it’s easy to find things that aren’t part of the brief that make sense to add. Maybe you start out adding a small section to the project because it makes sense to have. Or maybe the client asks you to add on something that doesn’t seem like a big deal so you do. All of these things are part of scope creep. Instead of doing just what you were originally charged with you’re getting into a whole lot more than what you originally agreed to and you’re not getting paid anymore.

The most important thing when it comes to scope creep is to recognize what you’re doing. Recognize just how many ‘extras’ you’ve put into the project and make sure that you’re being compensated properly for them. Or at least make sure you’re aware of the extras you’re doing for no added compensation.

6. Evaluate After the Project

Once the project has been completed you need to make sure you evaluate the entire process. Evaluate how the project turned out, how every step worked along the way, and so on. Make sure that you’re paying attention to each of the different steps in the process and that you know how each one worked or didn’t work. You need to evaluate whether you had a good estimate on the time and the budget or if you came in over or under one or both of those factors.

By evaluating after each project you’re going to have a better chance of seeing where mistakes were made and where things were done well. Then, you’re going to have a much easier time going through and making changes (which we’ll talk about in just a minute).

7. Keep Everyone Informed

It’s always important to keep your entire team informed about what’s going on. You might find that someone on the team wasn’t there for a meeting where an important concept was discussed or that someone was accidentally forgotten in a group email. Or maybe someone just didn’t notice or pay attention to something that was happening. By keeping everyone informed and making sure everyone is always on the same page you can make sure the project you’re working on is done properly. If you’re not paying attention or someone is not informed there might be mistakes along the way.

Keeping everyone informed means letting them know about the initial project, each step in the project, how to keep track of what’s going on, and more. It means updating them about changes, milestones, deadlines, and anything else relevant to them getting through their portion of the project and the entire project being completed on time.

8. Initiate a Risk Response Team

Having a risk response team makes it a whole lot easier for you to stay on top of what’s going on. If there’s ever a problem you have a team that can jump in and takes charge right away. These should be people who are trained to take care of emergencies and who can jump in no matter what’s going on and make sense of the problem to get it resolved. Having a risk response team can take some effort because getting it set up requires training and time, but once you have it you’ll recognize the benefit.
You’re going to want this team available to help you and the rest of your team at any time during a project. Just keep in mind that they are the ones who you want to call if something needs to be done or if a mistake is made and needs to be fixed.

9. Keep Everything Together

When it comes to running a project you need all of your gear to be kept together. So, if you have paperwork and documentation for a specific project make sure it’s all in one location. If you have prototypes and models for the project or drawings, sketches, diagrams, or anything else you should keep them in a single location as much as possible. Now, there will be different teams that need access to these materials, which means that some may be kept in different departments or areas of the facility. That’s acceptable as well as long as everyone knows where each item can be found.

Keeping items together as much as possible makes it a whole lot easier for you and the team to stay on top of what’s going on with your project. If you constantly have to search for different parts of the project or different papers you’re only going to find yourself overwhelmed and unable to get things done the way you want.

10. Update the Process

Finally, after the project is over and after you’ve gone through all of the other steps, including evaluating your current process, it’s time to start looking at the changes that can and should be made. Consider what you’re currently doing and how it did or didn’t work when you went through this process. Consider where you could make improvements and what type of improvements you should be making. You want to make sure that you’re on top of all the different steps.

Making changes and updating your process should make you more effective and more efficient. You might even come up with entirely different best practices that you want to put in place. The most important thing is to be comprehensive about your goals and your plans from this point.

Conclusion time

By putting each of these techniques and plans into motion you’ll be able to start building and improving your business. You’ll be able to execute your projects more fully and definitely to a higher standard. Plus, you can make sure that everyone is on the same page from beginning to end. There’s no concern about who needs to do what or how a process needs to be completed. You can use best practices in all aspects of your business. In fact, they don’t just have to relate to the way that projects are executed. You can set up these types of practices for everything you do.

Having a specific way to answer phones, take down messages, contact clients and more will help everyone on your team and within your business to understand what’s happening from one time to the next. It will help everyone to stay on task and everyone to get their tasks done the right way. And that’s the most important part of the process. It’s the entire reason to have best practices.

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