At Delphic Sage, we know the importance of keeping our projects on time and on budget. However, we also recognize the reality that many times staying on top of projects is more difficult than it sounds. How do we manage to keep our projects on track? Read more about our Top 5 Rules of Project Management.
1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. Then, communicate some more.
The best advice I can give to any project manager is make sure you communicate constantly to your coworkers, your subordinates, your boss, and most importanty your clients. When having a conference call, recap all of the main discussion points with due dates and person responsible for each item. This way there is no confusion when people exit the call. Follow up any meeting or conference call with an email that recaps the main discussion points with due dates and person responsible for each item.
2. Get Everything in Writing.
Anytime a client calls you on the phone with a question or a scope change, follow up that call with an email to the appropriate parties. I like to use the phrase “As discussed on 9/21, client X has asked for XYZ”. This way there is no confusion about what was discussed via phone and you have a record of the conversation. Also, you can cc: any interested parties over email that may not have been privy to the phone conversation.
3. Update your project plan. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Project plans are meant to change and evolve. I’ve never had any project stick to the original project plan EVER. The beauty of project plans is the “plan”. By updating your project plan on a regular basis and distributing to the appropriate parties, all involved are in the loop regarding tasks and due dates and you can communicate any potential setbacks or problems ahead of time. This allows you to “plan” appropriately instead of scrambling at the last minute.
4. Nothing beats a face to face meeting.
Email is great. So is IM. Texting is helpful too. But when you need to get answers from your team or you’re kicking off a project, nothing beats a face to face meeting. I know we are all busy. But email chains back and forth can get confusing and are time consuming. Sometimes its much easier to schedule a quick 15 minute meeting and get everyone in the same room to solve your problem.
5. Bossy is a better adjective than incompetent.
I’ve been called lots of things as a project manager but I try to avoid the word “incompetent”. Sometimes you just need to be bossy to get the job done. As a matter of fact you were probably hired because you are bossy. Its your job to motivate people to get their tasks done on time. Don’t worry about hurting someones feelings. It is possible to be efficient while remaining professional.