It's difficult to plan a route if you don't know where you're going. Kicking off our list of project management tips is to set project goals. Start by identifying and defining your goals with your client, then turn to your team and make sure they are both well understood and measurable.
Keep them visible throughout the journey and continuously question yourself: are we working toward our objectives? Going from a strategic level to your day-to-day, these goals are a constant motivator that can boost team productivity by reminding people of the overall purpose.
As you map out your project, take note of which tasks are critical to achieving your goals. You'll need to prioritize tasks from the outset, but don't be afraid to reassess during the project if circumstances change.
Identify the most important tasks that need to be completed, and prioritize them accordingly. When the going gets tough, prioritization will let you act quickly and decisively. The last thing you want to do in times of stress is to start planning from scratch.
Communication breakdown is one of the most avoidable reasons for projects to fail, yet it happens at an alarming rate. To combat this, try one of the most simple but effective project management tips out there: create a communication policy.
In practical terms, this means arranging all your meetings ahead of time. A mix of daily standups and progress checks as you reach milestones is a great place to start. But more than that, you can also set guidelines for how to communicate. Cut down on gargantuan email chains and siloed instant messages, and instead keep all your task-related instructions, questions, and updates on the relevant file in your project management software.
With a solid project communication policy in place, you, your team, and your clients will be on the same page throughout the project. A not-so-secret weapon for improved productivity.
Having just made reference to project management software, here we are again. A project management tool is your cloud-based headquarters, a foundation for all the tasks, conversation, and analysis you'll need.
As a manager, you can take a bird's-eye view of your team's progress, or dive right into the tiny details. This gives you both a strategic and a task-based viewpoint so you can monitor project progress and advise on individual cases when called upon.
One of the best project management tips is to look at your overall plan on multiple levels. First, think about key checkpoints, such as getting funding, releasing a product, and completing testing and setting deadlines for each. Sure, every company has their own targets and quirks, this is just an example. For each checkpoint, you can focus the magnifying glass further and put a series of tasks into place that allow you to reach each checkpoint.
Then it comes down to the individual task instructions. A checklist of subtasks is a great place to start, but don’t forget to include the resources needed so everybody has what they need before they even start.
When you create a project plan with full details, you can boost team productivity and minimize the roadblocks along the way.
The best project management software will include analytics as standard. A great way to monitor project progress is to set time trackers on each task (more on that later), and judge your progress accordingly. By staying strict on a micro level, you make macro project tracking almost effortless.
But no matter how long you spend on the planning stage, you need to keep an agile mindset. Every now and then, your project will throw up a curveball. If you’re focused on monitoring project progress, you’ll spot these roadblocks and be able to learn from any mistakes, rerouting your project accordingly.
Managerial duties go far beyond setting a strategy and disappearing into the shadows. Project team motivation is one of the least-talked-about areas of management, and most people see it as something that you’ve either got or you don’t.
Luckily, there are ways you can become a top-level motivator — as long as you put the effort in. Here are a few key project team motivation tips to get you started:
Get to know your staff personally
Set clear and achievable goals
Provide constructive feedback on an individual level
Provide the right tools and train your team to use them
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As will become clear throughout our list of project management tips, flexibility is a key factor for the success of any team effort. Despite your training, experience, and industry expertise, it’s a sad fact that you can’t predict the future. Therefore, flexibility is one of the best qualities to have as a manager.
It might sound easier said than done, but even if you’re not naturally inclined to flexibility, you can make it part of your strategy. A great starting point is to leave gaps in everybody’s schedule to absorb any difficulties that may arise. Another large part is — and this might hurt — to keep your ego in check and be open to suggestions from your team and clients.
Risk management is another one of those often-ignored areas that, when embraced and implemented correctly, can seriously boost team efficiency. Start off by asking your team for any risks (no matter how absurd) they can consider, and cut them down to size into the following categories:
Acceptable risks are those you can absorb without a noticeable effect on your project.
Transferable risks cover tasks that you can pass off to others. Think legal work and tasks that don’t fall into your speciality.
Avoidable risks are high-stakes, but unnecessary to the success of your project, so yeet them out of your plan and get back to what’s important.
Risks you can mitigate are more flexible, and by pulling a few strings, you can reduce the risk to an acceptable level.
So easy to forget when you’re under the pump with work, celebrating success with your company is a great way to boost team efficiency. Don’t just wait for an end-of-project blow out. Celebrate small wins on a small scale (maybe a shoutout on your company social media stream) and arrange an event for every milestone completed.
We won’t advise on what to do when your project is done. Just…keep it above board.
If you can comfortably handle an entire project by yourself, congratulations! But you’re maybe more of a solopreneur. If you’re really challenging yourself, you’ll have to share responsibility.
Far from an admission of weakness, delegation is a mature response to a heavy workload. Not only does delegation give you a bit of breathing space, it’s also a serious motivator to whoever receives the new responsibility. Make sure you deploy tasks to those with the appropriate skill set, or at least train people up in advance.
Agile methodologies are no longer a play thing for innovative tech teams, and no list of project management tips would be complete without them. To boost team productivity, absorb key agile techniques such as:
Daily standup meetings
An iterative working style
Agile visualizations such as Kanban boards and Gantt charts
Agile methodologies will give you an edge by making your project flexible and adaptable.
Make sure meetings are productive by having a clear agenda, staying on topic, and following up on action items. This is one of those project management tips that will require a bit of practice, but you'll soon reap the rewards.
One key thing to remember is to never send out a meeting request without an outline of what you'll cover and your team will arrive prepared and ready to go. Keeping your meetings productive is a great start for smooth project communication.
Even the most mindful out there will have difficulty remembering every little aspect of a project, so save time by creating checklists to remind you. Similarly, customizable templates of your workflows allow you to launch sections of your project at the click of a button and improve your efficiency.
Templates and checklists are a sure-fire way to streamline your more repetitive tasks and improve efficiency.
One of the top project management tips for organization is to set up a cloud-based drive with all your documentation. By making it easy to navigate, all of your team can refer to your files when they need help. As the project manager, rather than spending time addressing individual issues, everybody can answer a lot of their own questions.
You should date your files and folders with a smart YYYYMMDD format to save time finding files, and if you have a searchable database, you’re on to a winner.
Take the guesswork out of time tracking and expenses with sleek automations. Time tracking is especially effective for third-party contributors as you can track billable hours. When it comes to invoicing, you can check records against each other instantly and speed up another time-consuming task.
When you create a project plan, you’ll need to set times for each task. Then, as you analyze your progress, you can weigh up predicted time and actual time taken. With your results, you can either intervene to speed up work, or readjust your expectations for future projects.
When you set project goals, it’s easy to think that if you just hire the right people with the talents you need, you’ve completed half the battle. But even with the best HR team, you can’t guarantee you’ll find the right profiles, or that those you do find will fit in with your team.
Therefore, focus more HR efforts on internal learning. Not only does a culture of learning give you extra skills for future projects, you also boost the motivation of the individuals involved.
Collaboration is up there with the best project management tips, whatever your industry. In addition to your communication strategy, you can also use collaborative documents to streamline your working practices — especially useful for remote teams.
Now you’ve got the tools in place, it’s time to foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork among your team members. Celebrate wins as a team, and point out how collaboration helped you get there, and that success will start replicating.
Project management tips often overlook the importance of staying in touch with all your stakeholders. Some project managers will focus too much on the clients while working their team to the bone. But more shy leaders are at risk of giving too little attention to the clients, while focusing too much on the internal team.
Free-flowing, open communication is an ideal way of keeping everybody aware of your project progress. With input from everybody, you can react quickly and in an agile way to keep your project on task.
The last of our project management tips is one you can implement during your project, but even more importantly, as a reflection at the end. With all of the data saved in your project management tool and CRM if you’re working with clients, you can pull out reports that tell you how well you’ve done.
Figure out what is working and what isn’t, and update your project templates as a result. By frequently improving the little things, you’ll soon see big changes.
Twenty project management tips in a row may be a lot to digest, but if you’re having difficulty working out where to start, give Bitrix24 a go.
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Boosting a team's productivity and efficiency is important because you increase output, achieve goals more quickly, and reduce costs. This results in improved morale, better customer satisfaction, and greater success for the organization as a whole.
Some overarching practical ways to boost a team’s productivity and efficiency are: