Project managers, CEO’s, HR’s and other management professionals are always trying to improve their management skills.
There are conferences that you can attend, books that you read and seminars to be bored at. Between 10.000 and 100.000 people are searching monthly for project management methodologies and techniques so I figured that I should help my fellow managers by providing some top notch project management tips and tricks.
Now, I could come up with a few myself, or read about other techniques online but that would be plainly boring. Therefore, I decided to have some fun and ask some people about their secrets and how do they manage their team.
This month’s topic is project implementation. I asked people from various industries to share their project implementation secrets or hacks and boy they delivered.
At Squarespace, we believe collaborative teams create the most effective, beautiful work. For our first quarter campaign featuring John Malkovich, project managing the campaign involved managing expectations of both internal and external stakeholders, adjusting to rapidly changing timelines, running on the fly meetings, and constantly ensuring everyone was on the same page. The secret sauce was quite simply, flexibility. While having a rigid process in place is great in theory, more often than not flexibility comes into play when managing several teams and timelines. As a project manager, you must know what your absolute must-haves are, and compromise on other things in order to create great work.
Farah Sheikh, Brand Manager at Squarespace
In my opinion, project managing and project planning are two different things. Being a successful project planner requires excellent organization, financial foresight, accurate scheduling and impeccable forecasting. Project Managers often exhibit these traits while also leading their team, executing the plan, resolving internal or external conflict, and in some cases – managing investor expectations.. My advice is to involve your team in the planning process – executing the plan isn’t an individual task so neither should the planning. This empowers your team, allows them to share insight regarding their capability, and helps you avoid possible roadblocks. I also prefer to schedule ‘risky’ or difficult tasks early in the process. If these are achieved, it all but ensures the project will be successful, if not – there is ample time to recover and find a solution, versus having the the entire balance weighing on the final dicey proposition.
Bryan Koontz, CEO at Guidefitter
Define and clearly communicate project roles and responsibilities. This is possibly the most important task when starting a project. Who does what, and when? It’s not enough to have a plan; ALL stakeholders need to clearly know what is required of them so that no tasks fall through the cracks.
Nanci Brown, Strategic Projects and Client Services Management at Client Services Management
The biggest and best tip I can give comes straight out of every Agilist’s playbook — make sure that you’re doing just enough planning in just enough time.. I can’t stress this enough. Planning too much up front leads to out-of-date plans that don’t reflect reality. Planning too much, even if it’s just in time, wastes the team’s time (and, in our case, our client’s billable hours). Not planning enough leads to chaos.
Jonathan D. Roger, Operations Director at AndPlus
Before formally launching a project, I identify team members that I have identified as the most knowledgeable and influential. These are not necessarily people with lofty titles. I discuss with the team members the initial project scope and their immediate thoughts. I also ask follow-up questions about concepts that may possibly add some insights at formal project launch.
You might think that a project manager envisions the project from start to finish. Here at Smartketer we learned that the finish line doesn’t really exist because of the endless list of new ideas, opportunities to improve and constantly changing technologies. The best you can do is to never lose sight of time, budget and quality. There’s an urge to win against your competitors, but in the end, quality will make all the difference.
Gulacsi Csenge, CEO at Smartketer
Being adaptable is what keeps us going here at Teamweek. We have tons of plans and ideas that we want to implement but most of them never surface. The original plans are rarely perfect and you have to find ways to deal with unexpected problems, but still keep in mind the end goal. However, when we do get to complete a new project, it’s almost always awesome. Exhibit A, exhibit B.
Annika Helendi, CEO at Teamweek
I’m going to make these project management hacks into a monthly series where I’m trying to get more and more managers to give their feedback, so if you are interested, drop me a PM with your email address on my twitter and I will personally send you the next ones.
Feel free to share your project implementation hacks in the comments bellow.