As a project manager, you are expected to be the expert in all things related to managing projects successfully, including project management best practices.
By being aware of and implementing these best practices, you can set yourself up for success as a project manager.
11 Project Management Best Practices
The 11 project management best practices below will help you do just that:
1. Define the scope of your project
One of the most critical project management best practices is having a clearly defined project scope. It won’t be easy to keep your project on track without clearly understanding what you’re trying to accomplish. Make sure you take the time to sit down with your team and stakeholders and clearly define the project’s objectives. Once you understand the scope well, you can develop a plan to achieve those objectives.
Always communicate with your team. Make sure everyone is on the same page and knows their roles and responsibilities. If there are any changes to the scope or objectives of the project, make sure you communicate those to your team immediately.
2. Plan and manage resources effectively
One of the essential project management best practices is effective resource planning. Without adequate resources, your project is likely to fail. Ensure you clearly understand what resources are required and how much each is needed.
Then, create a plan to acquire or allocate those resources. Once your project is underway, monitor resource usage and make adjustments as necessary to ensure that your project stays on track.
3. Assemble a team of qualified individuals and delegate tasks and responsibilities
To successfully manage a project, it is essential to assemble a team of talented individuals who can work together effectively. Each team member should have the necessary skills and knowledge to contribute to the project positively. Furthermore, it is also essential that the team members can communicate and collaborate effectively.
After identifying the qualified individuals, delegate tasks and responsibilities (use task management software), this ensures that everyone has a clear understanding of what needs to be done and helps to keep the project on track.
There are a few things to keep in mind when delegating tasks:
- Ensure the team member has the necessary skills and knowledge to complete the job.
- Make sure the team member has the time to complete the task.
- Delegate tasks based on each team member’s strengths.
- Be clear about what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.
- Follow up with team members to ensure the task is being completed as expected.
- Be available to answer any questions that team members may have.
- Be flexible – if a team member is having difficulty with a task, be willing to help or reassign the job to someone else.
- Be patient – change can be difficult, and it may take time for team members to adjust to new methods or procedures.
- Have faith in your team – they can do great things!
4. Track and report progress regularly
As a project manager, it’s essential to track and report progress regularly. Not only does this allow you to identify any potential problems or issues early on, but it also keeps your boss up-to-date on the project’s status.
Here are a few best practices to keep in mind when tracking and reporting progress:
- Set up a system for monitoring progress. This could be as simple as using a spreadsheet or project management software.
- Make sure to track all tasks, not just the big ones. This will give you a more accurate picture of progress.
- Report progress at regular intervals. This could be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, depending on the project and your boss’s preference.
- Be prepared to discuss any issues or problems. This is essential to progress reporting, showing you’re proactive about solving problems.
- Be honest about your progress. It’s better to be open and transparent about your progress, even if it’s not all positive.
- Keep your project organized. This will help you stay on track and avoid any confusion or chaos.
- Set realistic goals. This will help you avoid getting overwhelmed or discouraged by the project’s scope.
5. Set clear objectives and project milestones
It is essential to set clear objectives and project milestones for your project to ensure its successful completion. Be specific about what you want to achieve, breaking down your goals into smaller pieces that can be easily accomplished, and setting a timeframe for each plan. You should consult your team members and get their input on the most realistic and achievable objectives and milestones.
Once you have set clear objectives and project milestones, creating a detailed project plan is essential to outline how you will achieve these goals. This plan should include tasks, deadlines, and assigned responsibilities for each team member.
Finally, creating a system for tracking project progress and milestones is essential. This will allow you to identify any areas that are falling behind and take corrective action as needed. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your project is well-organized and on track for success.
6. Communicate regularly with your team
It is essential to keep your team updated on the project’s progress and any possible changes. Communicating regularly ensures everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal. It is also necessary to establish clear communication channels so everyone knows the project’s progress and can provide input or assistance.
Doing so will allow you to build transparency and trust with your clients and confirm any assumptions before proceeding with work. Furthermore, enforcing a communication plan will ensure that everyone is kept up to date on the project’s progress, timeline, and budget.
Make sure you keep all stakeholders informed of project progress and changes. Use clear and concise language when communicating with team members, clients, and other stakeholders. Be sure to document all communications so everyone is on the same page and there is a record of what was discussed.
7. Manage project risks
Risks are inherent in every project, and if they’re not managed effectively, they can jeopardize the success of the entire endeavor.
There are several different approaches to risk management, but some of the most effective project managers adopt a proactive approach. Rather than simply reacting to risks as they arise, they take steps to identify potential risks early on and develop plans to mitigate them.
Some of the best practices for risk management include:
- Identifying risks early on. The sooner you identify a potential threat, the easier it will be to develop a mitigation plan.
- Developing contingency plans. Contingency planning is essential for dealing with unexpected risks. Having a plan in place can minimize a risk’s impact if it does materialize.
- Monitoring risks closely. Once you have identified and planned for risks, watching them closely is essential. This way, you can take action if a risk does materialize.
- Communicating risks to stakeholders. It’s important to keep stakeholders informed of potential risks so they can make informed decisions about the project.
- Accepting risks when appropriate. In some cases, taking risks may be more advantageous than trying to mitigate them. For example, if a risk is unlikely to materialize and the cost of mitigation is high, it may be better to accept the risk.
- Reviewing risks regularly. Risk management should be an ongoing process, not done once at the beginning of the project. Review risks periodically to ensure that they are still valid and that the mitigation plans are effective.
- Documenting everything. Good documentation is essential for effective risk management. Document the risks, the mitigation plans, and the results of risk reviews. This will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that nothing is forgotten.
8. Make adjustments as needed to ensure the success of the project
As the project manager, you must make adjustments as needed to ensure success and that it is on track and progressing as planned. This may include making changes to the project’s budget, timeline, or scope. Communicating these changes to the project team and stakeholders is essential so everyone is on the same page. Making adjustments is a vital part of being a successful project manager.
If there are any issues or problems, it is up to you to address them and find solutions. This may mean adjusting the project implementation plan or timeline and working with other team members to get things back on track.
9. Celebrate successes and learn from failures
Business management is all about achieving successful outcomes. To do this, you need to be able to celebrate successes and learn from failures. One of the best ways to learn from failure is to have an evaluation after each project.
This is a meeting where you review what went well and what didn’t go so well. It’s essential, to be honest about both successes and failures. If your project fails, you can use this meeting to learn from your mistakes and devise a plan to improve.
If your project was a success, you could celebrate by sharing lessons learned and hits with your team. You can also take this opportunity to reflect on what went well and what could have been done better.
10. Document everything throughout the project
Documentation is critical to the success of any project. By documenting everything throughout the project, you ensure that everyone is on the same page and that nothing gets forgotten. This includes maintaining up-to-date project plans, documenting decisions, and keeping track of risks and issues.
11. Always be prepared for the unexpected
As a project manager, it’s always important to be ready for the unexpected. That means having a solid contingency plan in case something goes wrong.
Your boss expects you to know how to handle unexpected problems during a project. That means quickly adapting and developing solutions to keep the project on track.
12. Plan for setbacks and how to take corrective action
Another best practice is to plan for setbacks because the main causes of project failure are unanticipated changes. The survey from PMI showed that the most common causes for the failure of projects were changes to the Company’s Priorities (29%), project objectives (32%), or initial project requests (35%).
Every professional project manager is aware that even the most optimal projects are bound to some difficulties. You have to plan your work schedule to meet specific requirements for your task.
13. Address & Outline quality standards throughout the Project life cycle
Quality of project performance, reliability, and consistency are the three benchmarks that need to be addressed during the entire project’s lifecycle. It’s a project management best practice to define standards for every phase of the lifecycle.
Project managers, remember to communicate benchmark results to all relevant parties to keep everything consistent and reliable.
What is the definition of project management?
Project management refers to planning, organizing, and executing a project within a given timeframe and budget. A project manager is responsible for ensuring that a project is completed on time, within budget, and to the required standard. A project manager can also manage communication and conflict between team members.
Project management tools
One of the several underrated project management best practices is using project management software to its fullest. PM Tools can help you to plan and track your project, as well as communicate with your team. Several project management tools are available, including Microsoft Project, Trello, and Asana.
Make sure to choose the right project management software for your needs. Be familiar with the features and capabilities of the project management software you choose. Understand the different types of project management software available. Make sure to select a versatile and easy-to-use one.
Finally, use project management software to improve communication and collaboration among team members.
What are some of the benefits of using project management software?
There are many benefits to using project management software, including the ability to track progress, manage deadlines, and keep everyone on the same page. Good project management tools can also help you budget your time and resources and can be valuable in supporting your projects on track.
How do I select the right project management software for my team?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the right project management software for your team will depend on several factors, including the size and scope of your projects, your team’s location and availability, and your budget. However, there are a few general tips that can help you choose the right project management software for your team:
- Make sure the software is user-friendly and easy to learn. The last thing you want is for your team to spend more time figuring out how to use the software than actually working on the project.
- Choose software that offers a free trial or demo to test it before committing.
- Look for software that integrates with other tools and software you already use, such as Google Drive or Dropbox. This will make it easier to share files and keep everyone on the same page.
- Make sure the software you choose has all the needed features, such as task management, time tracking, and reporting.
- Choose software that’s affordable and within your budget.
- Read online project management software reviews to see what others say about the different options.
Following these project management best practices ensures that your projects are completed on time and within budget. You’ll also be able to avoid common pitfalls and keep your team on track. So, what are you waiting for? Get started by signing up on Nifty to start implementing them and see the results for yourself!
How do I become a good project manager?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to become a good project manager depends on your skills and experience. However, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of success:
1. Get training and a certification in project management.
2. Read books and articles on project management.
3. Attend conferences and seminars on project management.
4. Join a professional organization like the Project Management Institute (PMI).
5. Find a mentor who can help you learn the ropes.
6. Get experience by working on small projects first.
What is the difference between a project and a work plan?
A project plan is a document that details the goals and objectives of a project, while a work plan outlines the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of an individual or team.
What is the difference between a project and a task?
The difference between a project and a task can confuse some people. A project is typically more extensive in scope than a task and requires more coordination among team members. Projects also usually have a defined timeline and budget, whereas tasks may not. Additionally, projects typically have specific goals or objectives that need to be met, while tasks tend to be more mundane and routine.
What is a project life cycle?
A project life cycle is a framework used to manage projects. It helps to ensure a consistent process and establishes phases with specific deliverables and milestones.
For example, the first phase, Concept, is when the project goals are outlined and initial Planning is done. The second phase, Planning, is when a more detailed plan is created, and the team involved in executing the project is assembled.
Implementation is when the actual work of the project takes place. Closeout is when the project deliverables are completed and evaluated.
What is a project manager?
A project manager is responsible for planning, organizing, and managing a project. A project manager should focus on best practices to improve team performance. For example, a project manager might be responsible for developing a schedule, assigning tasks to team members, and tracking progress.
What is a project team?
A project team is a group of individuals with different roles and responsibilities who work together to complete a project. For example, a project team may include a project manager, developer, designer, and tester.