When you are looking to build something great on a budget or a timeline, coordination is essential. That is the job of the project manager. Project management comes with its obstacles, of course, and today we are going to take a look at some strategies and tools project managers can use to effectively complete successful projects.
What is Project Management?
If ever there was a title that perfectly describes the job, it is the project manager. Project management takes many forms, but essentially it is the act of planning and the administration of a project. Good project management will never be mentioned, but poor project management will often result with the project manager being maligned. So, while it is an extremely rewarding job when things go well, when they don’t it can be pretty thankless.
Project managers oversee the creation, delegation, and completion of tasks that they coordinate. By “running point” on the project, they have creative and administrative control over the implementation of resources. Some of the skills that a project manager needs to have include:
- Communication skills
- Risk management
- Time management
- Resource management
- Critical eye for continuous assessment
The Timeline of a Project
The timeline of every project is different. The project manager is responsible for:
- Planning- Once a project’s specifications are agreed upon, it is the project manager’s job to administer tasks as he/she sees fit. Having the critical mind (which often comes from experience) to be able to properly assign resources is at the center of any good project management.
- Time tracking - In many cases, time is money, and most projects come with a specific deadline for completion. Tracking time will allow the PM to see which workers are being the most efficient, giving them an idea whom to schedule on what tasks.
- Collaboration - There are now collaboration options baked right into many of the apps we use for productivity. Since solid collaboration is typically necessary to get a project completed, it is the PM’s responsibility to ensure every resource not only has access to a collaboration tool, but also uses the tool provided to complete their tasks as efficiently and effectively as possible.
- Documentation - Since assessing progress is a big job of the PM, solid documentation practices should be adhered to throughout the project.
- Assessment - The ability to assess the project is essential during the course of creation but effective PMs will need to audit their projects to find out what practices or strategies that worked, and which ones went wrong.
The success of any individual project is tied to its coordination, and that coordination is managed by the project manager. To fuel this coordination, the PM will use several tools.
Project Management Tools
Most of the actual tools needed to facilitate the completion of projects are now found on a singular piece of software, improving project management precipitously. A few tools that are integrated into today’s solutions include:
- Gantt chart - A Gantt chart is a visual representation of the project. The Gantt chart is used to illustrate how a project will run. It makes recalculating the timeline of a chart and shuffling resources around to meet demand much easier.
- PERT chart - PERT stands for Program Evaluation, and Review Technique. It’s essentially a chart that shows where each task assigned in a project is connected to other tasks in a project. Also represented through what is called the Critical Path method, this allows project managers and their teams to get a clear representation of how all the tasks in a project end up creating the end product.
- Moscow analysis - An analytic technique that stands for: must, should, could, won’t... it allows PMs to work with project stakeholders to create the scope of the project. Obviously, there are things you must do in the scope of a project, those need to be planned for and scheduled first. Then the things that should be done, followed by things that could be done to improve value, and finally eliminate things that simply don’t need to be done.
- WBS chart - WBS stands for Work Breakdown Structure and is a common tool to help people visualize the entire scope of a project. This provides a comprehensive list of individual tasks.
Of course, there are many other tools that project managers can use, and many of them are integrated in project management software, as well. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software titles provide project management tools. If yours doesn’t, you can get stand-alone project management tools for your email client that provides PMs a set of useful options.
What you are seeing today is that PMs are using apps like Microsoft Teams and Slack that come with dozens of software integrations strategically designed to make project management--which is, of course, is a traditionally messy endeavor--easier. These titles alone do a lot of good mitigating risks and fueling collaboration.
Call Computerware today at (703) 821-8200 to learn more about how we can help your organization with its project management.