10 top tips for successful project management

Tiny Aaron

We’ve been developing project management software for the last 14 years. In that time, we’ve seen companies change, quantum leaps forward in technology and huge shifts in the way that people manage their time and projects.  We thought you might benefit from our collective wisdom, so here are our top tips for successful project management:

1. Visualise and communicate


Being able to visualise a project from beginning to end and making this come to fruition is the mark of a successful project manager. Communicating what needs to be done in a detailed, unambiguous way is a key skill. Diagrams, pictures and a good grasp of written communication will help reduce the chance of misunderstandings from the off.

2. Plan and plan again

Planning is the most important activity of any project manager. Good planning requires organisation, attention to the detail and full team involvement. During the course of a project priorities and goal posts will shift. Constantly revisiting and refining the plan will help you adjust for this.

3. Be flexible


Old fashioned project management methodologies don’t work in today’s fast paced business environment. Responsiveness is the key to the rapid changes that are likely to happen during the course of a project.

The rise in Agile methodologies like Scrum and Crystal have been testament to this over the last ten to fifteen years.

In-depth process documents, gantt charts and other “project management necessities” are out. Agility and flexibility are the name of the game today.

4. Have a sense of urgency

Every project is constrained by a finite amount of time, budget and resource. A good project manager knows that we have to live within these means for a successful outcome. Ensuring that the project process is constantly driving towards completion is hugely important. Regular checkins, meetings and follow ups are paramount.

5. Avoid micro management


The best project managers lead, they don’t cajole. Being too focused on every detail of a project can be stifling and unproductive and draws important focus and energy away from hitting milestones and achieving deadlines.

6. Keep revisiting the way you manage projects

Look at the way the last project you managed went. What worked? What could have been improved? Could you have done things differently?  Make sure you have a good feedback loop. Never pass an opportunity to understand from your team, clients or business partners for what you could do to improve your practices.

Adaptations in technology mean that things are in a constant state of flux. Your project management process needs to evolve alongside changes in tech and business process.

7. Engender an open communication environment


Good communication is such a vital component of successful project management. Encourage all project participants to communicate their opinions and concerns openly and honestly. This should speed projects up and reduce the chances of mistakes, ensuring a more profitable outcome overall.

8. Be systematic in your approach

How do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time. Breaking a project up into manageable morsels will be less intimidating and feel more achievable. Taking each step in a logical manner, with feedback and approvals helps ensure things stay on track.

9. Keep your eye on the magic three: Quality, Time, Budget

Fast, cheap and good… business wisdom suggests you can have two of these but not three.  As a great project manager, it’s your job to balance the potential conflict between these variables, and ensure that your team understands this too.

10. Ensure you have the right tools for the job


Having the right software to underpin your meticulous planning is key to your success. A system that can help you plan jobs, control budget, manage resource and track progress is essential to give you a good bird’s-eye view of what’s really happening. You also need something that can adapt as quickly as your project does.

There are a whole bunch of them on the market. Finding the right one for you is a bit of a minefield. Our (unbiased) opinion is … try a few out, side by side. Get your whole team using them on a live job or two. A couple of weeks should be long enough to get a good idea of which is likely to work best for you.

And of course if you’re interested in trialling Streamtime, we’d be more than happy to have you along.

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10 top tips for successful project management