To figure out how to create a successful project, you need to be somewhat of a jack of all trades. This is because there are many factors to consider, and just as many challenges to overcome.
With this in mind, let’s look at what successful project management looks like, and the steps you need to take to get there.
What is considered a successful project?
There’s no definitive answer here. Being successful could mean delivering on the project’s objectives, regardless of time and budget. But more likely, it could mean delivering on all of a project’s objectives, including scope, schedule, budget, efficient resource use, quality, value, and outcomes.
Either way, your definition of success will be something that’s agreed upon by you, your team, and your client. However, expect this definition to change as the project evolves.
It’s no surprise that a project manager’s role is central to the success of any project, and creating a framework for this requires a large amount of thought and attention to detail. The biggest hurdle? Not every project manager knows how to do this. Time, experience and passion will always work in your favour, but so will a few expert tips along the way.
How can you achieve success?
Successful project management is really about creating the right environment, using resources wisely, and having the right attitude. So to help you plan for your soon-to-be successful project, here’s some simple project management tips.
1. Make sure you walk the talk
As a project manager, you can talk all you want. But if you don’t walk the talk, then you’ll have a tough time motivating your team and keeping your project on track.
People will be looking to you throughout the whole journey. This means you’ll need to demonstrate excellent leadership, communication and organisational skills – from start to finish.
Along the way, you might need to upskill in certain areas, or even admit to your limitations. However, this is all part of leading by example and making sure the project is carried out in the best way possible.
2. Failing to plan is planning to fail
When it comes to project management, planning is one of the most important aspects. But great planning takes a lot of organisation, a forensic attention to detail, and the involvement of all your team.
Also, keep in mind that project priorities change during the course of a project. You’ll need to constantly revisit, reshape and refine your plan to make sure you’re adjusting accordingly.
3. Be flexible
Old-fashioned project management methodologies don’t always work well in today’s fast-paced business environment. Naturally, new methodologies do.
Responsiveness to rapid changes is the name of the game, and the rise of Agile methodologies such as Scrum and Crystal are testament to this shift over the past 10 to 15 years.
4. Expect ‘We Needed it Yesterday’ attitude
Every project is constrained by the same culprits – deadlines, budgets and resources. A good project manager knows this, and will look to work within these limitations.
Because you’re likely working within a fast-paced environment, it’s important to encourage a sense of urgency (without being overbearing). Make time for regular check-ins, productive meetings and follow-ups.
5. Keep management minimal
The greatest project managers lead, they don’t cajole. They also understand their own limitations, have faith in their team, and try to steer clear of micromanagement.
Keeping management to a minimum will help give the project room to breathe, and ensure you’re hitting milestones and achieving deadlines. Getting to know your team and their skills will also help you better delegate and assign tasks.
6. Get loopy for feedback
Having a project fail isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s important to learn from your mistakes and make the right changes going forward.
This is why feedback is so important. Encourage everyone involved in the project to express their opinions and concerns openly and honestly. This will help you avoid mistakes and make sure the next project is successful.
7. Work like you have a walkie-talkie
With so many responsibilities to take care of, you might not always be around to physically oversee things. But this doesn’t mean you’re not available to offer guidance or answer questions.
Communication is crucial to successful project management – between you, your team and your clients. The more open you are to communicate with everyone – through emails, phone calls, video chat or in person – the more successful your project will be.
8. Take inspiration from an assembly line
How is the end result created on an assembly line? Simple – one step at a time. Breaking a project down into manageable parts will make it seem less intimidating and more achievable.
Approach each step in a logical manner, and get feedback and approvals along the way to make sure things stay on track.
9. Think Project Triangle
In today’s landscape, a project is usually bound or “constrained” by three elements. This is called the Triple Constraint Triangle Theory – also known as the Iron Triangle in project management. It usually looks something like this:
- Scope, time, budget
- Scope, schedule, cost
- Good, fast, cheap
As a project manager, it’s your job to not only balance these three variables (whatever they end up being), but to make sure you use them to your advantage to finish projects successfully.
10. Stay equipped
How much does successful project management rely on using your resources wisely? Majorly. And resources include both software and people.
Firstly, it’s important to stay equipped with the right software. Of course, you can always trial Streamtime and see how it feels (we’re sure you won’t be disappointed), but there are a whole bunch of options on the market.
Either way, a good system should help you plan jobs, control budget, manage other resources, track progress, and adapt to change as quickly as the project does. Just keep in mind that all tools and resources have gaps and overlaps, but it’s the way you apply them that matters.
Secondly, it’s worth thinking about your creatives, including in-house designers and freelancers, as your biggest resource. You’ll need to maximise their potential and make them a more effective part of your project management strategy to effectively manage your project.
One project, many facets
In projects big and small, there are many factors to consider when you’re trying to create something that’s both beautiful and successful. If it’s any consolation – every creative shares the same struggles.
To make your life easier, it’s worth passing up sweating the small stuff and automating your projects instead. With the right team, the right software and the right methodology in place, achieving outcomes becomes that much more manageable.
These are great! I agree that project planning is really important, but then again, if you have a great plan, other issues might occur, such as poor project execution. That’s why communication is key. Also, you’ve got to be realistic about the capabilities of your team, and you shouldn’t push them too hard because that might lead to an unhealthy and stressful work environment, and you don’t want that. Anyways, keep up the good work! Cheers!
Paul, HUSH Project Management & Consulting
It’s quite true and it’s been a decade that the use of Crystal, Scrum and other Agile Methodologies are proving to be the key project winners for most organizations. In this fast-paced business world, you can’t hope to stay afloat unless you respond to the rapid changes. PMP certification is certainly a great means of being aware of the latest methodologies.
Very Creative post, I love it. Embracing a project management software solution is a great idea but you will have to combine it with the best practices and the right approach to get remarkable results. Thank you so much Poli.