This is Part 2 of the series on: The 7 Steps to become a better Project Manager. Please read Part 1 before you read the remaining steps to help you be more successful as a project manager.
4. Create a Project Plan
This refers to the Project Management Plan, and subsidiary plans, such as those for resources (project organisation), risk management, communications, cost, change management. etc. It goes without saying that detailed work is required for estimates, budgets, schedules, quality and so forth.
5. Execute the Project Plan
Once the plan is created and a baseline agreed upon, execute the plan. During the execution, measuring and controlling against the plan should be taking place. In my experience, I have found that weekly feedback and controlling against the plan work best. At your weekly meetings allow the team members to provide feedback about work done in the last week and agree on the work that should be done for the next week or two. Always make sure that they know what the due date for the next milestone is.
As a project manager you should always expect change and plan for change. Embrace change requests as long as they are shown to add value, and track them against the agreed baseline.
6. Identify and manage Risks and Issues
A risk is an event that has the potential of impacting your project, either positively or negatively. An issue is something material that has occurred and must be handled. (An issue is sometimes referred to as a risk whose time has come) Each project will have unique risks (positive ones may be termed “opportunities”). Risks and issues should be recorded and strategies for them agreed upon and tracked. They should be actively and regularly discussed within the project team. Done well, risks and issues management can aid a project manager enormously.
7. Project communication as the golden thread
Communication is at the heart of all your activities as a project manager. Whether you are tracking risks and issues, creating your plan and its detailed sub-elements, reporting progress or running a governance group or anything else, your ability to communicate effectively with people at particular points in time is vital to your success. “One size does not fit all” is a useful maxim to consider for communication. It is a blend of art and science, and getting it right will play a large part in your success.
These are the seven steps that, if done well, can positively influence a project’s success. The steps are not all that is required, but mainly a focus on some key areas to keep an eye while managing your projects.
For more information about project management best practices, please also look at the following project management articles covering topics like Project communications management, stakeholder management, project closure and many more:
Project Management topics (please leave comments and let me know what you think)
About the author: Linky Van Der Merwe is a Project Management Consultant and an IT Project Manager with 16 years IT industry experience and 12 years Project Management experience.