Here is a list of the top 9 project management best practices any project manager should adopt. This is the perfect guide to keep in hand before the start of any project. Using these best practices will allow you to become proactive instead of reactive when managing your projects and your teams.
1. Anticipe Risks with a Pre-mortem
Before the start of any project, project managers should conduct a pre-mortem meeting. It allows project managers and their teams to think about project failure before it actually happens.
That way projects can be improved and project managers can come up with several risk management strategies to efficiently deal with any issues without it hindering or comprising the delivery of your projects. Here's how to conduct a pre-mortem meeting.
2. Plan, plan, plan
Project planning is a the heart of the project life cycle, it's one of the most important steps in project management.
Effective project planning helps project managers and their teams better understand how the project is going to managed and controlled, including crucial details such as who will be completing each task, the deliverables that will be produced, the goals & objectives the project will achieve, the estimated budget and costs as well as the amount of time it will take to complete the project.
Project managers need effective project planning to make sure the project remains on track. Moreover, if any delays or changes occur the project manager will be able to react accordingly and take the necessary corrective actions.
Here are three steps for effective project planning:
- First of all, create your project plan, it's a document that covers every aspect of the project and its management.
- Once that's done you can start breaking down your project into more manageable parts thanks to a work breakdown structure or WBS.
- Then, you can create your project schedule where you'll be managing two of the most important factors that can impact the success of your projects: Time & Resources.
3. Ensure all stakeholder needs are met
The stakeholder analysis, sometimes known as "Power-Interest matrix", is an effective process to ensure the success of your projects. It helps you take into account the positive and negative actors that will influence the realisation of your project.
Stakeholders could include: your customers, your employees, your project team, your suppliers or even the public.
Most of the time, several stakeholders are involved at each step of the project. These stakeholders can slow the project down and even endanger its delivery. Therefore it is essential to know and understand their expectations to avoid conflicts at all costs.
4. Exploit your data
Several indicators can help you properly monitor and track your projects. For example, was my project delivered on time? Did the quality of the product or service correspond to the expectations of the stakeholders? Did we exceed our budget?
To improve the performance of your business, measuring project success can be a helpful tool. Fewer mistakes will be made and higher performance will be achieved.
Another thing you could do is measure the Earned value (EV) of your projects. It helps project managers measure a project's performance. Calculating the earned value will allow you to identify gaps in your project planning giving you the opportunity to take corrective actions early on.
5. Make the most out of your time
There are several methods project managers and their teams can apply to optimize their time. First of all, you could implement a timesheet system. It will provide you with valuable information such as the type of activities your employees are working on, how much time they're spending on each of these activities and the monetary value tied to these activities.
As a project manager maximising your time spent on your most important activities will allow you to have a better view of your business’ long-term strategy. To help you out, we created a Time Management Audit Workshop applicable to companies that bill their time.⁂