How to manage projects effectively
Although the phrase “project management” still seems heavy or complicated to most employees, many find themselves somehow working on projects anyway. These are usually defined as having a finite beginning and end date, with a set of deliverables by the time the project terminates. Examples would include repairs and renovations, software installation, or implementation of new HR policies. It has thus become useful for everyone to know at least some principles and tools from the project management profession, without needing certification or the more technical aspects of the practice.
We asked for some tips on how to effectively manage new or current projects from Luigi Mapa, a professional OD consultant and entrepreneur:
Start by identifying the project’s purpose, expectations and requirements
One of the biggest sources of frustration in managing a project is dealing with changes in the project’s requirements. While this can never be completely eliminated, it can be minimized by thoroughly identifying the stakeholder’s requirements and expectations.
At the start of a project, it is important to learn these skills: 1) asking the right questions, 2) clarifying ambiguous terms and unspecified details, and 3) negotiating timelines and deliverables. Being able to do these will ensure alignment of expectations and result in a better working relationship between the project manager and the key stakeholders.
Assess the project risks before proceeding to project planning
The traditional approach was to create a project plan, assess the risks, then create an alternative plan. It is actually more efficient and strategic to assess the risks first, then proceed to mapping the tasks to be done.
For example, if the project calls for preparing and managing an event, then determining which resources might be more expensive as the event draws nearer will enable the project manager to identify which suppliers to contact first. Or, if an identified risk is a high demand for parking spaces, then the team could make finding an offsite parking venue a part of the project plan.
Plan out your communication frequency, reporting frequency and agreements
One of the most underutilized tools in the project manager’s toolbox is the communication plan. Maximizing this tool early in the process has benefits such as having a more engaged project team, reducing conflict and confusion, and getting more support from stakeholders.
Modern project managers need to see themselves as communication managers; we are responsible for ensuring that important information is shared, that key stakeholders are updated about the project status, and that team members are focused and engaged.
This can take the form of regular status updates or project reports, face-to-face and online meetings, and periodic project evaluations.
Even something as simple as knowing how to lead a project kick-off meeting the right way can make a big difference in the project’s life span.
Mapa will facilitate a training titled “Project Management Toolbox: Adopting the Mindset from Planning to Execution” on June 24, 2019, at the Inquirer Academy. The same training will be held in Cebu City on June 28, 2019.
The workshop is highly recommended for project team leaders and members, department heads or supervisors, initiative champions, multiple-account managers, events or operations managers, consultants, freelance professionals and entrepreneurs.
The Inquirer Academy is at 4168 Don Chino Roces Ave. corner Ponte St., Makati City. For more information about the workshop or if you would like to add your input on the article, you may email [email protected], call (632) 834-1557 or 771-2715 and look for Jerald Miguel or Karl Paz, or visit the website at www.inquireracademy.com.
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