Project management is a practice that requires you to understand how to work efficiently. While this can be a bit different for everyone, there are some general things that you should seek out or avoid when it comes to project management.
To make this a bit less confusing, we’ve had some of our favorite business partners fill us in on their recommendations of what to seek out and what to avoid in project management practices.
What to Avoid
Let’s start out with ‘what to avoid’. There are lots of things to consider when looking at project management practices, and some of those are things that could be detrimental to your project management efficiency.
1. Implementing Project Management Tools too Late
Project management tools are wonderful pieces of technology that can greatly benefit your team. However, if you’ve already established a routine for managing your current projects, you may be less productive if you try to add a project management tool too late into the process.
“If you want to use project management tools, don’t wait to start introducing them to your team,” says Karim Hachem, VP of eCommerce of Maxine of Hollywood. “Make sure there is time at the beginning of a project or season to fully train everyone on how to use the technology in a way that will be beneficial and keep everyone on the same page so you don’t have to interrupt the work flow later on and try to implement new technology without a training session.”
2. Losing Track of Priority Projects
One of the more difficult parts of project management is keeping track of the projects in the queue and finishing them in order of priority without slacking on any of them. It’s important to keep everyone updated and have easy access to the progression of each project so you know what needs to be prioritized each month, each week, and each day.
“Looking at a list of projects isn’t super helpful if you can’t see how far along those projects have progressed,” says Natália Sadowski, Director of Aesthetics of Nourishing Biologicals. “The best way to do this is to find a project management system that lets your staff update progress on a regular basis so you can easily see how those projects are coming along and assign tasks as needed for those priority projects.”
3. Forgetting to Praise Your Team
It’s easy to let people know when they’re falling behind on projects or assignments, but its also easy to forget to praise them when they’re doing a good job. A big part of effective project management is incorporating positive reinforcement into your daily routine.
“As a leader, it’s important to make your staff feel appreciated and valued in their work,” says Alex Wang, CEO of Ember Fund. “You don’t want every interaction with them to be corrective or negative. This becomes difficult if you don’t have good project management practices and you feel overwhelmed. Don’t let yourself get to the point of feeling like you’re drowning in work as you try to keep up with everything and learn to praise your team even in the midst of major workloads.”
4. Forgetting to Track Time
It’s a tedious task, but important all the same. If you don’t have a way to consistently log the time that’s being spent on projects then future project management will be more difficult. THis is especially true for projects that you complete on a routine basis.
“Learn to track time on projects so you can more accurately predict time requirements for future projects,” says Oliver Zak, CEO and Co-Founder of Mad Rabbit. “Every team functions differently, but tracking project completion time can give you a good idea of when to expect them to complete tasks and realistically set goals for the future.”
What to Do
Now that we’ve discussed what not to do as you approach project management practice development, let’s talk about the goals you should have. Project management is a wonderful concept to utilize if done correctly, so glean some information from the experts below in regards to how you can improve your project management best practices.
1. Look for Opportunities to Collaborate
Some projects require specialized knowledge and specific resources to achieve goals. If you don’t feel like an expert in that subject area or simply find yourself or your team needing some help, don’t be afraid to look into collaboration.
“Collaboration can be a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of the resources you already have in your staff,” says Alex Chavarry, Managing Member of Cool Links. “However, if the project you’re working on requires knowledge that is not held by your team, you can also look for opportunities to help your staff learn to network within your industry and collaborate with others that have knowledge of that area.”
2. Be Adaptable
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the plan that’s been created within the project management meetings or set up in a project management software, but you also have to know how to adapt to new situations, challenges, and circumstances.
“As much as we wish we could, we can’t predict the future,” says Leo Livshetz, Founder and CEO of UnHide. “You may have a project that’s 80% complete only to find out the client has changed their mind and wants to see something different. Learn from these situations and lead by example. Show your team what it means to adapt to new things professionally.”
3. Invest in Project Management Continually
Project management isn’t something that you simply learn and move on from. It is an area where you and your team will have to continually grow and learn. Whether because there are new project management systems, new growth goals, or even a change in team dynamic.
“Project management should be a consistent part of your budget and time allowance,” says Gia Marie Jurosky, Director of Communications of RoseSkinCo. “Whether you’re investing monetarily or through time, your goal should be to continually improve your project management practices to be the best they can be. Stagnation in project management is simply not an option.”
4. Provide Consistent Structure
Project management tools can only go so far. The rest is going to be up to you as the leader of a team to provide the structure that leads to the best project management practices. This is going to be largely dependent on your team’s skills and abilities, but finding a structure that works for your group that helps with efficiency and project management can take your team from average to incredible.
“Structure is a key component in any area of business, but it’s especially important with project management,” says Justin Soleimani, Co-Founder of Tumble. “If you don’t have a structure established, it’s going to be difficult for your staff to work together like a well-oiled machine. From assigning specific roles to establishing check-ins and meeting times, structure can really elevate your project management practices.”
There are many do’s and don’ts of project management. Remember to keep these things in mind as you move forward and look to develop project management best practices.
Learn to implement tools early on and prioritize projects efficiently. Doing this will help your team stay on task and prevent interruptions to the workflow later on. Additionally, you should remember to praise your team often and not exclusively focus on negatives. Finally, don’t forget to track time.
In terms of things you should be doing, there are plenty! Learn to collaborate and look for opportunities to grow yourself and your staff. Invest in project management continually and prioritize knowledge growth into the future. Being adaptable to new situations or changes is helpful, but having an established structure will also help your team navigate the hard stuff.
Project management is a journey and while it may seem overwhelming, you can implement these things slowly into your organization and learn what project management tips and tricks work best for your team.