Project Management 101

Project managers come in all different shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. Project managers’ experiences, skills, and backgrounds all differ. Some project managers manage only a few projects at a time that last for several months, while other project manages manage up to fifty projects at one time that only last for several weeks. Regardless of what spectrum of project management you are familiar with and currently work in, here are some project management 101 tips that can benefit any project management role in any industry.

Many believe that project management is a complex and difficult role, and it can be. Professional project managers know just how difficult and challenging project management can be at times. However, with the right tools, tips, and attitude, any project manager can be successful.

  • Planning. The key to successful project management begins and ends with planning. Tasks, budgets, and resources all require proper planning. Planning may involve running reports, allocating resources (including restructuring, recruiting, etc.), assigning and monitoring tasks, and reviewing and analyzing budgets. Project managers can plan and organize these tasks however he or she sees fit. This may include tracking them with reports, spreadsheets, or even setting calendar reminders.
  • Risk Management and Response. One major element to project management is risk management and response. Each project, regardless of how large or small, simple or complex, comes with its own sets and levels of risk. As a result, identifying, categorizing, and developing a risk response plan is necessary. The type of project, and ultimately the type of risk, depends on the how the risk is categorized and the best response plan. For example, for many projects that work on tight deadlines, schedule is often categorized as a “risk”. However, schedule in itself isn’t a risk, but weather delaying a construction project, which would impact the schedule, is the actual risk.
  • Resources. A project manager’s and even a project’s overall success is only as successful as the team working behind it. Allocating and recruiting resources as necessary is a great way to put together a fully functional and competent team to ensure a project’s overall success. Gathering the best resources for the project can be lengthy and even costly, so planning this stage up front, or as soon as possible prior to the start of the project is the best course of action. This will allow time for training, troubleshooting, and for the team to get acclimated and organized.
  • Organization. One of the most important areas of project management is organization. If a project manager isn’t organized, then the team isn’t organized, and ultimately the project isn’t organized…which are all ingredients for a recipe for disaster. Staying organized is crucial. This doesn’t necessarily mean tidiness (although it certainly helps!) but organized in having specifications documented, filed appropriately, open communication, and having a good handle on schedules, deadlines, and specifications. Also, if team members see that the project manager is organized, then the team will become organized.

In conclusion, these tips are all crucial areas of project management. Project managers cannot function or deliver quality products and meet stakeholder requirements without identifying and allocating the above areas. In addition, regardless of how experienced a project manager is, where or in what capacity he or she works, or what industry or organization, these key project management tactics will help any project manager be successful.

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