Being a project team member can be tricky, and trying to manage a project based on set rules can be even more challenging. The truth is, as one project differs from the next, the standards for completing the project differ as well. However, no matter how different your projects may be from each other, there are still some tips that can help you manage what is in front of you. Keep in mind these are not absolute solutions for every project, but they are helpful hints when you find yourself in a challenging situation. Villanova University has compiled a list of “10 tips for project management prosperity:”
- Nail down project details
- Identify project and team requirements
- Be the project leader
- Define critical project milestones
- Keep the communication lines open
- Attain pertinent documentation
- Avoid scope creep
- Test deliverables
- Evaluate the project
Nailing down project details may seem like an obvious first step, but it is too often overlooked. An idea that sounds good when it is being tossed across the table may look very different when it is down on paper. Make sure when starting a project that you have “a solid foundation and that you have the buy-in from all key stakeholders.” After making sure you are on the right footing to begin a project, you absolutely must take steps to ensure its success from start to finish. This means establishing check points and ways to measure progress. Do not let yourself assume everything is going to plan without checking to make sure that it is. Taking care of seemingly small details at the beginning of a project will save you a great deal of potential time and worry at the end of it.
Remember, testing should be continuous throughout your project. The article suggests that testing deliverables is an absolute must:
Deliverables should be tested at every critical milestone and the final product must meet the project requirements. Before moving on to the next phase of the project, you need to be sure that the product is coming along as planned. An ITToolkit.com article states that, “As a project evolves, various types of deliverables are produced to support project continuation, to measure progress, and to validate plans and assumptions … Results are expected and must be delivered at every stage of the project lifecycle.” At the end of the project, the deliverable must meet or exceed the customer expectations to be considered a success. The final phase of the project is closure. This grand finale is a sign of achievement for you as a project manager, as well as the rest of your team and stakeholders. Once the project is complete and the customer is happy, your mission is complete.
Each of the 10 tips offered by Villanova will better your overall project management practices. Remember, no two projects are alike, so there is no set in stone recipe for creating the perfect project. However, following each of these tips for any project you have will set you on the path to success.