Good Practices in Project Management

Good Practices in Project Management

There are several practices that the project manager must apply to carry out a project. Here are some good practices in project management.

Managing a project is not always easy. Many projects are launch and only part of them succeed. This is due to several reasons. Depending on the size and complexity of the project, it may have more or less probability of failure.

Very often projects end up being delivered, but not in time, exceeding the originally allocated budget or with certain characteristics not necessarily respected.

Even if everything isn't always preventable, there are several project management practices to prevent a project from failing and to bring it to success.

Start by framing your project

A phase too often neglected, or not done at all, is to begin his project by its framing. Nevertheless, it’s essential.

When we start a new project, we tend to want to get to the heart of the matter as soon as possible. It's a mistake. Would you caress a tiger before you tamed it ? The example is strong but you can see what I mean. It’s important to understand the need for the project. It must therefore be defined before you embark on its realization.

Several elements must be taken into account. How long will be your project ? His budget  The expected benefits ? What is it going to deal with and what are the out-of-scope points ?

Once the need identified, it’s also an opportunity to define measurable objectives, the main deliverables that will come out, your milestones, the main risks to take into account as well as the organization of your project, that’s to say the actors of your project, the work team.

We sometimes hear that 20% of the time of a project must be devoted to its preparation, It’s a factor of success.

A good planification

After properly framing the project, good planning is required. This seems logical, but not all planning is well oiled and it’s important to linger a little bit.

We’ll have to start listing the tasks to be done. Each task will take some time to complete. You have at your disposal the whole of your project team which constitutes your human resources available for the accomplishment of these tasks. You’ll have to had a great planification to reach the end of each of your tasks according to the deadlines imposed by your project.

This will ensure that each member is available at the right time, the time required for the completion of each activity and the order of priority of the tasks to be done.

Good planning not only lets you know where you are going but also how you are going to get there. Nevertheless, as good as your planning is, you have to think about updating it all along the project.

Project manager scheduling

Plan risks

Still a part of project management that is very often overlooked or poorly orchestrated, it’s important to keep the potential risks of your project up to date to increase its chances of success.

During initialization you define your project and set the goals. The aim is to achieve these goals. Therefore, it’s important for your planning to take into account any threats that may arise during the realization of your project.

These threats are the potential risks that you may encounter. It's up to you to identify and analyze them, which will allow you to anticipate them and be ready to handle them if they happen along the way.

The purpose of their analysis is to determine their degree of severity. You can estimate the severity of the risk taking into account the impact this risk would have on your project and the probability of it happening. For example, it will be more important to anticipate a risk with a very strong impact and a very high probability than a risk with a low impact and a low probability.

From this analysis you can then either make sure to reduce your risks, or try to ensure that they do not occur, or accept them and take them into account in the realization of your project.

To anticipate their treatment you can set up an action plan and a response to your risks. This will allow you to be ready to face it.

Obviously a risk can evolve as your project evolves. The action plan you have planned to respond to it can become obsolete. That’s why it’s important to update your risk management regularly all along the project.

Evaluate change requests

Your project is in progress, you have planned everything, taking into account deadlines and your budget, but there, change of program. A modification is requested concerning the project.

Example: you had to build a building of 3 floors and finally you are asked to provide a 4th (this is an exaggerated example).

In a situation like this, it’s important to assess whether this change is achievable. How will it affect the duration of the project? And the budget allocated? Do I have the resources available to implement it?

Following this analysis you will be able to decide whether this change request is achievable or not and also what it implies for your project. This will help to keep your project on track and not endanger the project.

Clear and precise communication

This seems obvious, good communication is essential when working with several employees towards a common goal.

The interest is of course that everyone has the same information, that the information is qualified and up-to-date, as well as understood and relevant, so that everyone follows the project's course and goes into the right direction.

However, it is not always so easy to achieve. In contexts of remote collaboration, multilingual exchange, or the use of inappropriate communication tools, the coordination of information can be more complex than expected.

It is therefore imperative to take care of the communication with your project team by using the appropriate channels and being as clear and precise as possible.

Obtain approval from project stakeholders

At the launch, the client/sponsor shares the product he/she would like to see realized at the end of the project. Nevertheless, this vision can be subjective and take a different form in the vision of the project manager.

In order for the final product to be as close as possible to what the client/sponsor can expect, it’s advisable to have it validate through the various steps and decisions taken all along the project. In this way you are sure to stay on track and therefore deliver what was expected.

Learn from experience

What is better to learn than our personal experience?

As a project manager, it’s interesting at the end of each project to take the time to analyze the overall management of the project, to assess the areas to improve for the future, but also the positive points on what was done.

This phase allows the project manager to improve his different approaches in order to make better at the next project.

Use adapted tools

There is a long list of project management tools and not all structures have the same needs. To choose the tool that will help you in your steps it’s necessary to know what will be useful or not.

For example, if you are in charge of very specific projects with a very fine follow-up on the hour or the minute, you will have other needs that a person in charge of projects with a follow-up of load to the day or a half -day. As a result, you will not use the same tools.

Project management software such as MS Project will allow you to enter a very precise and complete planning, for example with notions of the type of task binding, resource utilization rates, and other tools to track tasks very precise.

ProjectLibre is also a project management tool that addresses many aspects of project management that are very task-centric.

These tools can be used by people who are comfortable with project management and trained to use them.

However, they can quickly be constraining with the detailed data updating needs to keep a consistent project monitoring and can generating task offsets, creating unjustified overloads, blocking tasks.

Project management solutions like Gouti are more accessible. The willingness is to propose a simple tool of use, pragmatic and ready to accompany as much the beginning project managers as the most experienced.

Keep in mind that a project management tool must be part of your way of working and not become a constraint. Therefore, it’s important to select a tool that includes the essential features you intend to use, and the features necessary to assist you in your daily life.