6 Project Management Best Practices

As a project manager, quite often your role can be less about coming up with inspirational new strategies, and more about ensuring all the essentials are ticked off. Project management software has contributed to making things easier for managers, especially with the scheduling and notification functions often provided. However, there are still some best practices which project managers need to keep at the forefront of their mind. In this blog, we take a look at some widely accepted best practices when it comes to project management:

1. Communication

From the outset of the planning stage to the delivery of a project itself, the onus is on the project manager to take the lead on communication - perhaps the most important element of the role. Whether you do it face to face, via email, instant messenger, telephone or Skype, you must take the lead in terms of ensuring all project stakeholders understand goals and objectives clearly. No-one should be left out of the loop, and it is essential everyone stays up to date.

2. Designate clearly and wisely

As a project manager, designating is one of your key tasks. Before a project begins, everyone must know their role, and the role of others collaborating on a project. This is vital to ensure that each member of a team understands their responsibilities and that no lines are blurred, negating the possibility of 'stepping on each others' toes'. Appoint individual team members to positions based on their proven track record and capabilities, and impress on each of them the importance of their role to the success of the project. Looking for a way to ensure accountability at all levels? A work definition document can be key to this objective - all stakeholders can sign their commitment, and the document will spell out 'who does what'.

3. A comprehensive work plan

As mentioned in this blog's introduction, project management software can go a long way to giving you the necessary tools for planning your project and tracking the activities which you carry out. However, whether your project and organisation is large enough to warrant an investment in software, or you are constructing your own plans, having a way to plan out tasks, set deadlines and measure success is crucial. You need a central location where you can see an overview of a project, ensuring all different elements are being met, and but also taking a holistic view of progress when needed.

4. Record everything

It is essential for you to inform your decisions with as much information as possible. For this reason, you must put in place a culture of recording data; be it timelines relating to individual elements of a project, scope changes, or different types of statistics. You must ensure there is a streamlined way of having this data fed back to you, and an organised way of viewing it in the context of your overall project.

5. Managing new agreements

As a project manager, it is likely you already expect the unexpected. Projects are accepted to change in their scope as they progress, so that's why it is best practice to ensure all stakeholders are not only privy to any changes, but sign their agreement. Being asked to sign can help ensure that stakeholders fully understand changes before they commit to an agreement, highlighting any deadlines which may have been moved.

6. A feedback process

If you are a project manager who wants to improve, both in terms of future projects and your own career, it is vital you attain feedback from stakeholders. What did team members think of the way the project was executed? How do they rate their own performance? How do they rate your performance? What do they think could have been done differently? You should have a thick skin to criticism and view feedback as a non-optional, constructive method of enhancing your project management. While the success of projects are often measured in end results, as a project manager you should take your pointers from the running of the project as a whole. A wrap-up meeting can often act as a valuable platform for feedback to be voiced.

We hope you found this project management best practices list useful. Remember sharing is caring! So feel free to send this blog to colleagues you think might benefit.