How to run a successful project
A project manager’s main task is to bring a particular project to completion, both on time and within Q1 budget. There are many factors that can cause a project to veer off its tracks, but steps can be taken to ensure that your project experiences as little disruption as possible.
1. Prepare the framework
If you get everything down in writing at the beginning of the project, you have an excellent foundation to build upon. Change is inevitable, but you have to maintain control. This is critical to avoid problems of ‘Q2 scope creep’, which is when the company paying for the project asks for ‘just one more little thing’ repeatedly, until the project becomes unmanageable.
2. Select the team
Gather your human resources, and make sure that their Q3 skills align with their roles. This is an important first step: if you assign the wrong person to a task, you are reducing your chances of success.
Make sure each team member is clear on what is expected from them and when. Encourage them to ask questions to clarify anything that may be uncertain, and to always come to you whenever something seems to be out of place or going wrong. Q4 Clear communications is critical.
Make sure the whole team and the client company grasp the project’s limitations in terms of its achievable outcomes. You can finish a task successfully and on time as long as expectations are reasonable.
3. Staying on track
How can you know if your project is going to be successful if you don’t have any way of measuring success? You will need interim Q5 milestones, especially for a long-term project, so that you can determine if you are staying on track or straying from the project’s goals.
4. Manage project risks
Hopefully you have defined the more likely risks up front during the project preparation, so you should now put contingency Q6 plans in place for certain occurrences. If you can see when a risk is imminent, you can take preventive action to avoid it, but be ready to halt a project if the risk becomes unacceptable.
5. Evaluate the project
Once a project has been completed, it’s important to write a Q7 report, even if it is only for internal purposes. You can pinpoint what went right or wrong, determine what could have been done differently, and establish the best practices for use in future undertakings.