Leading a project these days is a lot more complicated than ever before, as you have to deal with so many constraints, different people’s demands and a time-scale that is often shorter than you would like.
The upheaval associated with managing and leading new projects can cause much anxiety, so here are some techniques that should enable you to run your projects more smoothly:
1) Have a big enough reason for the project to take place
Unless you and other stakeholders understand the reason why the project is taking place, the commitment and overall dedication to the project with not be as strong.
People need to be clear on why the project is taking centre stage before they will give discretionary effort to the processes required for its success.
Saying ‘We need to get better and more professional’ isn’t a strong enough rationale. People need to see the value of a project before they embark on it, which means we need to….
2) Set Clear Objectives: Understanding exactly and specifically what you are trying to achieve is vital if the project is to be clear and precisely driven. Simply saying “Improve Communications Between Remote Team Members” is not good enough. You need to specify what results you will see at the end of the project.
Just as you would put the final destination fist into your GPS system before setting off on a journey, you need to be clear on what you will be seeing at the end of a project. Only then will you be able to assuredly measure the results and check your success on your project.
3) Gather Resources: Identifying the needs of stakeholders and bringing together the resources required to achieve the goals of those people is paramount to achieve the results you are looking for.
Today, those resources could include other people, technology and assistance from departments that may have initiatives you require. Resource-management is key to project success, so be aware of what you could utilise to assist you in driving the project forward.
4) Organise the Project: Each person needs to be clear on what their role is and building commitment from each project participant is vital to ensure success.
The roles and responsibilities of each person should be clear and precise, as well as the communication methods needed to drive it forward.
Who are the responsible people? Who will hold accountability for results? Are there going to be support networks in place? Will people need to be consulted on the way? Who needs to be kept informed of progress?
By allocating these roles to people, everyone will understand the value they play in making a success of the project.
5) Project Member Ownership: Encouraging a sense of ownership in your project team will drive it forward and ensure timings are followed effectively.
People have to realise their involvement and the reason why it is so important they follow up and complete their parts on time
6) Communications Plan: This helps you to establish links between the diverse groups of people who may be involved in the project. A good plan encourages participation and openness, and builds trust between project members and stakeholders.
If this stage is poorly managed, the project will inevitably stall because communication is the glue that allows people to stick to deadlines and take their responsibilities seriously.
7) Monitor Progress: Ensure everyone is clearly aware of deadlines and budgets. Be clear on what the process will be if they meet difficulties along the way. And as project leader, make sure you keep driving the project forward with timely and effective meetings to update on progress.
8) Keep the End in Mind: Keep an eye on the big picture, spot difficulties as they arise and manage the changes that the project will inevitably produce. Just as your GPS will keep giving you feedback on the journey, you need a system that determines if you are running a successful project and determines what the end results should be at all times.
By following these steps, you stand a much better chance of success as you build momentum and development of your projects with others’ help.
Would you like to learn how to manage your own projects more effectively? Our Project Management Training course is designed to provide you with the skills and techniques to successfully manage and deliver your projects. Alternatively, check out our Project Management Apprenticeship.
If you’d like to discover more about your own leadership strengths and weaknesses, you can try out our LeaderDNA assessment:
Originally published: 3 December, 2019
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