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Project Management Best Practices | TechRepublic

Jack Wallen outlines his project management best practices to ensure your teams are working efficiently.

Manage a team project by drawing a plan on a window.
Image: NDACREATIVITY/Adobe Stock

Project management is arguably one of the best things you can implement for your team. You may be able to do without project management if your business is smaller and your projects are simple and minimal, but once you start growing or your projects become more and more complex, you need to rely on project management to help your teams move forward.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Project Manager (TechRepublic Premium)

When you first dive into the world of project management, you need to do it with a solid plan, an understanding of how it works, and using some easy-to-apply best practices. That’s exactly what I want to focus on today: a few best practices that can help your project management get started.

Best Project Management Best Practices

Start with a plan

Project management is all about making sure your plans run as smoothly as possible, but if you approach project management without having a plan first, it doesn’t matter which project management tool you use — or how well you use it. Without a good plan you will have a hard time.

Before you even build your project within a project management platform, you need to have a fully realized plan for what the project is, what purpose it serves, how far you plan to go beyond the original delivery date, what the goals are, and how the project will benefit your business and customers. Without a workable plan, the whole process becomes a drag.

Communicate regularly with key stakeholders

Nothing helps a project run as smoothly as good communication. Set up all the tools needed to help your teams communicate. Regardless of the software, it’s critical that all your team members are encouraged to keep lines of communication open with each other, management and stakeholders.

Communication can go through a chat server, email, forum or other type of platform, as long as those communication channels remain open. Project managers also need to be reachable and always in touch with stakeholders without appearing to be micromanaging.

Document your resources

Resources can mean team members, servers, meeting rooms, bandwidth and more. One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have unlimited resources, and managing what you have can be the key to the success of your project.

With solid source documentation, you’ll always have an idea of ​​what’s being used, how it’s being used, and how to use it more effectively. You should also create a resource plan so that you know exactly how everything will be used during the project lifecycle.

Monitor the workload

The last thing you need is to overload certain team members or your team in general. You and your project managers should always keep a close eye on the workload for your project. If you notice that a team member or team is being asked too much, it’s time to spread out tasks so that burnout is prevented. The moment someone burns out, they become ineffective for the project. By monitoring these workloads, you can prevent such a possibility.

Use risk management

Risk is everywhere and it takes a lot of effort to control it. By applying risk management, you can be prepared for the worst while hoping for the best. To successfully manage risk, you must assemble a risk response team, identify all potential risks, complete the risk analysis, assign owners for each risk, and be prepared to take the necessary steps to address each risk as it arises.

Prevent range creep

At some point in your project lifecycle, it will be tempting to go beyond the boundaries of your project. You may find that a new feature is needed along the way. However, you didn’t plan that feature and if you try to add it now, the whole project could go into a tailspin.

Instead of adding that new feature mid-stream, think of it as a feature for a new release of the project or an add-on that can be created once the project is delivered. Stick to the original plan so it can go smoothly.

Hold regular but short meetings

Consider holding weekly or daily stand up meetings so that everyone is always on the same page. These meetings should be short and to the point. Do not stray from the subject and do not hold onto your stakeholders for a long time, otherwise they will experience these meetings as a nuisance. Get in, say what to say, let others join in and get out. That is it.

Store comprehensive documentation

One thing I’ve always discovered is documentation. This is a big mistake. Not only should you keep well-crafted documentation for whatever you’re building, but you should also keep comprehensive documentation for the project as a whole. Pay attention to who does what, what languages ​​are used, and just about every other aspect of the project you can. The more documentation you keep, the more efficient the project will be and the more likely you will be able to replicate a successful project if you need it.

Subscribe to TechRepublic’s How to make technology work on YouTube for the latest technical advice for business professionals from Jack Wallen.

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