Legendary management consultant Peter Drucker once famously wrote, “There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all.”
This nugget of wisdom is especially relevant to project managers. Effective project management is all about cutting through clutter to focus on the items that are going to make the biggest impact. There’s no use optimizing the details of a project if the core process is flawed.
Some of the areas listed might seem self-explanatory, but they’re worth their weight in gold as you start planning your next big project. They’ll enable you to communicate your goals, allocate resources efficiently and help you keep your team supported and focused.
1. Define Your Purpose
Without purpose, it’s almost impossible for teams to work collaboratively and put in the extra effort to get things done. Before you even think of starting, have a meeting, define the purpose, set your goals. Make sure your goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
2. Lay Out Your Resources
Identify all resources required from capital, people, equipment, space, time and anything else needed to get the job done. Without the right resources, your project will fall short.
3. Make Decisions
Make sure it’s clear who oversees what decisions and what needs to be vetted by a committee. Not only will this help your team make better decisions but it will help them make decisions faster. If too many people are involved the risk of falling into a paralysis increases. Make sure you have the right people making the best possible decisions at all critical junctures.
4. Monitor Your Time
Whatever project you’re undertaking time is a very important factor. Your team must complete tasks on time to achieve the project by its deadline. If not, it will take more resources to achieve the same goal.
Put your priorities under constant review. What is important today might not be important tomorrow. Your team must be on the ball to understand how context will adjust priorities so you can adjust the plan accordingly.
At all times, you must know who is working on what, and who is failing to get their tasks done on time. Without transparency, problems will stay hidden and get worse. It’s better to raise issues and find solutions early.
Create an environment where people feel comfortable and willing to raise issues if they see or have done something wrong. Teams must work together to solve problems and trust each other to give their real opinions.
8. Critical Path
This is the pathway to achieving a result that depends on the execution of numerous processes. Make sure to identify the critical path throughout the duration of the project. It may shift depending on the nature of the project you’re working on.