Let’s face it. At some point in our day-to-day jobs, we need to call on project management skills to get things done. It can either be a small project or a larger, ongoing project. However, project management isn’t something we all innately know how to do well.
In all my years as a project manager, I’ve learned there are several crucial things that contribute to successful project completion. Here, I share these secret tips with you.
Use the Right Tools
Leveraging the right tools will help you keep a project on track and be consistent. Do you know the phrase “work smarter, not harder”? This is that phrase in action. With all the tools out there, you can find a particular tool or set of tools to streamline your job and make things easier.
For example, one of my favorite tools is Typeit4Me. I find that I send a lot of similar emails, so this tool allows me to draft up a standard email once and then just pull in that standard email copy with a few typed letters. Even something as simple as leveraging Chrome tabs to keep certain websites or login pages handy can save you time.
Read more: How to prep for a B2B website project.
Keep a List of Contacts Handy
Whether you work for an agency or are in-house at a company, you likely interact with a range of internal contacts, vendors, and clients on a daily basis. I’ve found that it’s incredibly helpful, and reduces time hunting through emails, to keep a list of all your points of contact in one spot. This is especially helpful when you have more than one contact at a particular vendor or even in one department.
Schedule Frequent Check-ins
Everyone is overloaded with tasks and projects. A successful project manager does not merely assign a task and wait for a response when it’s completed. Rather, it’s helpful to keep a project on time and on track by scheduling frequent check-ins with all stakeholders involved in a project. It’s up to you to set the timing on these check-ins, be they daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly. These check-ins may even be just a few minutes to see where everyone is with their particular tasks.
Know Your Goals and Deadlines
I know this may seem like an obvious statement, but I can’t tell you how many projects kick-off without a clear communication of a specific goal or a deadline. Prioritization and scheduling are critical in project management, and, as such, it’s helpful to know what the goals and deadlines are for a particular project. In many cases, the person requesting the project knows the goals/deadlines, but may not forget to communicate that to you or may assume you already know them. Always ask.
An experienced project manager knows successful project completion relies on delegating tasks and todos to the right people. While you are ultimately responsible for the deliverables, it’s critical to delegate portions of your project to the right people – be it your own team members, vendors, clients, or other departments. It can be tough to rely on someone else to get something completed, but remember the check-ins from earlier? Those will help to keep these delegated tasks on track.
Read more: How to delegate effectively.
Less Is More
As a project manager, you may have a lot of tasks or projects all going on at the same time. For this reason, it’s essential to streamline as much as possible and avoid overcomplicating things. I like to remove any erroneous items from desktop or Project Management tools. If it’s not needed, don’t hesitate to close it out or remove it.
One tip for staying organized is to have a strong file management system that you stick to. When a B2B website project is done, have a way to archive it or file it away so it’s not taking up “active” project space.
Schedule Accurately & Set Reminders
Time management is an essential project management skill. In order to keep things on track, you need to layout the track. This is done by accurately scheduling out your project. Hopefully, you have access to a project management tool that enables you to break down a project into smaller components or sprints that can be scheduled in advance.
I’ve found that it’s helpful to keep things going on a schedule by setting reminders as well, both for me and for my team. If something is due at the end of the week, set a reminder for a day or two before to ensure you can still meet the deadline. Don’t rely on your own memory to remind you something is coming up – get it scheduled and set the reminder.
Repetition Builds Healthy Habits
You likely have already heard that repetition is the key to setting a healthy habit. If you want to get fit, you need to go to the gym every day at the same time. The same is true for successful project management. If you want to stay on top of all your projects or ongoing tasks, set a regular time to review your tasks and see what is coming up. Another great idea is to do a daily review and look back on what you got accomplished and what you need to accomplish tomorrow.
Project management is something many professionals are expected to do, but it’s really a skill you have to hone over time. Hopefully, these tips will help you to refine your project management skills and stay organized.