(Editor’s note: This is a Guest Post by Jason Westland from MPMM.com)
Being assigned to manage a project can be tough and often times daunting. There are the possibilities that no matter how well laid out your plan is and even with an extraordinary and talented team, there will be risks and challenges along the road that can be the cause of the project’s downfall.
Given that challenges are a fact, the question really is, how will you manage when such a time arises? What project management steps that you as the project manager need to follow? This article will answer your questions and will help in breaking down the process on how to use project management steps.
There are 8 vital Project Management Steps that are essential for a project manager to know and as much as possible abide by. The first and foremost step is to create an outline of the project scope. The project manager must be able to identify what the goals and objectives are of the client so that when the project planning begins, the project manager is able to convey what the client’s vision is. The project manager should also be familiar with the project management phases and use that as a manual in accomplishing the project.
The second step is to establish what resources are considered necessary for the project. A thorough research should be made to calculate how much a project will cost, how many people, equipment and material is needed. The project manager may also use any available project management software that is out in the market to assist him or her. This is especially recommended if the project will be large and complex.
The third step is to create a timeline for the project. How long will this project take and given the resources available, when will you be able to complete and deliver the project to the client? The reason for this is simple, once the objectives are set into motion after the project planning stage, costs have begun to accumulate. As a project manager, you will need to be able to budget the project’s funds, the number of hours the people in your team will work, and the resources available to you so that you will not run out of it even when a risks or mistakes are made. This will allow you to adjust accordingly to needs of the project without exposing it to too much danger. Again, using a project software, especially one that has project tracking applications is recommended as this would help in tracking schedules, events, timelines, calculating critical path, etc., depending upon your set requirements.
The fourth step is to gather your team and then list down the processes that you as a group will follow. As a project manager, when assembling your team, you must be able to choose a member not only for their technical expertise on the project but also their ability to relate and interact with each other. Once all the experts needed for the project is complete, a project manager must be able to effectively pass on the vision and the needs of the client is so that they may provide the steps necessary to attain the objectives.
The fifth step is to develop a plan using the steps determined by you and your team. The project manager will need to learn to adjust and prioritize what step should be accomplished first, what is important and what can be set aside or what should be removed entirely. Always communicate with your team and ask what their opinions are especially when there is a need to make adjustments. To make this a lot easier, detailed and documented, the use of project software applications would be of a tremendous help.
Monitoring and Controlling would be the next essential step as this would aid you in minimizing and controlling any risks. Whether it is the lack of materials, budget constraints or people issues, a project manager should be always up to par with the progress of the project.
The project manager should also record the processes, changes and the other pertinent facts about the project so that when the project closes, you will have a detailed report of the project that you may use in any future analysis of the project or if a new project that is similar to the current will come up. Lastly, a project manager should always follow the open communication step. This means that you keep everyone informed about the progress, the problems encountered, the changes or adjustments made to both the client and the team. This would build trust among the team and the client and always be willing to listen to their suggestions. Always consult before any major decisions are made.
The project management phases basically encompass all these steps, and a project manger should always use these steps and phases in order o succeed in any endeavor.