5 Ways to Improve Your Project Management | TechWell

5 Ways to Improve Your Project Management

Project manager smiles while pointing to action items on sticky notes

Too many meetings. No action plans. Lack of specifics. When talking to a wide spectrum of companies, it’s amazing how many of the same issues continually arise.

These issues can be addressed with more effective project management, but that’s often easier said than done.

It takes courage to cut through the noise to make clear objectives for your projects. It’s worth it to create a hedge around your team to protect them from competing interests and to maintain that focus on a project, but it’s not easy to do, especially when your superiors or board are politely “suggesting” another action item.

Help your team stay on track with these five tips to move faster and more efficiently through your projects.

1. Set a schedule

If you go through your task list from a month or two ago, how many things are left undone? If you’re typical, you probably have a huge list of awesome ideas that you never acted on—positively or negatively. Instead of having those ideas sit there, decide what you want to do with them (that’s one of the top tenets of the Get Things Done methodology). Setting a schedule will help you decide and take action on the first steps.

2. Invite others to help

If you’ve become overwhelmed with the amount of work you have or that’s been delegated to you, swallow your pride and ask for help from your team or manager. It will not help your project in the long run if you are the roadblock. Enter your tasks into your project management software and assign them to yourself or someone else on your team. Make sure every step is accounted for in order to limit the possibility of delays.

3. Make your meetings count

Our modern workplace is addicted to meetings. But meetings often take you and your team away from important work that could be accomplished. Instead, see if there are ways around meetings or possibilities to make them shorter. This could include updating your project management system on a more regular basis, having standup meetings, or coming to meetings with an agenda.

4. Communicate clearly

Project breakdowns occur when there’s no consensus about details and deliverables. It’s important to map out the requirements, expectations, and more within a task, or maybe even in a formal project plan. If your team is constantly coming to you with more questions than you can handle, it’s probably a red flag that your communication hasn’t been clear enough.

5. Focus

Multitasking isn’t actually a shortcut; it’s a distraction. If you want to move your projects forward, have your team focus on one project at a time. Sure, be flexible if you have dependencies that are waiting on another business unit or team to get finished. But at the same time, know what the goal is, and move your team toward getting that project finished.

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