Tips for successful Project Management

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Most of the new project managers receive little or sometimes no training on how to manage the projects. All project managers can create WBS, Gantt Charts, estimations etc. and can manage the projects. Unfortunately, this all is not sufficient. Key consists of two important words: Effective & Successful. It is expectation of all stakeholders. Basis my experience in the journey of project management, here is a list of some tips that will definitely help you:

Tips for successful & Effective Project Management

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  1. Understand the business reason behind the project.
  2. Meet all stakeholders, understand their expectations & define project success criteria. Sometimes, there can be conflicting interests of different stakeholders. You have to be very clever and set the priorities.
  3. Take the sign off on scope from all relevant stakeholders & publish it.
  4. Highlight if any gap between L0 & L1 estimates
  5. Create & track risk management plan. Mostly, we forget to identify & track risks. We only track issues. If required, appoint someone as “Risk Manager”
  6. Set release criteria & publish it clearly to each team member & other stakeholders.
  7. Be unbiased & evaluate every given target or deadline logically. Always negotiate.
  8. Do not put unnecessary pressure on team.
  9. Your project plan must include: WBS, staffing plan, budget, estimation, scope, assumptions,  dependencies, clear description of all deliverables and their target dates, quality assurance plan, metrics to collect, communication plan, acceptance criteria, back-up & recovery plan, escalation matrix
  10. Communicate team’s roles & responsibilities very clearly
  11. Have a very short daily standup meeting with team to have a status on tasks completed since last meeting, plan for the day & and issues/risks/open action items
  12. in WBS, decompose tasks into small sub tasks – not more than 4-8 hrs each
  13. WBS must have rework activity with all reviews & testing activities
  14. Create & maintain a very clear action item tracker & publish it on a defined frequency to relevant stakeholders
  15. Plan for trainings, process improvements, internal team reviews
  16. Respect internal & external audits. Plan for these in your schedule.
  17. If there is any work to be done by any other team, inform them before hand, so that that team can prepare & be available on-time
  18. Be ready with some short term productivity loss with while adopting new processes, tools or with new team members. Set targets for these.
  19. Always do estimation in hours not in calendar days
  20. Consider 80% utilization of people while doing estimation
  21. Refer to historical data. It can be helpful for doing estimation, managing risks etc.
  22. Plan for contingency reserve. Do not mix it with management reserve.
  23. Do not use contingency buffer for changes. Keep it for unplanned crises.
  24. For each task, capture planned & actuals.
  25. Definition of of “Complete” should be very clear. Status should never be ’Almost complete’
  26. Track & publish project status honestly.
  27. For any changes – small or big, follow defined change management process religiously.
  28. For any accepted changes, make sure to revise baseline
  29. Conduct milestone review or retrospective meetings @ defined frequency
  30. Make sure that all regulatory & statutory requirements are fulfilled.
  31. Keep close track on payment milestones
  32. Collect, calculate & analyze metrics on regular intervals
  33. Involve team for any impact analysis
  34. Always be ready for management review meetings.

This list is endless. I’m still in learning phase and learn new tips with each new assignment.

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