The exciting thing about project management is that if you really practice it well, each time you start a new project you’ll be a little bit ahead of where you started last time. That’s because if you do something repeatedly, you’ll notice problems that you can fix so that the next time you do it, you don’t have that same issue.
1. Always Consider the Big Picture
The first thing to look at is the deliverables. What is expected of the project? What will you be handing over as the final results of the project that you or others are working on? Starting with an idea of what the result is supposed to be is a lot easier than focusing on random steps to get to a destination you’re not sure about. When you know the destination, it’s so much easier to develop a step-by-step plan to get there.
2. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
There are other people who have already studied project management and all its nuances. If you are involved in a business that other people have already set up systems for and already know how to manage, ask them for their processes. You can buy checklists and processes from various online sellers, including private label rights sellers.
3. Consider the Steps
As you’re working on creating the steps, it will help you end up with the deliverable you desire. Think about what’s most important, what the due dates are, and whether there is a chronological order that different parts of the project need to be completed in. If so, make sure to note that, as well as any triggers that should help anyone involved get started on their part when someone else has done their part.
4. Use a System That Reminds You
One thing that humans often overestimate is their ability to recall when, where, what, and how they’re supposed to do anything. Don’t rely on your memory. Use a project management system – either software or a written plan. Ensure that you use calendars and electronic reminders to help you remember everything and all the due dates.
5. Communicate Often
When there are others involved in the projects that you’re doing, it’s imperative that you keep everyone informed. That’s one reason project management systems like Asana.com are very helpful. They help everyone see visually what’s going on and then get reminded to get their part done, depending on how you set it up. Even if it’s just you, this system will work well to let you keep notes about the things you’ve decided or need to decide.
6. Block Out the Noise
There is productive work, and there is unproductive busy work. Doing busy work will have no effect on how your final product turns out. Stop focusing on the things that don’t matter. It can take some experience to learn what matters and doesn’t matter. One example is that if you outsource work to someone, don’t micromanage them. Be clear about due dates and what constitutes a successful deliverable. That way you take their job off your plate, as you should.
7. Keep Everything Orderly
The best way to keep your project orderly is to use project management systems like Asana or Basecamp.com. Those systems allow you to set the schedule, assign tasks to certain people, and view the progress happening so that you always know where you stand. And if you use it right it will stay orderly for you, which is less confusing and helps you avoid wasted time.
8. Develop Templates and Checklists
As you start doing more projects, create a template and checklist for all the things you need to do so that it helps you do them faster. For example, if you help a client plan and run their webinars, a checklist so that you don’t forget anything is a great idea. After all, even an experienced pilot uses a checklist every time to ensure they don’t miss anything. If it works for them, it will work for you.
Simplifying project management really is all about developing systems for your work. You may perfect the system as you go along, thus improving your templates and checklists. This means that with each project you do, you become more efficient and the results get better each time.