You can accomplish amazing things in business when you have the right tools, both technological and social. This is especially true for managing company projects.
With some great tools in your arsenal, such as those that follow, you should be able to address all your project management needs.
Do you have all seven of these?
Project Management Software
Thanks to modern technology, project management software has become easier to use than ever. The best programs enable you to keep all your collaborators on the same page, with interactive timelines, data tracking, time stamping, expenditures on each job, content gathering, and delegation capabilities.
According to Tom Treanor, Director of Marketing at Wrike, a project management software company, “You need a project management option that makes it easy to create tasks, involve team members through easy tagging, and that integrates with email and file sharing platforms. Using great project management software is one of the keys to successfully hitting your business goals.”
Every project needs access to file-sharing capabilities in order to keep relevant members of the team on task at all times. This allows for access to files from the project manager to the team members and helps to minimize project issues and inefficient time management.
The best sharing programs will have the following qualities:
- Online and can be accessed anywhere with an Internet connection
- Simple editing functions
- The ability to attach the project to the task
- Sharing capabilities between collaborators
- Security features that protect and back up your work
- Integration with your project management software
Among the most commonly used sharing platforms are Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, and Communifire.
In order to keep your jobs running as smoothly as possible, you need a project analysis tool that will collect data from project management software. Such data will improve your efficiencies and processing.
The best project management options will have analytics programmed right into the software, but you can also find separate alternatives that collect the data for you. The resulting report will show you the time and money spent on each project, the number of people involved, the amount of communication necessary, and any other information you need to know in order to streamline processes and improve your bottom line.
Before beginning a project with any collaborators, you have to define your communication standards. Most companies use email for all communication, but that won’t work for every company and every project.
Let your collaborators know the proper channels to go through when they need to ask a question, participate in team meetings, discuss creative ideas, and interact with teammates.
For example, you might want all simple questions and team interactions to take place within your project management software’s comment feature; and all team meetings to take place through group video chat, such as Google Hangout.
Defining these standards at the beginning will reduce wasted time and miscommunication and help you deliver more efficient work.
Most of your projects will probably fall under the same categories. For example, if you specialize in SEO, you’ll be working with PPC campaigns, social signals, and website content, in all likelihood.
In order to make projects flow more smoothly, you can develop templates for each of these categories. It may take a little extra time at the beginning, but it will be worth it when the various facets of each project run more efficiently and the work performed by your team members ends up requiring less revision.
A common curse of project managers is the desire to do everything yourself because you believe you’ll be able to do it right. Usually, it’s simply not possible to do everything yourself and taking on too much will only result in poor-quality work as you race to complete everything on time.
A project properly divided between each of its team members is a project that’s more likely to succeed. Just remember that delegating a task means you trust the other team members to perform the work correctly and you need to show that trust by checking in only occasionally, and not micromanaging every element of the job.
Delegating responsibilities and then trusting your team members to complete the task will not only lighten your workload, but improve employee performance over time.
The success of most projects depends on a definite leader who possesses the traits of a professional. If you don’t have a clear leader, this will cause confusion and slow down the process as your team members duke it out during decision-making because no one’s been designated to make the final decisions.
A solid leader can put the best ideas from your team members into practice and deliver the final word on project decisions. The team leader should also:
- Advocate for the vision,
- Communicate well,
- Communicate openly and honestly with all collaborators,
- Exude enthusiasm about the project,
- Delegate without micromanaging,
- Exhibit confidence and strong decision-making skills,
- Know how to solve problems as they surface,
- Offer feedback and praise when deserved,
- Listen to the input of others and encourage creativity and ideas.
A competent leader is one of the most important tools in your project management belt. With a defined leader who’s willing to work with all your collaborators, successful project management is not just possible … it’s probable.
Project Manager Photo via Shutterstock