10 Essentials of Project Management
Managing multiple projects, inter-company projects, or national or international projects is tough, no matter how capable project managers may believe themselves to be. Managing these projects can take a lot of your time and effort, so you'll need the right tools to help you do the job professionally. Here are 10 tools that you — as the project manager — will need to have on hand:
- Project management software. Simple cloud based project management software will make managing the various tasks included in the project much easier. You will be able to coordinate the project via the Internet, enabling the various team members to share files, track deadlines, collect data, assign tasks and manage time resources. For a manager with an off-site team helping to complete the projects, using a software suite with full capabilities will make managing the project much easier.
- Project job descriptions. Do all of the members of your team know what their role in the project is to be? As the project manager, you have project leaders working to coordinate all the members of your team. Each person on the team needs to know what his or her specific role to play is, as that will ensure that all aspects of the project are being handled by the personnel best suited for the task.
- Project scope. What exactly does your project entail? Are you embarking on this project without a clear plan of what you hope to accomplish? Before you can start the project, take the time to sit down and write down the projected outcome of the project. Use this desired outcome to help you draft the plan for reaching the goal, and the project scope will be the work that you will need to do to deliver the desired result.
- Project guide. The project guide will be a step-by-step manual that will ensure that the project is managed properly. It will help you as the project manager to keep the project on track and will help you to keep the framework of the project consistent with the scope.
- Methodology guide. Everyone who is participating in the project will have an idea of what they believe could be best done to accomplish the goal, but establishing a project guide will help the team members to stay consistent with their actions — which will lead to consistent results.
- Project charter. The project charter is an important part of project management, as it clearly defines for you and your company what the objectives of the project are. The charter will also include the participants that will form the team and the work that will be done to deliver the project. It will outline roles and responsibilities of each team member and will define the authority of the project manager — you — clearly.
- Risk assessment and management plan. Every project carries risk, and that risk must be assessed before the project can begin. The constraints of the project will be outlined in the risk management plan, and the project assumptions will be clearly stated for the benefit of company and project team alike. The goal of the risk assessment and management plan is to determine what risks the team will face with the project, as well as what they can do to reduce and manage that risk.
- Progress report templates. Most companies will require regular progress reports from the team members on a project, and having progress report templates will allow you to issue the reports easily and quickly.
- Change request form templates. Should changes need to be made in the project, it is necessary for a request form to be filed. "Scope creep" is the fancy term for "getting off-track" with the project, but the change request form will ensure that the project team will keep track of any changes that could take them away from the scope of the project.
- Project closing report. When the project is done, the project manager will need to present a summary to those responsible for the undertaking. The summary will include the processes, findings, budget constraints, methodologies and lessons gleaned from the undertaken project, providing clear, concise information to those in charge of the company for which the project was launched.
With these essential elements in mind, you're guaranteed to keep your projects on track!