Good project management is essential to completing any project in a timely and cost effective way. Running the project at the correct pace, in order and communicating with all stake holders and relevant parties is a must, whether they are internal, cross department or external 3rd parties.
All of our staff are capable of running a project from start to finish and are often in charge of running their own internal projects.
Our top 6 best practices for project management
Forming the project team sounds pretty basic, but it is amazing how many project teams launch a project without performing stakeholder analysis, and defining the project organisation. Important elements of the project organization include project sponsors, the core team, and understanding other key stakeholders.
The use of a RACI is a flexible and effective tool. A RACI matrix is a very important tool that can help in the implementation and correct functioning of a project. The RACI matrix is mostly used to align the human elements in the project. Usually there are many different people involved in any project and they have differing responsibilities. A RACI matrix makes an explicit documentation of this and keeps as a ready reference to be used at different stages in the project. Here is how the RACI matrix can be utilised.
- Responsible: This is the group of people who are ultimately responsible for getting the work done.
- Accountable: This is the group of people that are accountable to oversee that the work gets done. This usually means the immediate manager overseeing the work.
- Consulted: These may be subject matter exerts who need to be consulted.
- Informed: This is the group of people who have some interest in the project.
The WBS defines the scope of the project and breaks the work down into components that can be schedule and estimated, and easily monitored and controlled. Simply put, a WBS is a deliverable oriented hierarchy that defines the work of the project, and only the work of the project.
The project schedule utilises the WBS to define the activities, sequence, durations, and resources required to complete the project work.
- Are the deliverables and activities broken down to a level that can be estimated and tracked?
- Has accountability / responsibility been established for deliverables and activities?
- Can you easily follow the flow of the project work?
- Do the milestones appear to be reasonable and achievable?
- Does the resource usage link appropriately to the project budget?
Change is an inevitable element of managing a project â€“ nothing works out exactly as planned. The project manager effectively manages change by maintaining the appropriate balance between control and discipline to manage to the baseline plan, and flexibility to adapt the plans to meet customer expectations.
- Definition of a change in the context of your project
- Understanding the sources and early warning signs of change
- Establishing a process to manage change
- Measuring the cumulative impact of change
This involves keeping your eye on the appropriate project performance measures to pro-actively identify potential problems, and engage the team to identify and implement corrective actions. Measuring project performance includes schedule, budget, and supplier performance.
An area that is often minimised or entirely over looked is project closure. At the end of a project, many project managers are busy preparing for their next project or client, and miss a prime opportunity to leave a lasting impact on the client organisation.
Project closure starts with effectively shutting down project activities, validating all product deliverables are complete and key product issues closed. The second aspect is preparing the project performance report (also referred to as the post-project assessment). Creating the project performance report includes gathering input from key stakeholders, and identifying improvement actions to be implemented for future projects.