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The Top 10 Habits For Project Management Success – Part 2

Effective Habit 6

Documented key points

Most people have heard the project management warning “cover your assumptions”, so it is important to use these features to document the areas in your favourite project planning tool:

Notes area.  Use it for both tasks and resources to make a record of background information, changes, or special issues

Reports.  Customise them to incorporate all pertinent information and help document trends and changes

Visual reports.  Use this feature to paint the picture of the project status for visually oriented stakeholders

Save multiple versions of the project, especially if you change the baseline in later versions.  This way, you have a record of every step in the project planning to refer to when questions arise down the road.

Effective Habit 7

Keep the team informed

Do not wrestle with a question of whom had to keep informed.  If I did not include marketing and finance in every e-mail on a new product launch, I’d be called on the carpet the next day, or worse, a vital action step would fall through the cracks because someone didn’t know to take action.

Follow these methods of keeping communication channels open:

Usual planning to all features or integrate with outlook or other e-mail programs.  Use them to send project files or other types of communications

Update the communications management plan.  Document who needs what information, when, and how often

Review progress with team members by meeting regularly in person, over the phone, in an online chat area, or via meetings software.  Ensure that all team members have the latest version of the project schedule to refer to during these meetings

Display the work breakdown structure code on reports.  This allows you to easily refer to specific tasks in large projects without confusion.

Effective Habit 8

Measure success

When you begin the project, you should have an idea of what constitutes success, and you should know how to measure that success.  You will have heard of the phrase “you can have the deliverable on time, on budget, or had done right.  Choose two”.  Success can involve attaining many goals such as:

  • Customer satisfaction
  • Management satisfaction
  • Meeting budget constraints
  • Being on time

To determine how you will measure success, ask these questions:

  • Will success in budgeting me not exceeding the original estimates by more than 10 per cent?
  • Will the project be considered on time if you work on it the estimated number of weeks minus a two month period when you are on hold for a union strike, or is the total working time less important than beating a specific deadline?
  • How would you measure customer satisfaction?
  • Will management satisfaction by a done deal if you are promoted or your division receives more funding?
  • As a successful product launch include high sales figures after the launch, or was a project successful merely because you move to outdoor?

A good idea is to place milestones in the project that reflected she’s meant of each type of success.  When you reach one, you can pack your team on the back.  Knowing what success looks like how to motivate the team to get there.

Effective Habit 9

Keep a flexible approach and strategy

Things happen.  There has never been a project that did not require accommodations for surprises along the way.  The mark of a good project manager is that they are alert to these changes and make adjustments to deal with them quickly.

Making adjustments to accommodate bad news is not easy.  In fact, it can be truly difficult to deliver bad news.  However, avoiding a problem and the project and hoping that it will simply disappear has a nasty habit of snowballing into an even worse problem.

The following tools can help you stay alert to changes and make adjustments:

  • The work contour option can help you change the contour of the work to front load, back load, or otherwise change the spread of your work over the duration of the task
  • Use the task inspector to see what is driving a task.  You can look for options such as adding resources, revising task dependency relationships, and using reserve.
  • Turn on critical path formatting to see the critical path of the project and track how much slack remains.  Adjusting tasks to effectively use up their slack can keep you on schedule in a crisis.

Effective Habit 10

Learn from your mistakes

One of the many advantages of using a project planning tool is the capability to look back after completing a project so that you can learn from your mistakes.  You can review the original schedule, and every version after it, does he know where you estimated time and money and in figure out how to do it better next time.

By using records of the project, you can spot trends to find out, for example, we always seem to miss on timing, or why you’re always allow much too little time for market research and much too much time for questions and answers.

Perhaps you always forget to budget for temporary help during rush periods, or you over staff early on, when you only need a few people.

Use the wealth of information in your planning tool or other documentation to educate myself on your own strengths or weaknesses as a project planner and manager and to improve your skills with each project you take on.

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