Project Management Tips
Project management is the engine that keeps great projects moving along. As an ERP consultant, I’ve worked with many project managers to successfully implement new ERP systems within their companies. Here are my project management tips to help you succeed:
A great project starts with a good plan. Having full project details with everyone’s buy-in before you start is essential. Your plan should include interim milestones with deliverable dates and a budget worksheet. The more detail you have in your project plan, the smoother your project will go.
During the project, keep track of “to do” lists for both your internal team as well as external resources and check thing off as you progress. Place great emphasis on monthly milestones and make people accountable for weekly tasks. This helps everyone keep track of items and gives a sense of accomplishment to your team as they work on a large project.
Collaborative Work Management (CWM) tools like Google docs, Smartsheet, and numerous project management programs can help ensure everyone has access to important project information and can easily share updates. By syncing comments, attachments, and calendars, you can monitor news, budgets, and scheduling changes as they occur.
One of the most important keys to successful project management is time management. When defining milestones, it is extremely important to break down them down into SMART Goals:
S – Specific: list the who, what, when, where, how and why
M – Measurable: from point A to point B
A – Attainable: tell how you will get there
R – Relevant: show actual, timely business benefits
T – Timely: be specific about when things will happen
BUILD A ROCKSTAR TEAM
Having a great project management team in place is key. People whose skills and experience match the project’s requirements will help it succeed.
Your team will be doing the work, so they should be actively involved in the planning process. They have the skills and knowledge to understand the issues, business impacts and dependencies within your organization. They can provide you with valuable insights from different perspectives. Plus, having people involved in project planning sends the message that your company values their opinions. It raises their “Maslow” level and gets them vested in the outcome.
Organize your team into project segments and appoint a lead to each segment. This will help you avoid the “two headed monster” and keep each segment on track and running smoothly.
COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE
Over communicate everything! Be clear about who is responsible for what. When your team clearly understands the project scope from the beginning, you can eliminate a lot of the ambiguity that can impact your project success. It also helps for all of the key players to have a good understanding of how each of their efforts contribute to the project as a whole.
Continue to keep communication lines open throughout the project so everyone stays on the same page. Frequent communication with all members of the team is the best way to ensure a project is on track. Keep meetings short and to the point for greatest value. This encourages team members to focus on the most relevant details.
Don’t just talk – listen. A great leader teaches by example and works with their team to get the job done. You can never go wrong being a team player. When things get tough, jump in and lend a hand. As the project lead, take the initiative to solve problems. Inevitably, problems will arise. This is your opportunity to shine, so put on your thinking cap when it’s time to figure out a solution and resolve a problem.
Don’t micromanage. Meet regularly with your team members, but give them breathing room to work. As the project manager, you need to ensure that the work is being done, but also that your team members feel empowered.
Although many project managers try to avoid uncertainty at all costs, it is part of the process. It is important to adapt as needed, and if you are required to change, get organized as quickly as possible. Be flexible, but make sure your goals stay clear.
The ERP team at Revolution Group has been helping manufacturers successfully manage projects for over 20 years. To find out what our team of project managers can do for you, give us a call at 614-212-1111. We would love to change the way you think about ERP.