Scope creep, missed deadlines, conflicting information. As an experienced project manager, you know that stuff happens. And often, you’re forced to take the blame—it’s the nature of the job.
No one likes an unhappy team. So in order to ensure that your projects are well executed, it’s best to learn some tricks of the trade. Below are five secrets that your team probably wishes you knew.
1. Never start a project without the full details
Creating a comprehensive, detailed project scope document—that is reviewed and approved by all stakeholders—is the first step in ensuring a project’s success. Your scope should include all milestones, deliverable dates, and a detailed budget that accounts for all resources and expected expenditures. And as we’ve said before, be sure to account for scope creep. It happens to the best of us.
The more detailed you are, the happier your team and your client will be.
2. Always ensure that you have the right team in place
In the creative realm, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the details, especially in the exciting, early stages of a new project. In order for a project to be successful, it’s critical to have the right project team in place, before you even begin. If you feel understaffed—or, perhaps even worse, overstaffed—make sure to address this issue before the project begins.
Make sure that you incorporate the right talent where necessary. And if you’re down a copywriter or art director, make sure you plan accordingly.
3. Clearly define your goals and expectations
Once you fully establish a project team, and hash out the details with stakeholders, it’s important to explicitly outline your goals and expectations. It’s no secret that effective communication positively impacts performance. And implementing an effective project communication plan with specific, measurable, and feasible goals helps a project stay on track.
Articulating your project’s intended goals in quantifiable terms helps everyone involved on the project understand the project’s scope and eliminates the hazards of miscommunication.
4. Pay attention to the details, starting with an effective project kickoff meeting
As we’ve written before, a great way to lay the foundations for a project is an organized, focused project kickoff meeting. Successful meetings put your best foot forward, set expectations, energize all stakeholders and establish on-going business relationships. Develop a plan and clearly define your project agenda,
5. Don’t micromanage. Ever.
Check in regularly with your team—but give them room to breathe. And eliminate unnecessary meetings! They’re not only a major time suck, they’re a morale killer. If you need to call a meeting, make sure you outline its purpose, stick to your schedule, and make sure that it’s designed to energize and excite your employees.
Creating a balance is key to ensuring that your team is doing the work that is expected of them, all while still feeling empowered to do their best work.