The 12 Guiding Project Management Principles

April 26, 2023
4 minute read

What are project management principles?

The principles of project management are the building blocks of successful project execution. If you are a project manager, familiarizing yourself with these basic principles of project management will ensure you have the right ideas and tools in your PM arsenal. Here we will discuss various project management concepts and explain how to apply them in everyday agency life.

1. Clearly define goals and objectives 

One of the key principles of project management is clearly defining a project’s goals and objectives. This is the first step towards successful project management. 

When planning your project’s goals, ensure they are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Once you have clearly set out your goals and objectives, you can refer back to them throughout the project to ensure the project is staying on track.

2. Create a project initiation strategy

A project started right is a project that is likely to end right. A good initiation strategy includes creating a project plan, conducting a well-planned kickoff meeting in which all relevant stakeholders are involved, and ensuring everyone is on the same page before launching a project.

3. Define deliverables

 It is not unusual for project stakeholders to have varying ideas on what a project’s deliverables should look like. It is therefore important to clearly set out what the project deliverables will be and make sure stakeholders are agreeable. Examples of common deliverables are websites, a piece of software, or a service.

4. Distribute roles and responsibilities 

One of the most important project management philosophies is that team members do well at what they are good at. Therefore, careful attention should be given to who gets which role in a project. Additionally, clearly setting out roles and responsibilities from a project’s start ensures that team members are clear and confident about their tasks and will be able to remain focused.

5. Define your budget

 At the end of the day, your project sponsor will be happy with a project’s completion only if it was kept within the proposed budget (unless there was an agreed-upon change mid-project). One of the basic principles of project management, therefore, is defining a budget and sticking to it. Using a project management software like Workamajig is the best way to keep track of what is being spent on what and how much you have left to spend.

6. Schedule resources effectively

 Let’s say you have 10 team members to work on a project, 3 of which are graphic designers. In order to avoid these team members having too much or too little time to work on the project, it is necessary to schedule their work times in advance. This avoids both wasted time and burnout, both of which are detrimental to employee motivation.

7. Create a system to ensure accountability and responsibility

Once everyone is aware of their roles in a project, the next step is to have a way of tracking progress. This serves two purposes: it allows you to see clearly where the project is holding and it empowers your team to take responsibility for their tasks

8. Develop a communication plan

 Every project manager knows that good communication is essential for success. Your team needs to know how to communicate, what to communicate about, when to communicate, and who to communicate with. Setting out expectations from the outset and explaining the importance of communication to your team will ensure a smooth project journey.

9. Make all relevant data accessible

 All project information needs to be available and easily accessible to all stakeholders. This ensures that team members have the data they need to successfully complete their tasks and gives everyone a good idea of the big picture. This is also useful to outside stakeholders as it allows them to see what the project’s status is.

10. Set a project performance baseline

Once you’ve set your project’s goals, how do you measure their success? Before you embark on a project, decide how you’ll measure the successful completion of goals. Define your KPIs, then check actual work against them. This will help you keep on track and solve any obstacles against successfully achieving your goals.

11. Conduct a risk assessment

Every project contains inherent risks and the more prepared you are for them, the better. Thinking through possible risks, like budget overrun, or employee sickness, allows you to think of alternative routes to keep the project on track.

12. Create a change management plan

 It is commonplace for project clients to request changes to be made to a project when you are in the middle of working on it. How do you handle these requests? What if agreeing to them means you will have to go over budget? A change management plan defines your protocol for change requests and should be explained to the client at the outset. You may include clauses such as requiring a larger budget to accommodate expensive changes and hold the right to simply say no if a request is too much for your team to handle or will come at the expense of other projects.


Implementing the Project Management Principles

See how Workamajig can set you on the fast track to the successful implementation of agile project management principles.

Now that we’ve clarified these 12 principles and practices, let’s discuss the fastest and most effective way to put them into practice.

From keeping track of project goals to resource scheduling to having data in a neat and organized place, successful implementation of the project management principles is no easy feat. 

BUT, there is a way to make it many times easier and faster to implement these crucial principles. The answer lies, in project management software.

Let me introduce you to Workamajig -the only PM software designed especially for creative teams. With Workamajig on your side, the 12 PM principles listed above go from an ordeal to a cinch.

Because with Workamajig, you get to:

1. Make manual project setup (and finicky spreadsheets) a thing of the past & create fully-scheduled projects with just a few clicks

Workamajig’s powerful project templates help you kick off your creative projects with ready-to-go schedules & resourcing needs.

  • The flexibility you need. Copy from a template & edit to match your new project's needs
  • Easily view and manage the exact resources, hours, and budgets for new projects
  • Visualize project tasks, dependencies and complete timelines with built-in Gantt charts


2. Your current project intake process, streamlined

Get your marketing projects — and entire creative campaigns — in one place from the very first touch.

Kick off a project directly from a CRM opportunity or internal request.

  • Take opportunities from your pipeline and through to production, all in one tool.
  • Streamline intake with the Client Portal and easily go from the new request to the project
  • Or, just jump right in & create projects or campaigns on demand

Learn more about Project Intake in Workamajig


3. Better project budgets. Better project management.

Create & manage detailed, realistic budgets using a powerful creative project management tool, with real-time updates.

  • Know exactly where your project stands with budget breakdowns by item, type, task, or person
  • See the big picture with view, filter & drill-down options across multiple project budgets
  • Stay ahead of the curve with customizable budget status notifications & health meters


Turn your project management into a raging success, easily.

Related Posts

Run Better Projects Sign up for our free project management resources.

Get all our templates, tips, and fresh content so you can run effective, profitable, low-stress projects in your agency or team.