Project Management Best Practices
Construction companies are project driven. Successful projects lead to profitable growing companies.
Project management is the planning and organizing of resources to successfully complete project objectives and goals. The ideal end result of project management is completion of the project within a given timeframe and budget. It requires certain factors be preset for the best chance of satisfactory project completion.
Best Practice 1: Planning
No project will succeed without advance planning. You will need to map out a timeline for your project, as well as a list of items that you will need to complete your project and where you might procure those items. Knowing the individual elements of your project will keep you on track and alert you when and if things start to go south.
A good plan must provide the following benefits:
- Clearly documented project milestones and deliverables.
- A valid and realistic timescale.
- Allows accurate cost estimates to be produced.
- Details resource requirements.
- Acts as an early warning system, providing visibility of task slippage.
- Keeps the project team focused and aware of progress.
Best Practice 2: Clear Goals and Objectives
It is important to establish clear goals and objectives so that all involved understand clearly what the expectations are of them. The customer may forget the extra work and effort you have put in, insisting that you have delivered what they asked for originally. Make sure you set expectations correctly at the outset of the project and clearly define what is in and out of scope.
Best Practice 3: Define Success
Define before hand, what you consider success. For e.g, If your goal is to cut the costs of production, then a certain percentage reduction would be the terms of success.
Define with the customer the Critical Success Factors that will make the project a success. Make sure your Critical Success Factors are measurable, such as, a 20% reduction in the cost of raw materials by the end of the year. Use these factors at the end of the project to measure your success.
Best Practice 4: Motivate
Motivation is the key to any successful project management assignment. Communicating with your collaborators is important in motivating them to keep going. Define Milestones / important landmarks. It will help be on track and perform up to the standard.
A motivated team will go the extra mile to deliver a project on time and to budget. One must keep their team motivated by involving them throughout the project and by planning frequent milestones to help them feel they are making progress.
Best Practice 5: Keep Realistic Expectations
Always keep expectations of your results realistic. If you know that your project cannot yield a certain result, then do not promise that result. Never promise anything you know you cannot deliver, you are just storing up problems for later. Stick to your guns. When saying no, be firm and ready to justify the reasons behind your decision.
Best Practice 6: Keep communication channels Open
This one factor contributes to a successful project is fluid communication between all parties involved. Establishing a plan for communicating with key audiences can be a good way to ensure that communication happens and isn't overlooked.
Best Practice7: Handle Risks
Maintain a list of all of the potential risks of your project, and then add notes on how to handle them. Once you have this list and your risk-management strategies, distribute copies of that list to everyone involved in the project.
Best Practice 8: Feedback and Recognition
When things go wrong, we have a tendency to hear about them. But, when things go right, we often forget about the importance of providing feedback and recognition for a job well done.
Establish a means of regular communication and make plans to celebrate successes in formal ways to provide all involved with recognition and support.
Best Practice 9: Stick to your Budget
Never ever go over the defined budget. No one will appreciate the extra expenses involved in your project if you take the project too far from its original scope.
Applying the above simple techniques will help you avoid common problems that befall many project managers. The key to good project management is leadership and communication. Never leave it too late to tell people what is happening, especially if it is bad. Bad news only gets worse the longer you leave it.