Some Best Practices Project Managers Should Consider
By Brad Egeland
Best practices – what exactly is meant by that? For me – especially in terms of project management – it’s not rocket science. It’s about doing those things that keep the project manager and team focused on successfully delivering the best project solution possible to the client.
I’m going to present a few of these here… be thinking about your own best practices that you use or could use to deliver better project solutions…
Weekly budget analysis and forecasting. There probably is such a thing as “too much” when it comes to oversight of the project budget, but weekly certainly isn’t too much. The project manager who pays close attention to the project financial health will never be surprised by a budget that has gone over by 50%. You’ll notice a change in project financial health much sooner than that and it almost goes without saying that a budget overrun of 10% is far easier to fix than a budget overrun of 50%. You are not likely to ever recover from that 50% figure.
Risk planning. We all hate to take too much time planning – we usually want to dive right in and start doing the “real” work. But, if you’ve ever been part of a project that tanked because it hit something like the Titanic iceberg that could have been avoided by even just an hour of risk planning, you’ll know why this one is on my top 10 list. Performing some risk identification and then brainstorming with your team and possibly even your project customer on how to mitigate or avoid those risks if they are realized can sometimes mean the difference between failure and success on the project. Hindsight is always 20-20…don’t skip risk planning and maybe you won’t ever need that hindsight.
Get certified. If you are dedicated to project management and want to deliver the best solutions possible, then consider project management certification. Several places allow you to get it fast – some top ones in as little as 5 days and come with a guaranteed pass so you can’t fail. Many also offer other certifications focused on helping project managers grow and perform more efficiently.
Project communication. Project communication will always happen no matter what. But project management best practices tell us the right ways and the wrong ways to go about handling the project communication process. Set communication expectations at the outset of the project and let everyone know that communication is Job One for the PM. All communication needs to go through the project manager.
Summary / call for input
That’s a short list of some of my favorites. These won’t guarantee project success, but through the years I’ve learned that sticking to your own defined best practices (or at least mine, anyway), gives you the best chance of repeated success on your projects.
What about you? What best practices or actions are on your list? What do you agree with on my list and what would you change? Please share your own thoughts and lets’ discuss!