5 Tips for Effective Project Management
Project management is integral to the success of any business. Whether you're a project manager, team member or stakeholder in a project, there are tips and tricks that can help each person be more effective in their role. After all, to run a successful business everyone needs to be on the same page in order to bring their best work to the table. In order to do that, you’ll need a strong project management process.
Developing an effective project management process may seem overwhelming or daunting at first, but it really doesn’t have to be. Some businesses have complex and detailed project management processes, while others have more of a surface-level guideline for team members to follow. It’s all about finding what works best for your work environment. Here at Great Big Graphics, one of New England’s best boutique sign and graphic design companies, we’ve got project management down to a tee. And today, we’re going to share some of our project management secrets to success with you. In this blog, we’ll cover the basics of successful project management with 5 tips to serve as a guideline for you. Let’s get into it!
Tip #1: Use Google Sheets to Stay Organized
We start with project management software, which is essential for organization. Our organization tool of choice is Google Sheets. Google Sheets is free to use and super versatile in how it can be used. It’s amazing for its ability to be shared with all members on a project to edit or view changes live. Using a spreadsheet as your project tracking tool is simple, and can be set up however works best for your crew. You can organize columns by the deadline date, color code cells to show the status of a task, and hold multiple tabs for each area of your business. Plus, with the Google Sheets App, you can view changes and make edits while you’re on the go and ensure you never miss a deadline. A great project manager is always organized and has everything at their fingertips, and Google Sheets is the perfect tool to get started.
Tip #2: Regular Project Check-ins
Checking in with your project team members, stakeholders, and clients on a regular basis to discuss progress and answer any questions they may have is key to success in project management. It's not only important to make sure tasks are getting done on time, but it is absolutely essential to check in with everyone involved in the project process to ensure that their voice is being heard. Communication is key, and without regular check-ins, your project could go downhill fast. Trust us, you do not want to work for hours in the wrong direction - it is a losing situation for all involved.
We suggest scheduling regular check-ins with team members, clients, and stakeholders. These can be super casual, but it’s very important to have a blocked time in your calendar to ensure all voices are heard and feelings are validated. When you open the floor and encourage feedback and discussions, your team will only become stronger for it.
Tip #3: Track Everything
Track everything. Keep everything. Save everything. If you're not tracking project information, how are you going to know if the project is progressing smoothly? It's crucial that all project data (which includes anything from hours worked on a project to all critical information relayed in meetings) be tracked and compiled. Tracking is important because if (and when) mix-ups happen, you’ll have everything important saved and on record to help you get back on track. It’s a major time saver too, as you won’t need to constantly check in with others on details mentioned in meetings - they will all be saved for your reference as you need.
Not only is tracking important for individual projects, but also for your workflow process as a whole. Going over and analyzing your project data after you’ve finished a project can help you and your team in the long run, if you schedule a time to debrief what worked well and what didn’t after you’ve completed a project. Tracking everything in a project ultimately helps your business grow in a positive direction, as you’ll be able to refine your process and choose clients that work well for your team in future projects.
Tip #4: Develop Relationships With Clients
We can’t stress this enough. A project manager who has developed good relationships with clients and project team members is going to have a lot less stress and anxiety than one who has not. Healthy relationships are key, both on the project management side of things, and with your clients. As we mentioned above, scheduling regular check-ins is a very efficient way to check in with those involved in a project.
In addition to those scheduled check-ins though, you should also develop healthy relationships throughout your process together. This will be mutually beneficial for both you and those you’re working with on a project. Plus, the power of networking is not to be underestimated. When you hold strong relationships with those you work on a project with, you’re more likely to get many referrals for projects going forward!
Tip #5: Develop Relationships With Project Stakeholders
In addition to developing healthy business-to-business type relationships, it's important for project managers to develop good relationships with project stakeholders. The project stakeholder will likely have valuable information to share, and likely have a large impact on the success of your project.
For example, at Great Big Graphics, we typically start with what our client wants and discuss their goals in full. Then, we meet with the town zoning office and have a conversation with them to see what is possible, before putting too much time into designing and pricing for the client. Checking with the zoning office prior to beginning work with the client is key so that no unapproved plans are worked on. Developing that strong relationship with the zoning office is key in this situation, because it builds a sense of mutual trust, and allows for future successful projects to take place. This is just one example, but it’s a good context for how relationships with project stakeholders play a key role in successful project management.
Work With The Pros
We hope you've enjoyed this blog post and found these project management tips helpful! Keep your eye out on our blog for more tips like this, and updates on all things branding and signage. If you're in the market for a new sign, logo, or business or vehicle graphics, get in touch today. Our team of professionals are ready to work with you on your business' next project.