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Keep Projects on Track with an Effective Project Management Process

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By Townes Haas   |    September 17, 2014   |    10:17 AM

How to Create a Project Management Process

Small businesses often live in a state of ‘organized’ chaos. Processes are can get thrown out the window in favor of trying to get as many tasks done as possible - and hope that projects will be delivered on time. It can be difficult for managers to slow down for a moment or two to put together and follow a project management process. Yet, an effective process can ensure that projects are consistently delivered on time and within budget.

Many new entrepreneurs lack project management experience and are unsure how to initiate a plan. Most businesses, however, don’t know how to put together a project management process. Here are some tips to creating a successful process.

1. Have Goals in Place: Objectives for the project should be established from the start. What are the goals for the project? What is the project designed to achieve? Have these goals been adequately communicated to the whole team?

2. Establish the Roles: Roles on a project may change from project to project, but the major three roles are project manager, project sponsor and stakeholders. A stakeholder is basically anyone who has an interest in the project, and these people are updated via the sponsor. The project sponsor takes an active role in the project and usually has approval authority. The project manager is the person actually responsible for the day-to-day running of the project.

3. Determine the Major Phases: Each project has several phases. When a phase is completed, it signals that it’s time to move on to the next phase and so forth. Phases ensure that no none of the critical steps to the project are missed. Generally, these are broken up like this:

  • a. Strategy and business case: This phase defines the business requirements and methodology for meeting those requirements. At this time it is important for project managers to evaluate the progress and determine if project goals can be achieved within the required timeframe and budget.
  • b. Definition and planning: This phase involves putting together the project plan or scope and laying out all work that needs to be done. Teams should also review resources and project requirements to determine if additional resources are needed. Team members should be identified and the project initiation document created.
  • c. Launch: Team members are given roles and responsibilities.
  • d. Development and Testing: Major parts of the project are created and tested as necessary.
  • e. Monitoring: Throughout the phases, the project manager will check to see if the project is progressing as planned. If not, the project manager may have to add resources or manipulate timelines.
  • f. Project close: Once the project is delivered and approved by the client, documentation about the project must be completed and stored. The project should be reviewed to determine what should be done in the future to improve the overall process.

4. Learn from Mistakes: Once a project is complete, a full project review should take place. Look at everything from the communication between the team, timeline progression and what fell through the cracks. Were corners cut to get things done that shouldn’t have been? Could processes and internal communication be improved? Verify that client needs and initial goals were adequately met. Learning from what did and did not work can make future projects run smoother and confirm that teams adhere to timelines and budgets.

A solid project management process can ensure that all types of business projects are fulfilling client requirements and being delivered successfully and on schedule.

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