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10 tips to meet your project planning goals

Moira Alexander | Nov. 4, 2015
Project management is both an art and a science, requiring you to focus on and master numerous tasks. These 10 actionable tips will help you meet your goals and achieve success as a project manager.

Tip 4. Make a request to management to be involved in companywide planning sessions in order to transform the traditional PMO into a high-performing team that can deliver significant value. Highlight how this will help to establish a shared vision, as well as reduce the risk of missed objectives and misunderstandings, while increasing the projects chance of success. According to PMI research, the success rates of higher-performing PMOs also align with a company’s financial performance.

Plan effective communications

Ineffective communication may seem harmless, but when it comes to projects it can be one of those areas where a single word or gesture can set up a chain of events so disastrous it can completely derail an entire project. How? When people are the primary resource in a project, we all bring personal biases, experiences, our own objectives, cultural norms, work ethics and sometimes even personal lives to work. All that baggage creates at least the possibility of hearing – or saying – things incorrectly. Frequent and effective communication becomes an extremely important aspect in project management, especially for the project manager.

Tip 5. Work on being trustworthy, transparent, objective, focused, energetic and motivational, consistent and flexible, accessible, clear, respectful, confident and lead by example.

Tip 6. If the project team is too large, break it down into smaller focused groups to make communications easier to manage, and then send out formal communications on updates to the entire project team or as applicable.

“We were having trouble growing the development team. Once we were over 10 people, the development team had trouble with communication, and we were slow and inefficient” says Aytekin Tank, founder of JotForm, a leading online form builder.

Tank says they split groups into cross-functional teams, that each focused on one single issue. “Our teams became much more focused and agile again. We got work done faster and better again.” Aytekin explains.

Plan how you will get and keep stakeholder engagement

In order to gain stakeholder buy-in and keep them engaged in a project from start to finish, they’ll want to know they can trust you as a project manager. Moreover, they’re not likely to fully support or contribute to a project if they don’t understand why the project is necessary, how it benefits them and what their role is.

Tip 7. As a PM, before you can expect stakeholder engagement, you must also be fully engaged. Remain transparent, provide timely communications, clarify team members roles, areas of responsibility and expectations.

Tip 8. Address conflict immediately and directly, determine the root cause, and whenever possible, allow opportunities for stakeholders to take part in the resolution. People are much more willing to move on in a positive manner if they can be part of a solution instead of only perceived as the problem.

 

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