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The Essential Guide to Project Management Tools

August 26 2009

Want to improve your success in managing projects? If you do, then read this newsletter which describes….

The Essential Guide to Project Management

There is so much to learn to become a great project manager. You have to juggle time, money, people, equipment and materials. To do it all, some people feel like they have to be a miracle worker! But it’s not the case. Jut implement these essential principles…

Initiate Carefully

When you start your project, wind it up slowly. Define the process by which you’re going to manage your project from start to finish. If possible, adopt a Project Life Cycle so you know what you have to do and by when. Take these steps to start up your project:

1. Define the project goals, timeline and schedule

2. Quantify the amount of resource you need

3. Specify the project scope and deliverables

4. Decide if you need to outsource to an external supplier

5. Recruit your team and set up a project office

Plan In Depth

Then identify all of the tasks needed to complete your project. Order and prioritize them and work out how long each will take. Create a detailed project schedule, so you know what you have to do, when and how, to deliver the project on time. Then take these steps:

6. Identify the number of resources you need

7. Set a budget and plan your expenditure

8. List the project deliverables and set quality targets for them

9. Plan your communications so everyone is kept informed

10.  Decide on how you are going to manage risks, changes and issues

Execute Swiftly

The next step is to execute your plan quickly and efficiently. This is the longest phase in the project, so you need to work smart to complete this phase on time. Here’s how to do it:

11.  Record all time spent by your team and track it on your plan

12.  Constantly check your actual vs. planned progress

13.  If you start falling behind, take action or get help quickly

14.  Resolve risks, issues and changes as quickly as possible

15.  Keep your team motivated by rewarding good performance

Close and learn

When you’ve produced all of your deliverables and handed them over to your sponsor or customer, you’re ready for closure. Do this by releasing project staff, contractors, suppliers and equipment. Then close your project office and handover documentation. Take the time to identify your lessons learned, as these will be invaluable to your next project.

These four steps (Initiation, Planning, Execution and Closure) are the four essential phases in the Project Life Cycle. If you want to learn how to undertake these steps in more depth, then download this Project Management Methodology today. Use these Project Management Tools.