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The Project Manager’s Guide to Getting Things Done

Published By Alexandra Zaniewski
The Project Manager’s Guide to Getting Things Done

It is getting much more difficult for people to manage projects in the modern world. Teams are increasingly dispersed across departments, external partners, time zones and geographies. Collaborating on tasks and tracking what people are working on has become significantly more difficult to do. Most project inefficiency is due to the lack of clear direction, so if you want to succeed, you must have a plan, a clear vision of the objectives and a set of goals that you want to accomplish.

The planning stage is the most crucial stage to prepare you for project success. While it is true that plans can change at any given moment, and you must remain responsive and flexible for when the unexpected occurs, it is also important to keep the original goals in mind to adapt to only the changes that benefit the project goals. As work becomes more fragmented across projects, locations and platforms, it is vital to ensure that you have a single, centralized platform where everyone can get a joint picture of the whole project – whenever and wherever they are. A project collaboration tool will allow your team to be able to complete their work with visibility, efficiency and sticking to the plan.

Successful project execution requires both proper tools and proven methods. The best project management software provides a link between best practices, methods and management capabilities. Here are a few project management essentials that will help keep projects on task:

  1. Kanban boards: these provide a tangible way to visualize your tasks as “cards” and move them along the project lifecycle
  2. Gantt charts: used in planning as a hypothesis – they present the goal and map out a realistic timeframe to achieve those goals
  3. Workload management tools: to help you effectively manage your team’s workload by providing a comprehensive picture of what that workload is

Another crucial element to successful project is a capable team leader to manage it all. In order to maintain a great team there needs to be a transparent climate that everyone feels comfortable in. The centralized platform will facilitate easy communication between all team members, wherever they may be located, to share updates and ideas between one another. Finally, having stand up meetings allows your team to communication with one another and express any concerns or issues they may have.

When you’re in charge of a project one of your main jobs is to decide what needs to be done and when. Prioritizing tasks is often one of the hardest parts of the role. With so many different things that need to be done, how do you and your team choose which task has the highest priority? In order to decide, you must have visibility into all the tasks and be able to drill into them, to determine the importance of each.

Seeing what people are working on will also allow you to decide if they are spending too much time on certain tasks, and should self-organize their workload accordingly. However, in the end, don’t forget that your team are the actual experts, and they possess all the skill sets that are needed for their roles.

Workload management is an important factor to acknowledge and visualize. You have to ensure that everyone is content with what they have to do and that they are not alarmed or overwhelmed with their tasks, or at least allow them to comfortably communicate if they are. Overworked and underworked employees won’t lead you to success – you need the perfect balance.

Some final points and tips to consider on how to get things done:

  1. The planning and strategy phase: you must visualize the end results and map that against a set of deliverables, ensuring everyone is on the same page
  2. Great and easy communication will lead to a happy and efficient team
  3. Tools: Make sure that your team has access to all the tools they need, especially a project collaboration tool to provide a centralize location for sharing ideas
  4. Be open minded, flexible and responsive

Finally, remember when you pick your KPIs, ensure that you have a lot of data available that you can show to your stakeholders. That will encourage transparency as well as provide them with the information that they need throughout the process.

For more information on how you can get things done with project collaboration, download Collaborative Planning – the modern way to manage projects.

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Written by Alexandra Zaniewski

Alexandra Zaniewski graduated from Santa Clara University with a BA in Communication Studies. She later went on to obtain her Master’s in Communication at California State University. Alexandra works as a Marketing Programs Coordinator at Planview, specifically focusing on Innotas by Planview customer communication and creation of campaigns to the IT PMO community.