Posted by Stefan
Project managers are at the forefront of project success. They are responsible for defining, organizing, and keeping projects moving toward completion, thus if the project is a success, the bulk of the credit goes to the manager. On the other hand, if things take a turn for the worst, it is the project manager who must ultimately answer for the failure. While project managers operate in every industry and business environment, the principles of the job remain constant throughout the entire diverse range of professional specialties.
One of the crucial elements of getting a project right is to make sure your life cycle is delivered well. Every manager must take charge of the project life cycle and the four important steps are: Initiation, Planning, Execution, and Completion. From drafting the plan of attack to motivating personnel to ensuring that the project is completed on time and in budget, the project manager has many duties to juggle. So, to help you get your project management job done in the most efficient way possible, here is how to optimize your project life cycle.
Projects are initiated by either problems or opportunities. In either case, the motivation needs to be clearly identified. The more specific the motivation, the better results you will eventually attain, and the fewer resources you will squander along the way.
Next, two crucial questions must be answered: Are we capable of doing the project? And why should we take on the project? Only when you have adequate answers to both questions are you ready to proceed with the task of putting together a project team.
The planning stage is unquestionably the most important part of any project, and the most crucial component of every project manager’s job. You will need to identify each task involved in the project, account for all the resources you will require to complete those tasks, and agree on time frames for the completion of each step. While the planning phase is largely up to the project manager, he or she should never attempt to form the plan in its entirety without considering the input of the team. If your team is competent, chances are someone will think of an aspect you’ve left out or be able identify an overlooked time-consuming exigency.
Of course, budgeting is also a crucial aspect of planning, and managers must remember to include every aspect of the work, from labor to materials, and everything in between. After identifying the tasks, preparing a schedule, and budgeting, it is time for risk analysis. Address all potential risks and prepare strategies for circumventing or fixing them.
Finally, project managers must include checkpoints, inspections, and quality targets. By defining these from the very start, projects will go much more smoothly, and team members will be better prepared to keep their priorities in order. Planned intermediate checks are also a powerful road map for keeping the project life cycle running smoothly.
Optimal execution of the plan requires constant monitoring and documentation by the project manager. Use regular team meetings and individual discussions to closely follow the developments of each task. When modifications or corrective actions need to be implemented, ensure that their impacts are reflected in a revised project plan, and that this plan is communicated and circulated to the rest of the team. Status reports must focus especially on evolving costs, scheduling, and the quality of the final product. Transparency is key to optimization.
Effective completion requires ensuring customer satisfaction with the final product, terminating contracts, communicating project completion with all involved parties, and conducting a ‘Lessons Learned’ meeting. Report your findings to help with future projects, and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
Successful Project Managers are experts in time management and team motivation. They ensure that communication channels remain open between team members at all times, that the plan remains flexible and adaptable, and that every alteration to the schedule is ultimately reflected in the budget and team agendas. In order to meet and surpass expectations, project managers must not only form effective plans, but also ensure those plans are implemented in the most efficient ways possible. So as much as optimizing a project’s life cycle demands careful planning, it also demands creative and contentious execution.
Author: Jenny Beswick is a graduate who has success in project management. Her academic background goes back to her science and engineering studies which led her to graduate and work in engineering and scientific careers. Within her careers she has obtained further education through her telegraph Project Management courses which then enabled her to manage multiple projects with large teams and work on a global level.