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How To Improve Your Project Management in 2018

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Now’s the time.

Change is possible.

You can communicate more effectively, be more efficient with your work and get faster approvals–possibly with even fewer meetings.

Too good to be true?

It depends on if you establish your processes and the work you put in to manage your actual work.

To help you do that, we asked our project management support specialists and customer success managers at Workzone about ways to improve (see their answers below).

But first, it may help to evaluate and ask big picture questions about how your workflows and collaboration are set up.

Big-Picture Questions

  • What do your project tasks involve?
  • What’s the big goal you’re trying to achieve?
  • What do you have to do to get them done? Is the current process ideal, or do you wish there could be tools to help you get them done more efficiently?
  • Is there a way to repeat certain processes?
  • What is the projected growth of your company?
  • What kind of project management needs do you anticipate in the next few years?

That’s how to determine your ideal project management scenario.

Go through the same exercise with your key team members from various departments, e.g. strategy, UX, design, marketing, development, and QA, to understand what tools and features can help them do their job more efficiently.

You want to be intentional while defining your needs based on your current processes. Ask whether you’re following all the steps because they are all necessary, or if you’re following them simply because “that’s how it’s been done” and nobody cares to question their validity over time.

By starting with those questions, you can refine your processes and boost your productivity. Now, let’s see what the specialists from Workzone suggest on how to improve your projects.

 

How To Improve Your Project Management in 2018

 

Chris DeVries

Product Specialist at Workzone

 

Look for ways to improve visibility and awareness. Often, one of the biggest reasons for a project or a team falling behind schedule can be tied back to this. Lines such as “I thought I had more time” or “I didn’t realize the impact delaying this one task would have” can be all too common without a system that keeps everyone in the loop. Software that can regularly notify the team of changes or responsibilities can make all the difference.

 

Connor Hansell

Product Specialist at Workzone

 

Create a daily habit for your team. If team members are logging in daily to interact with their work, things won’t fall behind, and this will prevent inaccuracies in both your project timelines and your reporting

Don’t over complicate your projects. If projects are too big and contain too much information and too many lines, users will have trouble creating, navigating and updating them. This process should be quick and easy, and it should ultimately streamline your processes, not make them more difficult. Keeping things simple can be the difference between your team loathing a tool and loving a tool.

Hold team members accountable for updating work. This will allow the ball to be passed from one responsible party to the next, and will also help generate accurate reporting. This comes back to the ol’ weakest link analogy, and no one wants to be the weakest link.

Utilize project templates. This will not only help streamline the project creation process, but it will also help create consistency. If everyone is familiar with the templated process, creating and managing becomes routine. This will also help you generate useful reporting.

 

Melissa Crean

Customer Success Manager at Workzone

 

Communicate changes to your team. Whether it be a new tool, software, or workflow, it is important that all team members are aware of changes before they happen. It is also helpful to chat with your team about why these changes are necessary for productivity and welcome any feedback. When employees also see the benefit in change, they are eager to learn. Too often, I see Managers or Decision Makers move forward with a new tool or workflow without giving the team a heads up prior. In turn, adoption of this new tool/system/workflow becomes a struggle due to lack of buy in and begin to resist change.. This typically leads to a failed process.

 

Mike McMullen

Product Specialist at Workzone

 

It can be difficult for managers to set appropriate expectations if they don’t really know how busy their team is.

We work with a lot of customers that struggle to manage project requests. Its not uncommon for managers to receive a request for a new project through email, phone calls, and during water cooler conversations.

When a team can control how they intake project requests, they can confidently negotiate appropriate due dates and better manage their staff workload.

 

Trevor Machinia

Director of Training and Support at Workzone

 

Set appropriate expectations and stick to them. Really, measuring success is just a matter of measuring an expectation against reality. When coming up with your plan to be better with project management, start with a clear understanding of what you NEED to achieve, what you’d LIKE to achieve, and what’s POSSIBLE to achieve. Then, generate your Venn diagram accordingly.

Sure, the overlap between those three may be slim, and may not get you to your pie-in-the-sky goals right away. But that’s ok – having an achievable goal to begin with is key. If nothing else, this is the chance to create a solid foundation on which your team can grow in subsequent months, quarters, etc. Just remember, what you want and what’s possible are two different things. If you only aim for what you want, and don’t take into account the thresholds of your resources, your talent, your time, your money, etc. then you’ve set yourself up for failure. If you ask too much of your team, you can be sure they won’t meet your expectations, and that’s never a good place to start. Give them work they can accomplish and feel good about.

Conclusion

Once you have great project management processes in place, you’ll be able to grow from there. Once your team is in the groove of using a project management tool, communicating effectively, and completing their work on time, then you can start to build on that foundation and introduce new processes with those key skills as the basis. Improving your project management starts today.

More Similar Articles

01b - Multi-step test

Step 1 of 4

25%
  • How many people will use Workzone?

  • (Workzone is ideal for teams with 5 or more users)