As technology and work processes change through the years, emerging trends continue to arise that changes the landscape of project management. Per Dana Brownlee of Forbes, artificial and data intelligence technology will dramatically change how to manage and work on projects; the skills that project managers require will need to adapt as well to meet these updates. Furthermore, project teams, due to remote work (especially from COVID-19), will become more diverse (Brownlee, 2019). As nothing in a project stays constant, understanding how to adapt to change is vital in the project’s success.
Due to rising trends in the technological and business world, project managers need to understand how to manage a project correctly. In this paper, I will be exploring the many methods a project manager can effectively manage their workers and task load; this will be an applied summary from the viewpoint of a project manager (myself), covering how, when, and how to effectively manage a project. By using this information, one can achieve results that can not only assist them in completing a project on time and under budget but provide a healthy work environment for all team members.
First, determining the project should be accomplished; while this is pretty much self-explanatory, the type of event or task you are scheduling determines how you will create the schedule. For example, if you are relocating a business into a new location, you will want a top-down breakdown of all parts in the move, including tasks scheduled in the old and new building. If it is a simple schedule for a project such as a paper, the plan will be less detailed, with merely fundamental concepts to keep in mind and the due dates of the initial topic decision, outline, rough draft, and final paper.
One of my favorite tools to use in any project is holding a brainstorming meeting. In these meetings, the free-flow of ideas can offer a rare insight on what steps need to be added, what risks that need to be considered, what dates and times seem reasonable for all, and who might want to lead each segment of the task on the schedule. Allowing your team members to participate in the early stages of a project enables them to adapt and perform significantly better throughout the entire mission.
Whenever I create a schedule, I always end up with an enormous number of tasks and have to spend time breaking them down to an acceptable and less-stressful number. It is important to remember that setting numerous deadlines before the work is defined only makes the entire process more difficult; instead, just schedule essential tasks that can be adequately described using a work breakdown structure. A common method for creating schedules is using charts or diagrams of who’s involved, what tasks need to be completed, and the allotted timeframe for each phase of the project. Per Chandana from SimpliLearn, various methods for project management project planning tools exist, including the critical path method (CPM), program (or project) evaluation and review technique (PERT), Gantt chart, and the work breakdown structure (WBS) (Chandana, 2020).
While setting dates is a project schedule’s bread and butter, avoid too many specific time constraints. More often than not, as the schedule begins, the project and the plan will both evolve into something entirely different; problems happen, changes are made, and focusing too much on dates can create unnecessary chaos for those who are relying on the schedule to turn a large number of challenging tasks into something more manageable.
Before finalizing any schedule, ensure that you discuss each task and date with the whole team. Many jobs are dependent on other team members’ ability to finish a separate task. For example, I had to wait until our Office Manager and Contractor decided on how much space I had to work within our new server room. Only after I was given the exact dimensions for the server room was I able to start my next scheduled task, designing and purchasing new equipment for it.
Although I previously mentioned how dates could change as the schedule starts, it is critical to know who is responsible for what and maintain the enforcement that each task must be completed on time. If a team member does not believe they will meet a specific deadline, then he/she must inform the project leader of the problem so that the schedule can be edited; if this does not occur, then the failure to meet the deadline should have an adverse action towards that team member. Again, communication is vital.
Before, during, and after creating your project schedule, continuously check for errors. Some typical problems people run into are not including public or team member’s holidays, building continuous blocks of work without milestones, and dividing tasks between multiple people (this can be done, but ensure that there is a leader for that specific task). Also, not adding contingency time for when a problem arises and not adding times where all leaders can discuss how each task is going are both common issues. Finally, dates and times falling on a weekend or coinciding with a busy workday can be challenging (for example, don’t let the day before a deadline fall on a day with a company-wide three-hour HR meeting).
As the individual who created the plan, you need to know it by heart and use it entirely. Failure to take the program severely can negatively impact the rest of your team members; if they see you miss one of your deadlines without you first acknowledging that a change must be made, they will most likely follow your lead. By using these suggestions, you should be well on your way to designing and creating an effective project schedule.
Creating an outstanding project schedule, enforcing its deadlines, and completing the tasks on-time are the building blocks of any supervisory position. With all of the recent and upcoming changes to technology’s effect on business operations, as well as the increasing amount of diverse employees, one must be skilled in all areas of project management, group theory, and general leadership skills. As a project manager myself, these lessons will be utilized for years to come, enabling me not only to keep up with my competition but soar above them, leading my teams into the next generation of organizational excellence.
Fuller, M. A., Valacich, J. S., George, J. F., & Schneider, C. (2019). Information systems project management: A process Approach, Edition 2.0. Prospect Press, Inc.
Brownlee, D. (2019, July 22). 4 Project Management Trends On The Horizon…Are You Ready? Retrieved June 10, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/danabrownlee/2019/07/21/4-project-management-trends-on-the-horizonare-you-ready/.
Chandana. (2020, May 22). Project Management Tools for Effective Project Planning. Retrieved June 10, 2020, from https://www.simplilearn.com/project-planning-tools-for-project-manager-article
Categories: Group Theory