10 non-negotiables for effective project management

Project management is far from being an easy task. To help you succeed, here are the 10 commandments you need to have in mind to deliver your project on time, within the estimated budget and according to the requirements from your stakeholders.


  1. Find common ground for the project result

If you don’t know what you want to reach, you’ll most likely achieve nothing useful. A project without any clear expectations will be a tremendous mountain of work with no result. A successful project needs clear defined goals, which are explicit mention how the result should look like. This is just one piece of the puzzle. It is not enough to know what you need to do. You also need to find common ground with stakeholders and project team members that the goals and expectations are the right ones to achieve them.  The project steps must be measurable and strongly focused on the result.


  1. Select the right project team

The key ingredient for a successful project delivery is the project team. A willing, experienced, focused and reasonably organized project team is the key to success. The project manager is the responsible for the team build up. A good team starts with selecting people, even though later it turned out that someone is not the right person because he/ she is not capable or not cooperative. The responsibility of the project manager is to develop their capabilities and train them fast so that the team can deliver excellent results in a short period. Soft skills, such as leadership and motivation are critical to lead a project team successfully.


  1. Create a detailed project plan and keep it alive

A complete and appropriately detailed project plan is essential to deliver a successful project result. The plan supports the project manager to lead the project. It contains the general project intention, project goals, resource requirements and time frame. Without the project plan, it is almost impossible to lead a group and deliver the agreed project goals. Obviously, it is not enough to setup just the project plan. You don’t know the future, so the plan can change. When you gradually discover more about the project reality and the stakeholder’s opinion/feedback, you might need to adjust it.


  1. What you need to realize the project

It is almost impossible to realize a project without an appropriate amount of people, capital, and equipment. The project needs enough resources – in most of the cases, the project manager needs to renegotiate what needs to be done to reduce resources.


  1. Create a realistic time frame

Without a realistic time frame for the project, you’ll not succeed with your project and the time will be over before you finish your project. You can establish more people or more resources, but you cannot produce more time. As a project manager, you can lose credibility very easily if you want to change the project schedule without good reasons.


  1. Be open for changes

This rule completes rule number 3. The project manager needs to be open to adjusting the project plan and lead the project where it needs to go. Requirements sometimes change with reasonable reasons or more/other information appears or the people´s mood just changes. The project manager is the conciliator and needs to handle this kind of transformations with an open but focused mind. This will make the difference between a good and a bad project manager.


  1. Inform and keep everyone on track

It is essential to keep all the important stakeholders informed regarding the project status and development – positive or negative. It is simple to follow this rule: communication, communication, communication! If something changes in the project, stakeholders also want to bring their own changes into the project.


  1. Be open to trying new ways

Because every project is different (different people, different goals, different challenges, different complexity, different risks), it is not an appropriate way to use always the same methodology or software, or assets. The standard frame is useful for small and less complex projects. But as soon as the project grows and achieves a higher complexity it needs different methodologies and instruments as a small and simple project. It’s important to find the right balance. Too many or too few procedures make the project not realizable.


  1. Define measurable goals

The project ends when all the defined and settled goals between you and your client are reached out. Here it is important, and this is related to rule number 1, that you implement measurable indicators and variables. This is the only way to make sure that you can evaluate the results of the project against the agreed project goals.


  1. Define what is not part of the project

Rule number 1 tells you to define explicitly what is part of the project. It is also important to define what is not relevant and must go into another project. This point helps you to refine what is necessary for the project and what is not productive.


Keep in mind that if the project fails no one will say after that the project failed because you did not define the goals. They will always say the project failed because the project manager did a bad job.

To Dos:
– Before managing a new project, keep the above commandments in mind.
– If you need any assistance on project management, contact us, tell us your challenges and we’ll certainly help you.
– If you are already efficiently managing projects, what have been the main best practices? Share with us in the comments.
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