Project management comes in many shapes and sizes. Managing the development of a new website requires different tools than managing a construction project. Clients throw in another variable to consider – working in the public sector may involve different processes compared to a privately owned business. And maybe not.
Every project and every client has its own dynamics and needs. But regardless of the project scope or parameters, a few basic guidelines are tried and true, all based in communication:
1) Establish intended outcomes, parameters, timeline and budget early in the process. While this may change as the project progresses, clear expectations at the get-go are critical to the project’s success.
2) Communicate well and often. Good communication is an important part of CAWOOD’s “Collaborative” value. Remember that a key to communicating well is the ability to listen.
3) Be clear about next steps and task delegation. At the end of each meeting, clearly state new assignments, who’s responsible, the time frame and deadlines. Sometimes two people can be a part of the same conversation and walk away with different understandings, so it’s always best to be sure you’re on the same page.
4) Keep good records of communication. After each meeting or phone call, recap the discussion and decisions made in writing, including next steps. Use your judgment; depending on the project or client, summarizing every meeting or phone call might be a bit much.
These four guidelines could seem obvious and simple, yet they are fundamentals for successful project management. It’s like doing drills for a sports team practice to stay in shape for the big game. Though sometimes tedious, athletes realize that perfecting the basics leads the way to a win.
At its core, project management is about communicating. And more communicating, just to be clear.