Job titles are a funny thing. Whether you're a designer, developer or a CEO, the most important skills you bring to the table are usually related to your title.
But when you look at the reality, you're doing so much more than what your job title describes.
If you find yourself organizing people and tasks, facing multiple deadlines or just generally losing sleep over the progress of your work, it's more than likely that your job title is one part project manager.
A project could be anything from managing a space shuttle launch to property development or simple office relocation. For the most part, big projects are planned pretty meticulously. However, interesting enough, most CEOs seem to find it's the small projects that create the most headaches.
It can be daunting managing a project - whatever its size - especially when you don't have any guidelines to work from.
Be sure to check out our project management software vendors -- hand-picked, these vendors are great options for your business.
7 Project Management Tips
Before you start anything, make sure the amount of planning you're doing is relative to the size of the project. Complicating the process is just going to waste time. Assess the project and don't go overboard.
List your tasks
The first thing you need to do is figure out your tasks. Break down your project and make a list of the things you need to do. At this stage, you might not know everything but you need to have a general idea, e.g. what needs to be done? How long will it take?
Much of the time, projects come to a stall because you have to wait for Task A to be finished before you can start Task B. Identify in advance what information or resources you need. If you have a good idea of what could slow you down, it's more likely you're going to complete your project on time.
Who's doing what?
Now that you have your list of tasks, you need to delegate. You might only be dealing with one other person but it's still important to know who's responsible for each task. It's about communication as well. Who has what information? Who do you need approval from?
Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines
If you don't set a due date, it's probably not going to get done on time. In your initial planning stage make sure you have a good idea of when things are going to be completed. You don't need a detailed, color-coded report about possible projections but make sure everyone is on the same page about deadlines.
Keep a record
As much as I've emphasized not to go overboard on the planning and reporting, you still need to document your project. You're still operating within a company or organization and you're going to need a record of what's been done and any estimates for finances and billing. Just make sure it's not overkill.
Keep track of your time and budget
To keep a good record, you need to keep your eye on the time and your budget. Your project has to be funded somehow and you need to be able to show what results have been achieved. Keep track of where the money's going and where you're spending your time so you have an idea of the unique value of your project.
These tips are just a starter, but the main points you should remember to manage your small project successfully. Like I said, assess your situation first because doing everything according to a formula might not benefit you.
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