Your project management style is the difference between hard and smart work.
Simply stating that a Manager has a lot of responsibilities would be a gross understatement. However, it needs to be said anyway. Apart from putting out fires at the office, a manager is dealing with all sorts of clients and customers all day, and overseeing the progress of the team. These chores are no joke.
I think we can all agree that being a busy manager can be stressful. This can eventually take a toll on your judgment and your Management style. As a leader, one should be aware of their responsibilities not just to their customers but to the workplace as well.
A manager is not only responsible for his own growth but also of his team, the brand, the product, and the office. If the movement of the projects is sorted out, I think a manager can accomplish a lot more.
Why Do We Need A System For Project Management?
Through years of watching leaders lead by example, one thing has been a constant, managers have a way of doing things. They need to stick to a system they find reliable and functional. Not only does this help them lead by example, but it also gives them a chance to do things a hell of a lot more systematically.
The points that have to be put forward are that a system for project management will have the following positive effects on your team:
- Little room for error.
- A lot less confusion.
- No more wasted time.
- Better use of resources.
- More effective communication.
- Meeting goals and deadlines more efficiently.
Needless to say, establishing a system for project management won’t just make management Easier for you, it will also make managing tasks a lot easier for your whole team. So, how can you achieve this?
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The Only Guide To Project Management You Will Ever Need
Here are some tips for getting better at managing your teams and projects:
1. Learn Project Breakdown
“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”– Eleanor Roosevelt
The first step towards managing projects in a better way is to break them down into smaller, more manageable parts. But before your team starts attempting these tasks, it is important to set targets. Tangible goals and milestones pave an easier way to perform tasks.
Only when the end results are planned out you can start breaking your project down to tasks and subtasks. Here’s what you can do to simplify this process:
- Sit with your team and set objectives.
- Work out the deadlines for the main goals.
- Prepare a strategy to reach said goal.
- Work on breaking down the project into tasks.
- Take the tasks and break them down into sub-tasks.
- Work on assigning the tasks to various departments.
2. Solve Problems By Organizing
“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.”– Anonymous
This one you might already be familiar with. Being a manager is easier when you know exactly what to manage and to see that clearly, you are going to get rid of the clutter. This is why the organizing teams, files, tasks, and projects is of the utmost importance.
How can you go about organizing the office though? What can you effectively organize? I hope you will find the answers down here:
- Develop a system where used files can regularly be taken care of and after they have moved through the system they can finally be discarded.
- Use a project management software to attach files directly to tasks which then gets directly linked to your team’s schedule.
- Try to keep the search process as simple as possible by establishing files and folders organization guidelines.
- You could tell your team to name certain files in certain ways so that it is easy to organize them.
- Sort the types of files you have into categories and make folders accordingly to segregate better.
3. Make Prioritization a Priority
“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”- Stephen R. Covey
Another factoid to take care of while sharpening your project management skills is to prioritize. Prioritization can be done when we establish two factors:
The thing about setting priorities keeping these two parameters in mind is that your team will never be stressed out about work or time management This is because you will be making sure that the tasks they are doing are the ones that have the most calling right then.
Here’s what you can do to prioritize work better:
- Set deadlines that are flexible and reasonable.
- Discuss with your team and set up an importance/priority scale for every type of task.
- Encourage your team to finish up their recurring tasks before any other.
- Educate your team about the benefits of this system and how they can effectively meet said deadlines.
4. Build A Workflow
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”- Zig Ziglar
Workflow management has always confused managers. Why set a workflow when you have tasks for the week and their respective deadlines?
First, you need to know what a workflow is — A workflow is a sequence of stages that a task is made to go through to reach the end result. Expecting your team to attempt tasks without an established workflow is like telling people to cross the finish line blindfolded.
A workflow is important because it essentially gives a direction to the task, makes the process easier, and leaves little room for error of confusion. It even makes communication more efficient between people at the office, making collaboration effortless.
Here’s how you set a workflow:
- Collect information about the tasks that require a similar process of work.
For example, a content marketing team would have tasks such as Email marketing, articles, guest posts, and blog posts which would individually have similar workflows.
- Identify the best, most functional, most efficient way you would go about doing those tasks, of course with the help of people from all departments.
- Test out the workflow with your team to see if it yields the results when and how you expected them to.
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5. Adopt Time Management Habits
“Start from wherever you are and with whatever you’ve got.”– Jim Rohm
Managing projects comes down to saving time and getting the most out of what your team has to offer. This is why time management is the most substantial step towards improving your project management skills.
There are a few easy steps to manage time efficiently and save more while you’re at it:
- Setting time limits.
- Limiting distractions.
- Following deadlines.
- Putting forward established goals.
6. Simplify Evaluation and Reporting
“When you need to innovate, you need collaboration.”- Marissa Mayer
It is a known fact that a lot of time and energy is wasted on reviewing and then following up on those suggestions, and before you know it it’s review time again. It seems that the problems with this tangled process can be narrowed down with these two questions:
How to deal with the back and forth of reviewing?
- Invest in software platforms that can help with constant communication.
- These should be tools that can help you with sending files of any platform and size.
- Also, choose a tool that allows both personal and group conversations.
- Another thing is to invest in a tool that allows you to give a better, more elaborate review that is actually helpful.
And, this brings us to:
How to give reviews that are actually constructive?
- It is better to present reviews in a way that they actually help the other person improve.
- For this to be perfect you can use proofing tools that help you point out the problems with ease.
- Proofing tools that come with project management software platforms can help you save review and document the comments so that communication becomes clearer.
7. Create a Guide For Your Work Processes
“There is no magic wand that can resolve our problems. The solution rests with our work and discipline.”– Jose Eduardo dos Santos
Things like workflows, deadlines, and steps to improve time management will not have a lasting effect if you don’t set guidelines about following all of it. A set of guidelines is a written document, and potentially, an answer to everything.
How can this help you? A written guide that explains the workflow and your attempts to organize data can help your team turn this whole process into a legacy. Distributing these set of guidelines personalized for every department, prepared and then distributed can have the following effects:
- It can reduce the need for communication.
- It lowers the chances of confusion.
- It becomes easier to bring new people readily onboard.
- The chances of errors are less.
- Organizing at the individual level will become easier for your team.
- Being in the loop for your team will become easier.
8. Keep Meetings To A Minimum
If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.’
Meetings are bad? I’d never heard that before!
- Meetings can be completely botched when you go unprepared or your team comes in with no clue on what is going to happen.
- A meeting with no real direction or an agenda is a collective waste of time for the team.
- With no real way to document progress, channeling the creativity of the team and gathering ideas is not easy.
- Meetings are often poorly timed and don’t work on the parameter of priority.
- After a while having meetings becomes a habit and it becomes almost too frequent.
But meetings are a necessary evil that you cannot avoid. However, you can make sure that they become less time wasting, and more meaningful. Here’s how
- Have scheduled weekly meetings by giving out information about the meeting and why it’s being called.
- Have a way of recording and tracking your team’s progress to actually have to judge the work and make comments.
- Conduct individual feedback sessions instead because you get to have a two-way meeting with your employee and discuss ideas while giving them the tools to improve.
- Just announce stuff when you want to pass on information rather than calling a whole meeting to say just one thing.
- Give people a chance to indulge in team discussions virtually so that people feel freer to express themselves.
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9. Curb Micromanagement
“Winning is something, but participation is everything.”- Debasish Mridha
Make Management easier by including your team in the planning, and strategizing process. Trust their capabilities with the assigned work. You can make the workplace twice as efficient as it is right now by sharing the required information and delegating effectively.
Trust of the manager and loyalty of the team goes hand in hand. Not to mention that trusting employees for their work can turn them into a more accountable workforce. Therefore learn to equally and impartially distribute responsibilities and channel their insights into the decision making process.
10. Attention To Detail
“What’s measured improves”- Peter F. Drucker
Finally, an important parameter to consider to set a system for project management is to provide details. Work will move forward a lot easier if everyone knew the specs of the project. So, being as detailed as you possibly can while giving out information is absolutely important.
With a tool for automating project management you can have a chance to be as articulate as you want with the information you give out with each task. This will help them understand the assignee’s view of the end product and everything that is expected of the person assigned.
Needless to say, setting a system for managing projects can save you a lot of time and energy. And I assure you that when your office is sans confusion and delay, you can finally drop the “busy” from “busy manager”. So go ahead and renew your management system with these steps.
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Follow: Vartika Kashyap to read all the articles
- How to manage your projects with ProofHub
- 6 Steps Every Team Should Follow — A Project Management Guide for 2020
- Mind Mapping for Effective Project Management
What Can Busy Managers Do To Improve Project Management? was originally published in ProofHub Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.