Something crucial is missing from the PMBOK. Definitions, function charts, matrix charts, glossaries, bibliographies, and so on are all included in this basic document of our profession, but no basic rules or principles for successful projects are included.
Granted, project management is utilized in so many different situations that extracting universal principles is difficult. Nevertheless, we think it can be done and should be done.
In this article, we would like to provide you with some recommendations for project management principles or fundamental rules.
Project management may be stressful, especially if you’ve never done it before and haven’t had any training or instruction. Apart from the actual project management work, sorting out language, tools, and techniques may be frustrating. But how does one obtain the necessary information, skills, tools, and strategies to be an effective project manager?
To begin, what does a project imply to them? Not everything that takes place at your company is a project. According to PMI, a project is “a transitory activity intended to produce a distinctive product, service, or result”. By temporary, we imply that a project has a defined start and finish date.
The uniqueness of a project refers to the fact that all aspects of the project are intended to contribute to a specific goal that isn’t a regular component of the company’s operations.
Project management may thus be regarded as “the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and procedures to project operations in order to meet project requirements.” Furthermore, project management principles play a role as a broad guideline for how to run a business. They won’t have all the answers or be able to tell you exactly what to do, but they can point you in the right direction.
Learn more about What is project management.
12 basic project management principles to follow
The principles of project management that we’re discussing aren’t set in stone. You may need to adapt some of our recommendations to match your situation, but these basic PMP principles should get you started in the right way. There’s a lot to learn, far more than we can include into a single blog article, but if you follow these twelve guidelines, you’ll be well on your way.
1. Have a clear understanding of the project’s goals and objectives
For good reason, this principle is at the top of our list. The objectives you choose for your project will determine whether it succeeds or fails in the long run. You, your customer, and your team will all be on the same page if you define your project objectives before work begins, and future misunderstandings can be avoided.
Good objectives are realistic, clear, and measurable.
- Realistic: Can we achieve this objective in the time and resources we have available?
- Clear: Do we understand exactly what is being asked of us? Is everyone in agreement?
- Measurable: Are there any quantitative indications that we may use to evaluate each goal?
2. Make a list of your deliverables
A deliverable, according to the Project Management Institute, is referred to as “any unique and verifiable product, outcome, or capability to provide a service generated to finish a process, phase, or project.”
You may specify your project deliverables once the project’s goals and objectives have been determined. If the customer’s goal is for end-users to manage their own content, the deliverables could include content management software as well as training materials for staff and end-users on how to apply the newly developed software.
3. Promote the creation and maintenance of organizational alignment
There are two approaches to considering organizational alignment:
- A view from the perspective of an organization
- A view from the perspective of the employees.
The organization-focused view highlights the organization’s various key components cooperating and supporting one another. The goal, strategy, capabilities, structure, and systems of the company should all be in sync.
The employee-focused view encourages managers to analyze how well-matched an employee is in terms of individual position, professional objectives, team membership, and corporate vision and mission.
You may not have control over all of these factors as a project manager, but to the degree that you can create change, you should use these organizational alignment principles for a more effective project.
4. Have a clear understanding of your team’s roles and responsibilities
A lack of clarity about roles and responsibilities is one of the most common sources of misunderstanding and conflict on a team. Boundaries are crossed and needless disputes arise when members of the project team are unsure of their responsibilities or how those roles connect to those of others in the team.
It is your duty as a project manager to clearly define each team member’s function in order for everyone to work effectively together.
5. Create an initiation and execution strategy
All of the preliminary work that must be completed before any other project activities can begin should be included in project initiation. There are four types of preliminary work to consider:
- Developing a project’s business case
- Preparing project feasibility reports
- Involving project stakeholders
- Making a Project Initiation Document (PID).
When most people think of project management, what comes to mind is project execution. A project kickoff meeting is generally held to officially commence the project. This is when you explain the project’s goal and plan, assign tasks to team members, and send everyone out to get things done.
Ensure that a strategy is in place to document errors, corrections, and other improvements during the execution phase.
6. Get to know your numbers. budgeting and scheduling should be done with care
Any project as well as any project manager has limited resources. It nearly goes without saying that you should carefully estimate your financial resources, always provide margin for unforeseen charges, and adopt appropriate cost-saving measures during the duration of your project. Your project budget is intimately related to your project schedule; if your timeline is messed up, your project budget will most likely be messed up as well.
Make sure you’ve factored in things like holidays, corporate and stakeholder events, and team member vacations, in addition to how long each project job should take.
7. Determine priorities and set deadlines ahead of time
Priorities tell you what to concentrate on, while project milestones show you where you are in the process. When you’re working on a project, it’s easy to get distracted from the big stuff by minor details that are less important at the time. If a conflict arises, you’ll already know where to direct your team’s attention when you specify your task priorities from the start of your project. When you’re immersed in the minutiae of a project, it’s also easy to lose sight of the larger picture.
Identifying milestones throughout the project planning process can help you determine if you’re on track. It’s also excellent for morale to recognize milestone accomplishments. If there is a visible feeling of progress on the project, your team will be more motivated.
8. Create a system for accountability and responsibility
When it comes to motivating team members, one of the most effective methods is to instill a feeling of responsibility and accountability in them. Giving individuals responsibility for their own work relieves you of the burden of micromanagement and allows your employees to focus on their strengths while learning new project management skills, both of which are beneficial to your project and your organization in the long run, not to mention the employee.
Setting up a system of accountability is an important part of assigning individual responsibility to team members. You’ll need a system that allows you to monitor job delegation and project deadlines, as well as allow each team member to see their contribution in the context of the larger project.
9. Make a communication strategy
From the start of your project, you should explain and implement strong communication rules. Make sure everyone on the team knows why communication is important in project management and how to use the technology you’ve chosen, whether it’s email, text messaging, a chat service, or a mix of these.
You should also set clear expectations for the types of information that should be shared and who should be notified in specific situations. Be sure to model the type of communication you expect from all stakeholders as a project manager.
10. Be transparent and upfront
Transparency in project management refers to the creation of a system that allows all team members to readily and quickly access all essential project information. Transparency in projects is quite simple to create, especially if you use the proper project management software.
Allow everyone to see the broad picture, make project data available to your whole team, give effective communication tools, and share schedules with team members and even external stakeholders to develop or improve project transparency. Transparency in the project results in better outcomes for both the team and the project.
11. Make a risk analysis
A risk evaluation acknowledges the possibility of anything going wrong. It’s better to identify and reduce project management risks early on in the project rather than being caught off guard later. Talk with your coworkers about the risks they believe you should be aware of.
You won’t be able to eliminate all risks from your project, but being prepared for them can help you avoid failure.
12. Monitor and measure your progress
As part of your project planning, you’ll define essential project management KPIs in the form of the following:
- Project timelines
- Quality expectations.
Throughout the duration of your project, you should keep track of project progress and review your KPIs on a frequent basis to detect mistakes and make rapid corrections. When your KPIs show that the team has met a target, don’t forget to congratulate them.
Read more about Stakeholder Management
When it comes to project management, there’s a lot to learn, but these twelve project management principles are a great place to start. You’ll be well on your way to being a great project manager if you strive for clarity in all aspects of project management and put your team’s health first.
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