Experience is key to conduct a project. Yet, if there was something to improve, where would you start?
🎲 In my experience, communication is the key element. Listening, understanding problems, explaining solutions and, above all, generating buy-in from all stakeholders involved. Open communication within the project team is central, since only when everyone feels heard and has the necessary information then the project team can really rise above itself. Regular communication with stakeholders is equally important to gain understanding and support for the project.
🎲 Leadership Skills: The project leader is most importantly responsible for leading the project. This includes motivating the individual team members as well as building and maintaining team cohesion. The project leader does not have to be the chief expert and documentation specialist but must ensure that the experts in the team can contribute with their expertise and work self-reliantly. Roles and responsibilities in the team should be clearly agreed.
🎲 Project Charter & Documentation: it is important to understand the scope and objectives of the project before it starts, and especially to agree on these with the sponsor and stakeholders. It helps considerably during the project if these agreements are captured in a document. This can be adapted during the project as needed - if circumstances change - but beware of scope creep. Project progress and decisions should always be well documented, on the one hand to make the project comprehensible and transparent, and on the other hand to be able to inform the organization comprehensibly and with a clear message.
🎲 Meeting culture: Meetings focus on progress reporting (based on a common plan), issue resolution and assessing the value of options, be as brief as required, and the results of the meeting should be well documented. The project manager has an important role during the meeting by providing the common thread, making sure everyone is included, and spurring the creative process.
🎲 People: never forget that projects and the changes they trigger are always about people. It is important to regularly inform all involved parties about the progress of the project, to take the concerns raised seriously and to motivate everyone for the outcomes of the project. Tools such as a risk management, a change management plan and a communication plan will support this, yet there is no substitute for the human element. And most importantly, the successes should be celebrated together.
Each project remains challenging, but we can strive to make project management a little better every day as we gain experience.
What are the most critical areas in project management that you would like to improve?