Strong project management greatly improves the outcome of a project by helping teams meet delivery deadlines and work through issues as they arise. Teams often work in isolation for long periods of time before collaborating with other departments. This makes it hard to deliver projects on-point and on time.
If your team struggles to meet deadlines and deliver superior work, strengthening your project management strategy will help. However, before implementing a new strategy, it’s important to eliminate points of error in your team’s habits. A new strategy will help strengthen your team, but old habits die hard and bad habits can render even the best strategy ineffective.
To improve your project management and consistently get targeted results for your clients, these are the top 3 mistakes to avoid.
1. Not backing up project files in the cloud.
Without backups, if files are lost, corrupted, or hacked, your team will have to do their work over. Redoing work wastes time and money, but also frustrates employees and contractors.
While it’s a good idea to keep at least one offline backup on a hard drive for safe keeping, regularly backing up projects in the cloud is crucial to effective project management. When project files are stored in the cloud, everyone has access to the latest version of all files from anywhere with an internet connection. This helps contractors and remote workers access files as needed.
If you don’t have a backup solution for the cloud, consider using Box. Box has been around for a long time and is a popular file storage platform. Your Box account can also be used to securely back up project files in the cloud. Box makes project management easy with several key project planning tools like notes, task lists, progress tracking, and more.
If you don’t currently have a centralized location for securely storing files, you need cloud file storage.
2. Going too long without communication between departments.
Frequent inter-department communication is critical for a successful project. Regardless of your industry, each department will likely play a role in every project. For example, in software development, the designers, developers, programmers, and security teams all need to collaborate. Today’s software development teams use DevSecOps to incorporate security into development from day one. However, in other industries, security is often an afterthought.
Security isn’t the only aspect of a project that ends up being an afterthought. Sometimes web developers create an entire website design from scratch and fail to connect with the marketing department. By the time the website design is completed, the marketing team has to request big changes to the design to accommodate the proper placement of email signup forms and advertising space.
3. Setting deadlines based on client expectations.
Clients want projects completed yesterday. While some clients have patience, others don’t understand what’s involved in completing the work. If your company sets deadlines based on client expectations, you’re setting your teams up for failure. Effective project management requires setting deadlines based on how long it will take to complete the work. This process has been dubbed “backwards planning.”
Here’s an outline of a basic effective goal-setting strategy that can be applied to any industry:
- Outline the end goal of the entire project.
- Identify milestones that will be achieved along the way. For example, if you’re building a custom piece of software, each feature would be a milestone, as would completing the user interface, incorporating the graphic design work, and setting the typography.
- Break each milestone down into tasks required to complete the milestone. Each milestone might have anywhere between 3 and 100 identifiable tasks.
- Have each team member review their responsibilities and determine how long it will take to complete. The time required to complete each milestone shouldn’t be determined arbitrarily by management without communicating with each team member.
- Create a strategy for team members to communicate regularly whenever their work depends on someone else’s work.
Clients understandably want a quick turnaround time. However, if you want to deliver projects on time, in full, and according to the client’s specifications, you need to set realistic deadlines. It’s better to be realistic from the beginning than always be late with your delivery.
Prioritize project management for optimal results.
Never underestimate the power of strong project management to produce amazing outcomes. Coordinating tasks and deadlines between departments is essential for producing superior results for your clients. Best of all, meeting deadlines will make your clients trust you with future projects because they’ll know they can rely on you to get the job done.