Illustration by Ivan Haidutski from Ouch!
Every project today comes with its own set of challenges - tight timelines, too many bottlenecks, limited budget, etc.
However, unlike other fields wherein you can learn through experimentation and get great results in the end, experimenting in Project Management will get you nowhere.
Project Management is no cakewalk and comes with a lot of responsibilities that are taken up by the project manager.Being a project manager, you have to get each and every step right to make it to your goal.
At a time when the world is moving to a virtual space, global virtual projects are becoming extremely common and are shaping the new reality of project management, but these too have their own share of challenges for project managers.
Well, Virtual or offline?
It does not matter as all projects require you to follow certain principles that can help you along the journey.
Worry no more because this article will guide you through all the stages in your journey.
So without further ado, we will help you get familiar with the 10 Key project management principles that you need to know before you commence!
What is Project Management
Project Management is a complex activity and requires you to break down the Project Management stages in the process.
While you are at it, your life can be made simpler with the help of certain principles that you should be taking care of, to achieve your project goals.
There are no clear cut principles that will give you 100% results but there are surely certain principles that would help you speed up and give you a better outcome in the process.
Some of the principles are as follows:
1 – The Initiation Principle - Get Your Mindset Right!
Before you begin, you need to be well versed about the importance that the project holds.
So before you embark on your journey, know that it is worth putting in that effort. If you feel unready to start your project, it is not too late to opt out. However, if you feel prepared, you must set your priorities at this stage and devote yourself to the next stage.
2 – The Planning Principle - What’s your Skill Set?
Projects tend to fail if they are not led boldly. Chalk out a detailed project plan to meet the goals of the business. It is the phase to identify your destination and the work on a road map that leads you there. While you do so, there is another thing you need to work upon - assessing yourself.
This is the stage wherein you assess yourself to see the project manager skill set you possess. Since you're a beginner in the journey too, see how much of the work needs to be delegated and requires hiring external support.
3 – The Structure and the Timeline Principle
Having a proper structure keeps you on the track and keeps you focused. This principle suggests you lay out a well-detailed working structure for your team. This would resolve each player’s confusion and would pave the way for an efficient system in place.
It would also keep the stakeholders of your project satisfied and updated about the progress.
You need to ensure that there is a proper structure for all the stages in the project management framework - initiation, planning, execution, controlling and closure.
While you are at it, you need to take care of the following:
- Detailing and defining each and every step in the process
- Assigning employees for the work
- Laying out the timelines for work completion, etc.
4 – The Stakeholder First Principle
You must understand that you have stakeholders that you are liable to answer. It is your duty to ensure that your stakeholders are content with your work.
Since they are the financiers of your project, you will have to fulfill their demands more often than you would like to.
Their outlooks should be taken into consideration at different stages and should be catered to as well.
5 – The Monitoring and Control Principle
This principle keeps your monitoring in check.
At each point, the project manager compares the project’s time, expenses, and results and makes appropriate changes to the project activities, resources, and schedule to keep tasks on track.
Project progress reports and other communications are taken into account during this process to ensure that project plans are followed and that greater goals and deadlines are not missed.
For better efficiency, this is something that you can not overlook.
6 – The Acknowledge, Reward, and Guide Principle
Just like the Monitoring and Control principle, this principle is extremely important. This principle is often overlooked by managers and therefore disrupts the working cycle of the project.
When a team participant completes a mission, it is extremely important as a project manager to acknowledge the team player’s contribution and thereby give them a reward. It may be a small thing such as basic praise or a job upgrade; but regardless, it's important.
Similarly, if there are failures in the system due to some mistakes of an employee, make sure to be their guiding source during the journey and get them back on track.
This maintains the decorum of the project cycle and motivates and guides all the players working to achieve the project goals.
7 – The factor in the Risks Wisely Principle
While risks are factored with rewards - Don’t get too carried away. Taking risks in a project is essential but you should be very careful.
As a beginner, this can either make or break your future chances at getting more projects to manage.
Therefore, it is your responsibility to not dive into risks blindly. You should look out for the hidden bottlenecks and the outcomes of taking risks, deduce your best possibilities, and only then make a decision.
8 – The Communicate Clearly Principle
Communication is the pillar for effective collaboration. Clear communication is the key to maintaining a positive energy throughout the organization.
As a project manager, you must remember to give clear orders, make announcements, respond to questions, and simply communicate with your coworkers.
Once you learn to master this art, there is no stepping back for you.
9 – The Judgement Principle
This principle is important while reviewing all the tasks performed. It tells you to look back and look out for anything that you may have missed in the framework or may have done wrongly during the process.
It gives you an opportunity to fix the things you may have missed or done wrongly.
10 – The Closure Principle
This principle tells you to take everything into consideration during the closeout phase of the project management life cycle.
It is when you finalize the project, evaluate and compile the key deliverables of the project and finally hand it over to the leaders.
This principle lays emphasis on introspection. The closure phase is always marked with learnings and offers a time for celebration.
There are no definite number of project management principles. It could have been an endless list but these are some of the techniques or principles that can be applied globally irrespective of the culture, organization, or even geographic location.
These principles have been around for years, but the list given above consists of some of the most effective techniques to consider while taking on project management.
Understand and follow them - as it is the perfect starter guide for you to have a great chance at succeeding in the initial phase of your project management journey.
Guest post by Sara Williams, content writer at PeppyBiz, a platform that enables you to do project planning, scheduling, resource allocation, and change management through project management software.