Project Management: Getting Started and More
by gardenpatch Insights on Dec 5, 2022 4:46:32 AM
"Just keep moving forward."
I used to tell myself this as I would see my team drowning in a messy project management system.
I kept thinking.
"What can I do to make this more simple."
We began to joke as a team and name the different versions of our attempt at making things more results driven for everyone.
It was a nightmare, to be honest.
I kept seeing ads for Monday.com (we don't use Monday) where they give you that ultimate satisfaction:
"This is an ad for a project management tool called Monday."
"This is what it feels like to use Monday."
I would hate seeing this ad.
I kept thinking, is it the platform?
Do I need to leave this tool that I am using and go to a tool that does relatively the same thing?
We were using Asana at the time, and now I am happy to share we've found a winning solution for our team with Hubspot.
We do our best to keep everything under one roof.
Now, this isn't a blog about the tools we use, or what our experience has been as we've explored nearly every option available.
No one said you had to have all the answers when starting a start-up.
This is a blog about how to start with good project management frameworks for yourself, your team, or your business.
What Is Project Management?
Project management is an essential part of your people strategy. It is the process of planning, organizing, and overseeing the work of a team in order to achieve specific goals and objectives. It involves a range of activities, such as:
- Defining project scope
- Creating a project schedule
- Allocating resources
- Managing budgets
- Tracking progress
Effective project management can help businesses to complete their projects on time, within budget, and to the desired quality standards. By understanding the principles of project management and using the right tools and techniques, businesses can improve the chances of success for their projects and ultimately drive better results for their organization.
Project management is about making sure that everyone involved in a project understands their tasks, how to complete them, and when they need to be finished. It involves coordinating the efforts of the project team and ensuring that everyone is working towards the same goals and objectives. By providing clear direction and communication, project managers can help to ensure that projects are completed successfully and on time.
How Project Management Has Evolved
The field of project management has evolved significantly over time, reflecting the changing needs and dynamics of today's business landscape. Here are some key differences between traditional project management and project management today:
- Approach: Traditional project management often followed a sequential and linear approach, where each phase was completed before moving to the next. In contrast, project management today embraces more flexible and iterative methodologies, such as Agile and Scrum, that prioritize adaptability, collaboration, and continuous improvement.
- Scope Management: Traditional project management typically emphasized strict adherence to a predefined scope, with minimal room for changes or adjustments once the project started. Modern project management recognizes the importance of addressing evolving requirements and actively manages scope through techniques like backlog prioritization, user stories, and frequent feedback loops.
- Communication and Collaboration: Traditional project management relied heavily on hierarchical communication channels and formal documentation. Project management today promotes open and transparent communication, encourages collaboration across teams and stakeholders, and leverages collaborative tools and platforms to facilitate real-time collaboration and knowledge sharing.
- Risk Management: Traditional project management primarily focused on risk mitigation through extensive planning and risk analysis upfront. Project management today acknowledges the need for proactive risk management while also embracing the concept of embracing uncertainty and adaptability. Risk management techniques, such as risk mitigation strategies, continuous risk monitoring, and contingency planning, are now integrated throughout the project lifecycle.
- Stakeholder Engagement: While stakeholder involvement was recognized in traditional project management, project management today emphasizes active stakeholder engagement throughout the project. Stakeholder feedback, involvement in decision-making processes, and regular communication are essential for ensuring project success and managing expectations effectively.
- Embracing Technology: Modern project management embraces technological advancements and leverages digital tools to streamline project execution, collaboration, and reporting. Project management software, cloud-based platforms, and automation tools are commonly used today to enhance efficiency, productivity, and project visibility.
- Focus on Value: Project management today places a strong emphasis on delivering value to the customer or end-user. It aligns project goals with the organization's strategic objectives, emphasizes customer satisfaction, and measures success based on the value created, such as ROI, customer experience, or business impact.
- Continuous Learning and Improvement: Project management today encourages a culture of continuous learning, reflection, and improvement. Lessons learned from previous projects are captured, shared, and applied to future endeavors, enabling teams to iterate and enhance their project management practices.
These differences highlight how project management has evolved to meet the demands of modern business environments, enabling organizations to be more adaptable, collaborative, customer-focused, and value-driven in their project execution.
The Key to Successful Projects: Planning, Execution, and Management
Successful projects are not the result of luck or chance. They are carefully planned and executed, with clear goals, strategies, and objectives.
To ensure the success of your projects, it is important to take a systematic and organized approach to project management. At gardenpatch, we found that using a project management system helped us to deliver hundreds of projects for our clients, using a results-driven approach.
One key element of successful project management is to clearly define your objectives and desired outcomes. By taking the time to understand the goals of your project, you can establish clear roles and responsibilities for your team, and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals.
It's important to establish clear milestones and be adaptable and flexible in dealing with ambiguity that arises during projects. In our team, we celebrate the small wins along the way, taking time to recognize the hard work and efforts of our talented team members.
Regardless of the platform that you find that works best for you, here are the 5 steps that I believe every company, team, and an individual should consider when wanting to plan an effective project management strategy and execute on complex projects with ease:
1. Define your objective and the necessary steps to accomplish the desired outcome.
Defining your objective and the necessary steps to achieve it is a crucial step in successful project management. Failing to take the time to do this can lead to false starts and ultimately, project failure.
To avoid this, it is important to establish systems and checkpoints that help you ensure that every project is carefully planned and executed.
At gardenpatch, we take brainstorming and feedback very seriously, and have developed deliberate processes to help us define our objectives and plan for success.
I recommend that you find a system that works for you and your team, and use it to create a clear outline of the tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve your desired outcome. This may involve prioritizing tasks and creating a schedule for completing them.
Remember, as the old saying goes, "failure to plan is planning to fail." By taking the time to carefully plan your projects, you can increase the chances of success and avoid making costly mistakes.
2. Get rid of unnecessary hurdles and clutter
If you're anything like me, you may overcomplicate things unintentionally.
You may not realize it, but there is incredible power in "simplicity."
Simplicity is key in successful project management. Once you have defined your plan, take a step back and look at it with fresh eyes. Consider if there are ways to simplify your approach and make your project more efficient.
Here are some tips for simplifying your project management:
Keep things simple: One of the biggest lessons in project management (and in business in general) is to keep things simple. Avoid overcomplicating your approach and focus on the essentials.
Use outside experts: Having a team of experts from an outside agency can provide valuable insight into your project. They can offer a fresh perspective and help you uncover any potential issues or areas for improvement.
Trust your team: In order for outside experts to be effective, you must trust them to share your vision for growth. By working together, you can develop a more streamlined and effective approach to your project.
By simplifying your project management, you can improve efficiency, reduce the risk of errors, and ultimately achieve better results.
3. Take action, dig deep, and focus
I don't love the saying: "Things take time."
I prefer to think that things take a lot of action, effort, and intention. Simply put, "You gotta sweat."
Once your project plan has been defined and everyone on your team knows their roles and responsibilities, it is time to take action. In order to be successful, you need to set aside the necessary time and focus on completing your tasks. This may involve finding a workspace or environment that helps you focus, such as a quiet room or playing instrumental music.
It is also important to take radical responsibility for your actions and avoid blaming time for everything. Instead, focus on taking the necessary steps to achieve your desired outcomes. This may involve setting clear goals and holding yourself and your team accountable for meeting them.
Some key elements to successful project management include:
Taking action: Once the project plan has been defined, it's time to start executing on the plan and completing the tasks at hand.
Focusing on your work: In order to be successful, it's important to know what helps you focus and set aside the necessary time to get things done.
Taking responsibility: Avoid blaming time for everything and instead focus on taking action and being accountable for the results you want to achieve.
Project management success requires clearly outlining a plan of action and prioritizing focus and accountability. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your projects are completed on time and to the desired quality standards.
4. Feedback, feedback, feedback
Have you ever worked with a team that is not in alignment with your goals?
Have you ever worked with a team that felt like magic was happening?
I know we've all been on both sides of the spectrum.
What makes the difference?
Making feedback a priority is key to effective project management. Multiple perspectives are often better than one.
By inviting feedback from everyone involved in the project, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal. Feedback can help clarify defined plans, align expectations, and identify areas for improvement.
Here are some tips for incorporating feedback into your project management process:
Invite feedback from all stakeholders: This includes not only your team members, but also associates, support personnel, customers, and the community.
Encourage open communication: Create an environment where people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and suggestions.
Listen and act on feedback: Take the time to listen to feedback and consider how you can incorporate it into your project plan.
Feedback is often misunderstood as a negative thing. However, it can be a valuable tool for growth and improvement. When given with the intention of helping a project succeed, feedback can provide valuable insights and help align expectations.
Depending on the situation, you may be lucky enough to get feedback from both internal team members and external stakeholders, such as customers and the community.
5. Deliver Remarkable Work.
I love that popular cooking show, "Chef's Table" on Netflix.
It beautifully illustrates the craftsmanship and dedication to excellence that chefs have toward their food. As I watch the beautiful food display on the screen, I can almost taste the sensory explosions in my mouth. It's remarkable.
If you are working with B2B or B2C clients, it's important to ask yourself how you can deliver exceptional work that will make a lasting impression. What can you do to make them say "WOW" when they see the outcome of your work?
"Be unforgettable." - Oprah.
Remarkable people are unforgettable.
After you've put in an incredible amount of effort in planning and executing a project, it's important that you take the time to understand how you will deliver your remarkable work.
Delivering remarkable work to your clients has several benefits:
- Build trust and foster a positive working relationship with your customers. This can lead to repeat business and customer loyalty.
- It sets you apart from your competitors and can help you gain a competitive advantage. This can be particularly important in crowded or highly competitive markets, where standing out from the competition can be challenging.
- High-quality work increases customer satisfaction and leads to positive word-of-mouth recommendations, which can help attract new customers.
- Delivering remarkable work can also boost team morale and motivation, leading to improved team performance and productivity.
- It can help to improve your reputation and increase your credibility in your industry. This can lead to increased opportunities for collaboration and partnerships with other companies, as well as the potential for higher-paying clients and projects.
- Increase customer retention and reduce churn. Satisfied customers are more likely to continue doing business with you in the future. This can help to ensure long-term business stability and growth.
When choosing a project management tool, it's important to consider your goals and objectives. The right tool can help you maximize your output and achieve your desired outcome. However, it's not just about the tool itself, but how you use it to streamline your workflow and set yourself apart from the competition. Take the time to understand your motivations and focus on executing with precision and mastery to truly succeed.
Be proactive in communication. Keep your customer informed about the progress of the project and be open to feedback and suggestions. This will help build trust and foster a positive working relationship.
Prioritize quality. Don't rush to complete the project just to meet deadlines. Take the time to ensure that your work is top-notch and meets the highest standards of excellence.
Celebrate your success. After completing a project, take the time to reflect on your achievements and share them with your team and customer. This will help motivate and inspire everyone involved.
Continuously improve. Use feedback and data to understand what worked well and what can be improved in future projects. This will help you continually improve and deliver even better results in the future.
How to Grow Your Business with Project Management
Many businesses struggle with where to begin in their growth journey. They usually turn to project management tools to help them identify and fill gaps in their processes. However, they often overlook key factors that hinder their growth.
At gardenpatch, we specialize in helping businesses align their sales, marketing, and service strategies to achieve sustainable growth. Our expertise and proven strategies can help your business reach its full potential. Don't let missed opportunities hold you back any longer.
Are you ready to take the next step and improve your project management skills? Schedule a call to learn more about how we can help you grow. Talk to one of our growth experts at gardenpatch, today!