Five areas that must be watched on your project

PROJECT management can be a complex discipline. There are many aspects of project management that need to be managed – time, cost, scope, risk, quality and more. Here are five areas that must be watched if your project is to be successful.

Tip 1: Watch how you spend your time
If you want to deliver your project on-time, you need to have a good understanding of what you and your team spend their time doing. The schedule helps, but you and your team also need good time management skills. Make sure that the time you spend on project work is as efficiently utilized as possible. For example, good time management could mean keeping track of where you are spending your time, having a list of work that you need to complete each day and keeping your work space organized. As a project manager, you can account for your time, plus you can provide training and coaching so the rest of your team can also get the most out of each day.

Tip 2: Watch the work completed and the work remaining
This is a weak spot for many project managers – especially in understanding the work remaining to complete the project. In many cases, work is completed each week, but the list of remaining work also seems to also grow each week. It is true that it is hard to foresee every aspect of work remaining. But be smart about analyzing the remaining work so that you quickly understand it. Don’t be lazy or haphazard. This just gives you a false sense of progress.

Tip 3: Watch your spending versus your budget
You need to monitor the current cost of the project vs. the budgeted cost. As a part of watching you need to:
Watch for one-off and one-time expenses. They add up!
Be aware of the cost of resources versus the estimated costs.
Monitor the spend rate and compare to the estimated spend rate.
Depending on your financial systems this could be a monthly, weekly or even real time monitoring.

Tip 4: Watch team morale and team dynamics
Projects can be stressful. Your team has too much work to do and limited time in which to do it. So given that your team may be under stress, you need to monitor their motivation levels. Every week, hold a team meeting and while communicating the status of the project, find out where their motivation levels are at? Are they happy and fired up, or de-motivated and losing interest? Also make sure the team is getting along with each other and the customer.

Tip 5: Watch for project changes
Even if you do a great job estimating and planning, projects tend to change over time. These are not just scope change requests, but also changes to staff, customers, vendors, objectives, priorities and more. When changes hit your project, analyze them quickly to understand the impact, decide how you need to respond and communicate the impact to the appropriate stakeholders. There are lots of things to watch on a project. The tips above cover five of the most important areas. Abiodun Fawumi is the Publisher of Ekocity Magazine.

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