A guide to developing a new project

333

Being in charge of a new project is exciting, and may be a little scary too if you’re new to project management, or it’s a particularly significant venture. Hopefully, you won’t have been dropped in at the deep end without receiving any training in how to manage a project, but even if you know what you’re doing, it’s always good to take five and check on your project management plan.

Communications

Communication is critical in successful project management, at every stage. For example, if you don’t get across the purpose and strategy of your plan to all the stakeholders at the beginning, you’ll find it hard to get support at a later date. They may assume they know when they don’t or misunderstand the project plan in some way. Communication within your team is also vital, so everyone knows what they’re expected to do, and by when.

Get your baselines in place

Baselines or performance measures are the way you keep track of how well the project is keeping to the plan, from budget to timings to results. Assessing the progress of the project gives you a good idea of how well things are coming along, and if there are any problems or potential difficulties, they can be identified and the project plan adjusted accordingly.

No project plan is set in stone, and there could be multiple reasons why you need to alter or update your plan. Measuring your performance against pre-set targets not only helps you keep the project on track, but gives stakeholders a clear indication of how the work is proceeding.

Test and test again

Testing is another crucial part of project management. If your project involves installing new equipment or redesigning a building, for example, then testing the functioning of the equipment or the safety of the building is essential. Testing applies to all aspects of your project, so if you’ve got new software systems you need to test all the functionality and if possible get all the users to test the software too, using a training platform until they’ve mastered the operations, then trying the live version.

You can also outsource testing services, for example, if your project involves creating a new website, or an app for your business, then a company that specialises in digital management and assessment like Digivante can provide thorough, objective testing of the site or the app. Ironing out any bugs early on will save you a great deal of time, expense and frustration in the long run.

If you’re being asked to manage a project and don’t have the experience or training, it’s not unreasonable to ask for the opportunity to attend a course on the subject. You don’t necessarily need an expensive external course, as there are some very reasonably priced online training courses available that could be highly beneficial for you.

Project management is exciting, and can be highly rewarding if the project turns out well. The flip side is that if it doesn’t go as well as you planned, it can be a considerable setback, so make sure you’re prepared and have the skills you need to successfully manage the project.