In my time with Spin A Web Designs, I have had to manage multiple projects at once. Some of them were small updates to websites, and some of them were large projects like complete website redesigns. I already considered myself a fairly organized person, but I quickly learned that project management was about more than to-do lists.
Here are some essential facets to project management that you’re going to want to learn if you want your projects to go off without a hitch.
Whether it is an in-person meeting, a phone call, or an email, make a note of it. Don’t rely on your memory to try and recall important details at a later date. Have a central location that you can put all your notes together. If your company doesn’t have a process in place, figure out what works for you!
As a project manager, you’re the keeper of all sorts of information that others will expect you to be able to access. Keeping this information organized and accessible will be crucial to your job and keep you more efficient.
It’s not very often that everyone involved in the project can be in on the meetings or phone calls you are, so it is your job to keep them up to speed. Use your best judgment as to your communication with your team. Can you express this information in an email? Will it require further explanation and visuals?
I found that I had to streamline my team into platforms to better keep track of where everyone was communicating. We chose to have chats through Slack, and we keep track of all tasks through Trello. However, you might find that your company has different needs and find that other programs are right for you.
Making sure that everyone understands your instructions and feedback is what will allow the project to move forward. If need be, take some time to make sure no one has any lingering questions.
Keeping both the client and your team in the know about timelines and end goals will keep everything on schedule. If something slows down a project, it is up to you to let them know so that there are no surprises. Likewise, if something about the plan changes, the rest of your team needs to know.
Checking in with your team regularly will help you see how things are progressing. This could be a quick email, a weekly meeting, or a phone call when problems arise. No matter how you do it, you have to remember that you are the gatekeeper to a lot of information that needs to be shared in a timely fashion.
At Spin A Web Designs, we have a process that we go through when creating new websites. We keep a list of everything that needs to happen at the first stage before we can move on to the next step. If you have processes in place, use a template or a pre-made checklist. No matter how you do it, streamline your work to make it easier for you and others involved so that you do not have to recreate the wheel every time you take on a new project.
Managing time could sometimes also mean writing up notes and sharing them with the team instead of holding meetings. In cases like this, you have to use your best judgment. How is the time best spent? If you think explaining things in person would be the best way to go, remember to keep the meetings brief and on-task.
It’s all too often that you send out a message or an email, and it doesn’t get a response. As a project manager, it is your job to follow up and remind people about the loose threads. It is really easy to drop the ball or miss a deadline simply because there was a breakdown in communication, or you didn’t follow up on a task.
Keeping calendars and reminders of due dates or milestones will help you prioritize tasks and remind you to delegate tasks to those who have the best skill set for the job at hand. In the unfortunate instance that you can’t make a deadline, you will want to identify the cause. Often, you can learn from it and better your workflow for the next deadline.
Project management is a multi-faceted role that requires an eye for detail and effective time management. What tools do you find keep you on track?