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Seven Steps to Profitable Project Management,
Many Projects at a Time — Part One

By Tom Dormo, GrandView Business Solutions

1) Define scope, deadlines and goals before you unleash your team

Leaders should clearly define each project before bringing in the full team. If you are  unsure of the objectives, scope and deadlines, the effort will begin in confusion. Responsibilities and even resources can be worked out at the first meeting, but not without a firm grasp of what is to be achieved, when and for how much.

Seven Steps to Projects Management Success PDF

Click on the image to download the Seven Steps to Profitable Project Management PDF

The internal kickoff meeting is an opportunity to energize and unite the team to work for a successful project outcome. It serves notice to all team members that the project has begun. Have an agenda that includes a clear exchange between sales and the project team. Communicate the project requirements.

Ensure everyone understands the work to be done and their part in the effort. Nodding heads do not mean message received! Ask each member to state their responsibilities in their own words before adjourning. No one should be guessing at what the client and management want!

2) Communicate, communicate and collaborate

Lack of communication derails even the most brilliant teams and shining projects. Ensuring key messages are received and understood as a matter of routine is the single most important factor in a project’s success.

There cannot be enough communication among team members and with the client. You must talk, chat, discuss and exchange ideas.

Communication should not just float off into space or rely on individual recollection. Every organization can benefit from a tool that enables you to capture all material information. E-mail is unreliable, particularly when unacknowledged or lost in the spam. Investigate a projects library and collaboration system.

A systematic approach to communication can be a boost to individuals or groups  reluctant to interact, like engineers and software programmers. An automated, accessible and mandated communication and collaboration tool can be a wise investment!

3) Meet deadlines even if you must reduce scope

“Time is becoming the new corporate metric,” says management consultant Peter Drucker. In an ideal world, you’d completely finish every project on time. When forced to choose, the best bet is usually to get something demonstratably done by deadline.

Today, time is as important as cost and quality. Time to market is critical. Time to respond to a client request is critical. Time to incorporate change is critical. And time to install a finished system is critical.

In addition, work expands to fill the time available for completion. When under a tight schedule, which you should be, keep in mind that clients remember meeting schedule commitment, NOT reduced scope.

Communication matters here too. Involve the entire team in establishing and maintaining schedules. Keep your milestones to ones that matter. It is  better to have a few you meet than many milestones you don’t!

4) Run every project the same way

When it comes to projects, consistency is quality. It builds efficiencies, reduces costs and improves quality.

Consistency is the most cost-effective, least capital-intensive route to profitability. Have a common methodology you follow for every project, regardless of the project content. Invest in technology that supports standards and your methodology, as this will reduce ongoing costs.

With or without a project application system, your project methodology should include:

  • A known location for communication, updates, documents and changes.

  • An acknowledgment system for important communications like change orders.

Seven Steps to Profitable Projects Management: Part Two