6 Steps to Successful Project Management

Every project has its own complexities. Projects require the planner to put thought into the assumptions and conditions governing it. To help with the process, we provide some basic best practices that can help ensure a project’s success.

1) Scope

Be sure that everyone has agreed upon a detailed project plan before work begins. Stakeholders should be involved in order to make sure all elements are included. This is essentially the pull-planning phase.

In short, planners must create a detailed schedule, budget, and build milestones along the way. The schedule must include deliverable dates, and the budget should be based on quantities taken from data in each work package.

Defining the scope also means making sure that everyone has clearly defined expectations for how the project will be structured. This includes building frequent check-ins so that progress can be managed and assessed. A word of advice: keep these check-ins short and to the point.

2) Team size

What is the perfect team size for your project? The honest answer is: it depends. It’s important to make sure you have the right expertise, but also to make sure the team isn’t too big to manage. Some of the factors that apply here are based on need, and the answer may be different depending on the work package.

If your team is mostly working independently, then a larger team can be beneficial. It reduces conflict and enables them to break down further into smaller teams to accomplish tasks.

If the team is working closely on a complex task, then a smaller team is better in order to create a sense of unity as well as allowing the expertise of individuals to function unhindered.

3) Allow for creative problem solving

“It is a bad plan that admits of no modification.” Publilius Syrus

Despite best laid plans, things always change. Whether it’s change requests or more immediate modifications, it’s good to have a clear protocol for handling adjustments. This protocol should identify problems and the effects it could have on stakeholders. Ultimately, just as planning is collaborative, solving problems needs to be collaborative as well.

Time is of the essence since problems could potentially get worse the longer they wait. Initiate constructive problem solving by asking the basic questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Brainstorm a strategy and create an environment free of blame. Using creative problem solving techniques could help reorient the project with minimal stress.

4) Software that is helpful, not hurtful

A project management system can help organize tasks, but may also implement limitations if it doesn’t take your process into account. A software system that integrates lean construction methodology at its foundation is going to be a better guide than one that is more generalized. Be sure to choose a system, like TLMS®, that is built with the construction industry in mind.

5) Team building and motivation

We mentioned in Scope (above) that identifying important milestones is essential when planning a schedule. Here’s why: it allows you to help build your team’s confidence at different points in the project. Team building is crucial to any project. Research has shown the benefits in productivity when having a team that works well together. We recommend team building early on.

6) Continuous improvement

Finally, it’s important to never stop improving your process. Something that can be helpful is building in time during each check-in to go over what went wrong and the things that went right. By acknowledging these things, people become conscious of ideas that were perhaps internalized during the hectic pace of a project.

Research suggests that honest criticism can enhance productivity. If everyone involved knows that critique is part of the process, then everyone will (eventually) get comfortable making mistakes, and improvements.  

Next steps

Our goal is to help leaders elevate their project management skills, and improve the productivity of the construction industry. These steps are an intro into some of the things you can do to help ensure a successful project. To learn about how Trestles Construction Solutions can help you to meet the requirements of successful construction project management, contact info@trestlescs.com