3 Key Components of Stellar Project Management

Keys to Project Management Success

As one of Go Media’s newest members, I am excited to share with you three important tips to rockstar Project Managing.

In another a life, I worked in the construction industry, and project managed a very custom product line.  My obstacles basically derived from the very nature of the product – simple change in one feature would impact other features, or limitations to the product, both in form and function. These changes would also impact the data I needed to collect from the client, the steps I needed to fulfill and resources required to get the project done. The list goes on.

Working at Go Media, a graphic design firm in Cleveland, has definitely changed some of the the nuances that I face – different deliverables, industry and customer base.  However, regardless of the specifics of the project type, the key components (such as structure and methodology) of project management remain the same.

Here are my Top 3 Key Components of Stellar Project Management:

1) Simplify. Too often we have entirely way too many gadgets, apps, and calendars.  Ask any good project manager out there and they’ll likely agree. So much time is wasted when you spend your time toggling between a plethora of devices, and/or programs.  What doesn’t create a super time suck for us just provides another loop hole of missed detail, or worst yet, deadlines.

Try condensing working documents, and simplify or limit devices and software tools wherever possible. This will help to eliminate wasted hours and will allow you to keep focus on what matters. This will help you to ultimately get the job done correctly, and on time.

2) Develop a process. A good process maintains your sanity when dealing with complex deliverables.  It should be flexible enough to accommodate specific nuances, but rigid enough that it builds a path to a successful end product.

A good process:

involves steps – when we make personal goals for ourselves, we often baby step the process without even realizing it, breaking it up to smaller goals. This applies when we power through our mornings to make it to work on time, make an incredible dinner, or create a killer art piece. How successful we are at accomplishing the smaller steps determines the success of the outcome. Project management is no different, and good process will be able to identify those smaller tasks that inevitably lead to the end of a successful project.

…is mindful – it acknowledges the small key components required in order to produce the best outcome. For example, this might be points of quality control or perhaps signals the need for further content/information gathering conversations. All of these are key to progressing to more significant steps in the process.

helps with time management – a good process keeps us on the correct path, and helps us recognize areas that are typical time sucks along the way.

…is consistently organized – a huge part in process development is creating consistency in the order of which you tackle the steps, and how you organize details of the project.  With consistency you eliminate extra effort to maintain file organization, contact information, shared documents, etc.

3) Don’t over promise, but do deliver in a timely fashion. Here is the number one obstacle we face – we always want to please our clients.  Sometimes requested dates are unattainable, or not possible based on current workload.  It is in your best interest and in the best interest of your company and your client to express any concerns before it becomes a problem.

So what defines in “timely fashion?”  There are three main factors:

  1. Industry standards. What is the rest of the industry doing? What promises are your competitors making? Or, what was your clients’ previous experience?
  2. What ‘we’ told them.  What promises did you or your sales team make? What expectations have we built for them?
  1. Personal objectives. The deliverable is important to accomplishing their personal or business goals/needs.  Therefore, in a “timely fashion,” ultimately is defined by your client’s needs.

It is in the client’s best interest to push us for the best timeline. However, they have confidence that what we say will happen, and what we deliver is what they want, at the quality level they expect.  Breaking of these unsaid promises means losing the trust, and ultimately any future business with the client, so be confident to push back when necessary.  However, honesty is still always the best policy.

So there you have it, now you are ready to project manage with the best!  Dont forget to stay tuned to Go Media’s ‘Zine for similar topics, and other articles for creative, and educational inspiration!