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The nature of entrepreneurship involves many moving pieces. Without an organized system in place for managing your company, it’s easy for it to go off the rails. Luckily, there are project management best practices you can employ to improve your chances of success.
Here are a few project management essentials that will help you keep your projects on track:
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Begin every project with a kickoff meeting
Get any new project started on the right foot with a kickoff meeting. This is the time to clearly define the project’s purpose, the scope, the roles and responsibilities and the expected outcome. Everyone in attendance should be aware of the elements of the project and understand his or her role(s).
Plan for risks
Be prepared to handle any issues that arise by having a plan in place ahead of time. Identify potential problems and figure out how you’ll solve them if they occur. Also, identify who will be responsible and clearly outline what his or her roles will be. Addressing possible issues ahead of time helps minimize the impact before they arise.
Consolidate project-related information
If you’re like most startups, you are juggling multiple projects at any given time. Make it easier for everyone on your team by having a central repository where team members can access project-related information.
Be sure you have project documentation like the scope and schedule readily available for team members to refer to during the course of the project.
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and forget to document things that you may later regret not having on hand. Prevent this by having a process for documentation and a central place to store information. A project management system like Basecamp, Airtable or Asana is helpful for this purpose.
Successful communication involves both knowing what to say and when to say it. Have a plan for regular communication with clients so they feel confident with progress and are aware of any issues that arise.
Let them know who from your team is working on a given project and how much of their time is dedicated to the work. Also, let them know key dates and deliverables, and keep them updated if and when things change. Continue to communicate throughout the scope of the project to set expectations appropriately.
Secure team input
Foster an environment that encourages two-way communication both internally and externally with your team. Check in frequently, and make sure everyone understands the impact of their contributions. Make sure everyone on your team feels comfortable raising any issues or concerns so problems can be addressed proactively.
Operate with transparency
Transparency in your communications means your team, clients, investors, etc. will not only understand what is going on but why. They’ll also understand the impact of your decisions and any changes.
Transparency with information like resource allocation and the cost of a project helps your team align with timelines and the budget with their work, and it’s essential to the execution of successful projects.
Don’t forget quality
Poor quality can be the difference between success or failure — not only in the final output, but also throughout the development process. While it can be tempting to rush to meet deadlines, be sure to balance quality with efficiency.
Missing important details because you rushed to get to the finish line will result in delays later on and may compromise the integrity of the finished product. Make sure quality standards are always considered.
Following project management best practices to increase success
By incorporating these project management essentials, you can improve your chances of a project’s success. You’ll improve morale, foster a dedicated team environment and provide for satisfied and engaged clients.
When you employ these project management best practices, the results benefit your startup in many ways beyond just a quality finished product.