Project Management

7 Best Project Management Tips for Beginners

Reviews, communications, presentations, deadlines and project submissions are all part-and-parcel of a job. That is why it is important you know how to handle project management duties even if you are a fresher, barely out of college. Managing an entire project is a heavy-duty task that we all have to face at some point of time. Hence, we need to be prepared for the day wherein we actually have to do it. Around the web, you will find a lot of project management tips for beginners. However, several of them will be too long and complicated to understand. So, to help explain project management for beginners, we have put together a list of seven tips that will help you complete a project efficiently. Here’s a look at the 7 best project management tips for beginners to turn every project into a success.

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What is project management?

Project management is important to any organisation that wants to increase its productivity and efficiency. It is essentially a series of steps that managers have to take in order to complete a given project within a stipulated time period. It consists of various processes and techniques to get work done efficiently and effectively. Therefore, project managers have to break down the task at hand into simple, actionable parts. They then have to initiate the planning, organising and execution of the plan. All the major steps are broken down into simple actions that may be accomplished. So, let us start with the basics.

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What is Project?

A project any temporary endeavour undertaken by an organisation to develop a special service, product or result of any manner. It is temporary in nature, as it has a stipulated start and end date, and does not carry on forever. It is unique because there are certain objectives we wish to accomplish through it. To accomplish these goals, we map out a set of operations or processes that are unique.

Characteristics of a Project 

  1. Definite beginning and end 
  2. On completion of the end date, the project must be over
  3. Attempts to achieve something 
  4. Meet the client requirements
  5. Must be well-planned and executed

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Project Management Areas

  • Integration of all elements
  • Cost
  • Human resources
  • Client Management 
  • Scope of the Project
  • Quality Assurance
  • Internal and External Communications
  • Time Taken
  • Procurement of Materials
  • Risk Analysis and Management

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What are the five stages of project management?

A Project Life Cycle essentially is a series of activities which help lead to the accomplishment of the project objectives or targets. While projects may vary with regards to scale and difficulty, all projects have to go through these stages. Here is a look at the five stages of project management.

  1. Initiation 
  2. Planning 
  3. Execution 
  4. Monitoring or Controlling 
  5. Closing 

Initiation Stage: 

This stage helps define all the processes, variables and materials needed to officially start the project. It also helps in determining the goals of the project, its objectives and why it is necessary. The main activities during this stage are, developing a charter and identifying the right stakeholders. All the information related to the project goes into the Project Charter. Once the charter is approved, the team can officially start working on the project. The Charter consists of the following information;

  • Goals and Objectives
  • Constraints and Problem statements
  • Project manager position
  • Client list
  • High-level schedule 
  • Primary budget
  • Milestones
  • Approvals

Similarly, the Stakeholder Register details all the information about the client that the project is for. It contains the following information;

  1. Stakeholder Type 
  2. Expectation 
  3. Client Role in Project and Influence 
  4. Designation 
  5. Communication Required

Project Planning:

Often regarded as the most important stage, planning takes up almost 50% of the time. It clearly defines the scope of the project and highlights all the objectives it must meet. Furthermore, it uses the outputs of the initiation phase as input and churns out an output. This output becomes the input for the next stage in the cycle. The various aspects of Project Planning are;

  • Creating a Work Breakdown Structure 
  • Breaking down the WBS into further steps, activities and tasks
  • Document and Identify specific actions required
  • Schedule a basic management plan
  • Organise the list of activities into a logical sequence 
  • Creating a Network Diagram that maps out all the processes
  • Estimate the Resources Required to complete the project
  • Next, estimate the duration of these activities
  • Developing a Control Schedule to monitor the status of project activities 

Project Execution:

This is where people actually start working on the project and push it towards completion. It requires managers to manage client expectations, coordinate with team members, manage the resources and perform all the activities listed. Throughout this process, a feedback loop must monitor the status of the activities, and in certain cases, we might need a change of plan or modification. 

  1. Audit the Results
  2. Perform quality assurances
  3. Monitor results and performance constantly
  4. Bring together a group of professionals with different skill sets to accomplish the task at hand
  5. Communicate effectively both to the team members and to the clients. 

Monitor:

This stage primarily involves tracking, reviewing and analysing the progress to ensure it meets the objectives of the project. Furthermore, it makes sure that the deliverables satisfy the project management plan. Managers have to identify all missteps and take the appropriate corrective measures during this step. The various steps involved include;

  • Performing Integrated Control 
  • Validating the scope of the deliverables
  • Controlling the scope to ensure the right work is delivered
  • Control Schedule to analyse how the activities are moving on, and whether any changes are needed
  • Control Cost to ensure the project sticks to the budget
  • Control Quality to make sure the final deliverable lives up to the promised standards

Closing:

This is the last phase of the project and is the part where a controlled shutdown of the project occurs. The main activities during this stage are;

  1. Ensuring the client accepts the final product/service
  2. Formally ending the administrative procedures with regards to the project
  3. Closing down all the resources assigned to the project and returning the excess

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7 Best Project Management tips for beginners

  1. Make sure you start the project with the end in mind so that you plan for everything. Have a good idea of what your client wants, and what capabilities your organisation has. Always try to collect as much data as possible so that you can plan the project efficiently.
  2. Go over the objectives and goals thoroughly to ensure that you understand the goals of the project. Unless you understand the client requirements, you cannot draft a good plan to reach those goals. Before you dive into the specifics, make sure you clearly understand the bigger picture. 
  3. Always be considerate and extend your team members a helping hand. Communicate effectively with not just your clients, but also your colleagues and subordinates. This will help ensure great internal and external communication, which improves overall productivity. 
  4. Risk management is an integral part of the project management process. Make sure you analyse your goals, objectives and actions for risks, and account for everything. Think of strategies to eliminate or at least reduce the risk. Create a contingency plan in case things do go wrong, to ensure that you have good control over the project.
  5. Though it is quite common to strive to be perfect, make sure that it does not interfere with your work. By trying too hard to be perfect, you could ruin your chance at pulling off a great job. You might have to face dozens of unavoidable problems and unforeseen issues. If you work yourself up into a haze about it by being a perfectionist, it will harm the quality of the final product. Focus on meeting the set project goals, and work towards that with everything you have.
  6. Make sure you manage your time efficiently and don’t waste too much time on the truly small things. Completing a project on time is crucial to its success, so set out deadlines to make sure you can achieve that goal. 
  7. Get the right tools before you start the project so that you can deliver the best results. Use technology and make it an ally to help get tasks done at a quicker and more efficient pace. Project management software helps administrators deliver projects with high efficiency by offering great features. Hence, having the right project management tools will help you significantly when it comes to delivering a project. 

Completing a project within a stipulated time period, within the budget by delivering a great product will help any company grow. Be a part of your company’s success by leading from the front using these project management tips for beginners. Whether it is a high-profile client or a simple mini-project while in college these project management tips for beginners will help you get the job done right!

7 Best Project Management Tips for Beginners
Skyfi Labs Last Updated: 2020-07-19





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