7 tips for better project management

Project management tips

Project managers are tasked with handling many moving parts. From managing timelines and budgets to improving productivity, project managers play a vital role in meeting company goals.

Research has found that 59% of project managers are in charge of managing two to five projects at a time. With many different people to communicate with and tasks to organize, there is a lot to learn when growing into the project manager role.

Whether you’re just starting your career or already a seasoned PM searching for new tools and tactics, we have some excellent insights to help you on the road to project management success.

This post will provide seven tips for how you can become a more effective project manager:

  1. Define the project’s scope
  2. Arrange timelines and create a schedule
  3. Communicate effectively
  4. Monitor and document progress
  5. Build a strong team
  6. Create a project plan
  7. Use the right tools

1. Define the project’s scope

When beginning a project, it’s important to establish the goals and parameters of the project. Set realistic expectations, and be sure to add buffer time since project tasks may vary in time and effort. Create a backup plan for each project to ensure the project is still moving forward and tasks don’t fall through the cracks.

When creating a plan for a project, consider the following questions:

Project scope

Take a big-picture approach, and don’t get bogged down by details early on. When managing large projects, set milestones along the way to help track progress. Be clear about goals and expectations from the beginning. Otherwise, you risk low productivity from your team.

Create a schedule that clearly depicts project milestones and works with external vendors and clients while falling within a reasonable timeframe for internal team members.

By establishing the project scope early in the process, you create important boundaries between stakeholders and team members while building trust and understanding between the two. Your company can set an accurate project budget and bring in the correct resources.

2. Arrange timelines and create a schedule

When building out an upcoming project, it’s important to set a timeline for your project with an end date in mind. Having a schedule will help you, your team, and other stakeholders track your progress and know if you’ll finish on time.

Breaking projects into milestones and smaller tasks makes it easier for you and your team to see when individual content is due with the full project deadline in mind.

Create a project plan as you evaluate the scope of the project to help manage your work. From there, identify which tasks may take the greatest amount of time and which tasks must be completed before the project can move forward.

Creating a schedule can make even the most cumbersome projects more manageable. By breaking project content into smaller sections, you and your team can easily see how impactful each individual section is.

3. Communicate effectively

Managing projects inherently requires working with a team. Being able to communicate effectively with others is crucial to a project manager’s success, and improving communication can increase workplace productivity.

The following communication strategies can help you effectively convey information and get the feedback you need to succeed:

Teams are made of people from many different backgrounds with their own unique sets of skills and strengths. Project managers must help each team member coordinate on tasks and welcome feedback on what is working and what needs to change.

Creating spaces for teammates to share their thoughts and ideas can help quickly move tasks along. You can start a group chat for different individual project teams to share progress.

Actively listen to team members and implement process change where you can to boost task efficiency and keep the stress off team members. By documenting key project metrics, you have clear facts about what is driving project success.

4. Monitor and document progress

As you manage your project, it will be helpful to have metrics to track progress. The right software can display the data in a dashboard, which can be easily viewed and shared.

If you don’t have analytics tools, then you may have to track progress manually using a spreadsheet. By documenting progress, you can easily keep tabs on who completed which tasks and the next steps in the process.

Document achievements as well as setbacks. As you near completion of your project, and after you’ve finished, knowing which elements of the project went well and which became bottlenecks can help you plan for the next project.

By carefully monitoring and documenting project progress, you can build better processes that keep teammates happy and motivated to carry out their best work. Clear documentation provides transparency and builds trust with team members.

Monitoring progress keeps everyone on the same page and more and more prepared for each new project.

A report found that 42% of respondents believed projects that run smoothly allow team members to focus more on their project contributions while working.

5. Build a strong team

Managing a project will be easier when you’ve got the right team. Project success depends on deadlines being met and carefully crafted content that drives business ROI.

Some of the best project managers have strong leadership qualities and soft skills that can help lead other team members to bring their best work to the table. Examples of soft skills that can be beneficial as a project manager — or in any career — are adaptability, problem-solving, and interpersonal communication skills.

These traits allow you to understand your individual team members better — what they excel at and where they could improve.

To build out a winning team, identify the qualities in individuals that will be most impactful to the success of the project. Recruit team members with those qualities.

To build a balanced team, recruit team members with different skills and expertise. By diversifying the talent, you create stand-out products and services that reach more audiences.

You can help your team remain productive by looking carefully at their work capacity and planning project tasks accordingly. The right tools can help you accurately monitor all the projects and tasks that team members are involved with.

6. Create a project plan

Your goals are the driving force behind project progression — but without a plan, you cannot realistically complete tasks. Project plans establish a shared vision for what each project would like to accomplish.

By being transparent and sharing the plan early on, team members can understand their colleagues’ and their own workloads. This can help foster an environment of trust and understanding, leading everyone involved to help each other toward the main objective.

You can help meet internal and external team needs by asking yourself the following questions:

Plans help internal teams and external stakeholders understand what role they play in the project and prevent too much or too little work from falling on certain individuals. Verify responsibilities from the beginning to avoid confusion and bottlenecks down the road.

Part of the project plan is outlining the frequency of communication you’ll have with external vendors and how often you plan on providing updates for these vendors and internal team members. This can include problem resolution, risk management, and status updates.

7. Use the right tools

Project management software

The right project management software takes a lot of stress off of you and gives team members a simplified visual representation of upcoming tasks.

The right project management software will:

A good project management tool not only allows team members to see their own tasks but lets them see the project as a whole to better understand why certain timeframes are necessary. When choosing a project management tool, consult key stakeholders and get feedback on what they need in a project management solution.

Planning a project is an essential part of the project management process, and project management software makes implementing each task quick and easy. When priorities change, you can simply change tasks to meet new requirements.

You can gain insight into the precise time spent on each task to better allocate resources and stay within set company budgets using time-tracking software. This will improve team performance and create better outcomes for content creation.

Project management software gives you an overview of each team member’s workload and what availability they have for individual project tasks. When conducting your research, look for project management tools that allow teams to collaborate across the organization and manage the entire lifecycle of a project.

Improve your project management skills

Company goals and priorities are constantly shifting, and tasks have to quickly shift around more often than not to stay in line with upcoming changes. Project management isn’t easy, but developing your skills in these key areas will help you become a more successful project manager.

A report found that 42% of respondents believed projects that run smoothly allow team members to focus more on their project contributions while working. Project managers and the right project management software help teams confidently move forward with projects knowing tasks are organized and timelines can be shared with all who are involved.

If you’d like to learn more about project management, take a look at 10 knowledge areas of project management: a helpful guide.

If it’s time to level up your project management software, check out How to choose the best project management software for you.

The right tools can make project management a lot easier. Adobe Workfront is the ultimate toolkit for organizing your next project. This enterprise work management software integrates people, data, processes, and technology across your organization, so you can manage the entire lifecycle of projects from start to finish.

By optimizing and centralizing digital projects, cross-functional teams can connect, collaborate, and execute from anywhere to help them do their best work.

Take a product tour or watch the overview video to learn more about Workfront.