Effective Project Management – Where to Start
There are dozens of theories and methods for producing the best results from a project plan. Brainstorming the initial idea alone offers many methods to follow. The bottom line is this: project management takes categorically accurate and intrinsically detailed skills. Few projects will be successful, or reach their potential, without an experienced manager. If a person is learning project management, he or she must have supervised experience in every step of the process. In project management, there is no substitute for experience.
That being said, any team can be helped by organizational thinking and planning. Books and courses that include well-developed and applied steps for project management are good places to start. Any plant management team should be able to copy a basic process like those offered by many publishers, but the more complicated the project, the more planning is necessary.
A project “succeeds” for a number of reasons that all depend on the parameters a company lays out as objectives. In other words, suppose a new product is brainstormed and put in the project pipeline. Every project has a time frame and a budget. If budget is the most important priority for launching the product, the over-budget project will not be successful in the eyes of management even if the time frame is kept and the product is good and saleable. It will only be partially successful on a scale determined by the company leaders.
Planning is the key word in every project. Every project is successful in direct proportion to the Of the thirteen basic steps that most expert project managers say are the primary divisions of a project, the first eight are planning steps. The basic steps are (1): defining the scope, determine resources, check timeline, assemble a team, list big steps, list small steps, develop first plan, create baseline, adjust parameters, work the plan, monitor progress, document everything, keep everyone informed. As this list shows, the first eight steps are planning and must be done before any resources are committed to production of the product.
There are many good software products available to help keep projects in line and on time. Most are based on steps toward production and a strict timeline. Project software is ideal because it acts in much the same way that word processing software acts. When a writer wants to add a sentence to a document, he simply pastes it in and all the text that follows adjusts down the page. A project manager can insert new notes, time changes and budget additions into the software and the program will adjust everything forward.
Choose software that is as specific to your industry as possible. There is software available for manufacturing, logistics, engineering and more. Under manufacturing, the software suites can be specified for heavy turning, electrical, plastics molding, warehousing and much more. Software never replaces an experienced planning manager, but streamlines the process and helps save time.
Although software helps organize and prioritize, people are always the key ingredient in a successful project. Many experts say that the most critical planning step is choosing managers and determining if the people responsible for carrying out the project steps are capable.
To learn more about career in operations management and project management here is a link to our recent article on MBA and its effect on earnings vs experience.
Operations Manager.com Education Specialist