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Managing a project can present you with a multitude of issues that might derail your timeline or cause the project to fail. Miscommunication in your team, a lack of available working capital, bad client management, and scope creep are just a few examples of problems that could come up during the project.
Fortunately, it’s possible to avoid most of these mistakes if you have the foresight to plan. Project managers need to be aware of potential threats, neutralizing them before they present a serious issue for the success of the project.
There are a variety of tools you can use to increase your productivity at the office. When you have your finger on the pulse of your project, you’ll find that you experience fewer problems along the way to your project completion date.
Here are six ways you can increase your productivity around managing your projects:
- Create To-Do Lists
- Implement Project Planning Software
- Set Milestones for Your Project
- Plan Payments When Achieving Milestones
- Track Your Time with Software Tools
- Get Regular Client Feedback
- Wrapping Up – Invest in Technology
Create To-Do Lists
Managing a project requires you to make the most of the resources available to you. To ensure the success of your project, your team needs orchestration and coordination across all tasks. When teams don’t have direction, they lose focus, and delays to milestones and deadlines are inevitable.
Using a software tool like Basecamp or Asana can help your team stay on track to achieving your project goals. This software allows you to list the task, assign a priority, and list the team members working on it. The team can add notes to the tasks and then mark it off when it’s finished. The software notifies the entire team that the task is complete, and the manager can reallocate resources to the next task on the list.
You can utilize tools like Todoist or Things (if you’re on Mac OS) for your personal to-do lists. You can integrate your personal to-do list with your calendars and team project management tools so you are never lost or out of sync.
Implement Project Planning Software
Every project manager understands the importance of planning to make a project a success. Regardless of whether you’re working in a corporate environment with hundreds of employees, or you’re running a small team, there are project management software tools that can help.
For large corporations, tools like LiquidPlanner are an excellent choice. This software package has so much functionality, allowing you to control every aspect of the project. However, it might be too advanced for smaller teams that only consist of a few employees.
Smaller teams can rely on software tools like ClickUp and Wrike, to achieve similar results. In the digital age, every manager needs to make use of technology when planning their projects. With these tools, you can update your project status from any mobile device, anywhere you can get internet access.
Set Milestones for Your Project
Every project needs targets and milestones to measure progress. When clients want an update on how things are going, they expect you to present quantifiable results. Merely stating that everything is on track isn’t acceptable, and you need to be able to show proof of work to your clients to justify their spending.
Setting milestones for your project goals is an excellent way to stay accountable during each phase of your project. When your clients ask you for a progress update, you’ll have quantifiable data to show them where you are, and how things are moving along.
Planning tools like LiquidPlanner, Wrike, and Trello are excellent tools that allow you to set project milestones. You should set your milestones in your client meetings to ensure that your clients understand the scope and direction of the project.
A checkpoint in the project allows you to regroup and check on your progress to date. Milestones can also prevent you from making costly blunders with your project as well. Countless project managers finish and deliver their projects, only to find that it’s not what the customer had in mind.
As a result, they go back to the drawing board, wasting time, money, and valuable resources. Creating milestones allows you to check in with your clients and get their opinion on each phase of the project before you move onto the next.
Plan Payments When Achieving Milestones
One of the biggest challenges to managing a project is the allocation of working capital. Without working capital, your project is dead in the water. Many of the largest projects end up failing because of a lack of working capital, so don’t let it happen to you and your team.
If you have a project that could take a long period to reach completion, then you need to arrange payment checkpoints after completing each of the milestones in your project. Take payment for each phase of the project before you start in the form of a project deposit for that specific stage.
Asking your client for a payment upfront also adds commitment on their side as well. Therefore, you can expect more involvement on their side, giving you vital feedback along the way. Keep tabs on your finances for your project using a planning tool like LiquidPlanner, which includes budgets for each phase of your project.
Running out of money halfway through your project, or as you close in on your deadline is a traumatic event that might ruin the project launch, setting you back weeks or even months while investors or clients scramble to secure funds. Keep your clients happy and your business solvent by asking for payment as you achieve each milestone.
Track Your Time with Software Tools
Time is every project manager’s most valuable asset. One of the most significant ways to boost your productivity is by improving your time management skills. Fortunately, there are dozens of useful SaaS tools you can use to ensure you make the most out of your time at work.
These tools allow managers to track the time they spend on project tasks. By tracking your time, it will enable you to build a model that you can use for pricing in future projects. The tools also allow you to check how much time you’re spending on tasks or projects, allowing you to identify bottlenecks or sticking points.
For instance, if a specific task should take 4-hours to complete, but now it’s taking 8-hours, it could be for a variety of reasons. Maybe your employee is out of their depth with the responsibilities involved with the task. Or perhaps your client is requesting too many revisions.
Either way, implementing software time management tools lets you know when these occurrences happen. It gives you the chance to get on top of the situation before it causes further delays in your timeline.
Get Regular Client Feedback
One of the biggest mistakes project managers make that sets them back in their workflow and project completion is a lack of client feedback. If you’re working on longer projects that last 6-months to years, then you need to set up quarterly feedback sessions with your clients.
Working on a project for an entire year, only to find out it’s not what your client wants, is a colossal failure. With feedback sessions scheduled at regular intervals, you can get your client’s opinions on any changes they want to make as you reach your project milestones. This kind of feedback is invaluable in helping you move forward with the project.
After each meeting, plug your notes into a collaboration tool like Basecamp. By using a collaboration tool, you keep everyone on the team up to date with any new developments in your client meetings. These tools are especially handy for organizations that work remotely, allowing you to avoid spending time in individual project briefings with your team members.
Wrapping Up – Invest in Technology
As we move deeper into the digital era, technology continues to offer us new solutions to many of our problems in life. Project management is no different, and there is a slew of SaaS apps you can use in your business to manage your team and achieve your project goals.
All you need to manage your team effectively, and your project is a mobile device and some software. Save yourself hundreds of hours in lost productivity by implementing software solutions in your project management company right now.
It might take some time for you to adjust your workflow to accommodate these tools. However, you’ll eventually reach a point where they start to add value to your projects. When searching for the right app or SaaS tool for your company, follow these helpful tips.
- The tool should have a user-friendly interface with a dashboard that’s easy to navigate.
- The tool should link your time to projects and your clients, capturing your billable hours.
- The tool should offer a mobile solution, allowing you and your team remote access to any project data.
- The tool should increase productivity levels after a brief learning curve.
Above all, the tool should scale with your business, allowing you to take on more work. A project management software tool should improve your efficiencies while reducing bottlenecks that cause issues with meeting your project deadlines or milestones.
By implementing the tips in this post, you should find that you get more done in less time with your project management. Let us know any of your tips for increasing productivity in the comments.
Make sure to check out my best project management SaaS tools blog post here.