People work together to overcome obstacles and define excellence by bringing projects to a close and results to their customers.

Still, even experienced project managers and team members need a refresher, a reminder of what it is that makes them successful in their work. Here are five tips to getting your next project started right.

1. Plan to Succeed: All too often, project planning is skipped, done poorly, or the process takes far too long, yet it is one of the most important undertakings for the project team. As project manager, do whatever you can do to get your whole team together in person for a comprehensive planning session — off site — and define the scope of work with the right people in the room!

2. Define your work: It’s all too easy to let your Work Breakdown Structure slide when you’re sitting around a table of content experts. Fight that tendency! Make sure you’re building a comprehensive definition of work for all your team members to see. Whole-team contributions to the WBS can help defend your project from the plague of scope creep down the road.

3. Own your Tasks: There are few things more frustrating for a project manager than discovering that two of your key team members are both working on the same task, wasting time and diluting focus. Help your teams and define project responsibilities early. Remember: only one team member can take the lead on any given task. This will keep your people focused and your tasks on track!

4. Red Light, Green Light: Are your weekly status meetings longer than a half hour? If so, they’re too long. You’ll be able to accomplish more, and keep your key players focused on their work, by driving down that status meeting and ensuring that your team members focus on the red and the green: of their tasks, which are in jeopardy of holding up the project?

5. Communication and Overload: Communication is a double-edged sword. As project manager, your instinct might be to ensure the team is copied on every email and meeting request. But part of your role is as the gate keeper for your team! Make sure they know what they need to know to mark their tasks complete, but not so much that they lose focus through information overload!

Need Training, or a Refresher? The Benefits of Going Public
Beginning in October, Cadence will launch the fall season of our Essentials Series in Project Management Public Seminars. These seminars are focused on the issues plaguing project teams, designed to help remove the roadblocks that impede project progress.

  • Develop a project plan and implement with a sense of confidence and control
  • Decrease frustration on Projects
  • Accelerate your projects through effective planning
  • Learn how to influence people who do not report to you
  • Learn how to do status meetings in 30 minutes or less
  • Discover the power of meeting Cost, Schedule, and Performance
  • Work on REAL projects from companies in the class to produce draft project plans

All the points above resonate as key strategic outcomes of this seminar. But it’s the last point that shines as a true benefit of the public seminar forum. Our graduates tell us that learning with project managers from other organizations helps them grasp concepts, understand tools and processes, and remind them that they are not alone in working to overcome project frustration.