How to Manage Scope Creep in Your Digital Marketing Agency

You are currently on your way to your fourth milestone: setting up the last few details of your project plan, ready to party after a successful closing.

Your phone rings: the client wants to request a change in the deliverables.

You thought you were on the same page with them, but now you are sure the current project will fail. Where will you get the additional funds? How will you tell the suppliers? How will you adjust the timeline? Will there be any other changes in the future?

So many questions are running through your head. So much for the party after completing the project. Dreams. Crushed.

As a project manager, you are expected to manage, if not avoid, scope creep over the project schedule duration. Scope creep management allows the entire team to stay on track with project goals, avoid hidden agendas, maintain overall job breakdown structure, and balance resource allocation.

Are you up to mitigate scope creep? Then, let’s get your digital marketing agency ready.

What is Project Scope Creep?

When project managers encounter change requests on the project requirements during the implementation of the project schedule, project scope creep happens. These may block the project’s progress or result in different or low-quality deliverables.

Causes of scope creep may include the following:

  • Miscommunication during project planning
  • Outside forces like economic and environmental conditions
  • Project politics or ‘leadership drama’ which leads to confusion between the project team members

Let’s take the example of a website client. If the client asks for a website redesign that you and your team agreed on at a specific price, that would not be considered scope creep. However, if the client then tells you over the phone call to add all the optimization, integrated social media accounts, and advertisements, you would instantly recognize that as scope creep.

But scope creep doesn’t always show up as a whole phase or section of the project being modified. Often it starts as tiny minimal alterations to the original scope. Adjusting the website to match the client’s new branding palette mid-way through the project, for example, would add unforeseen time to your team’s work schedule, and would be classified as scope creep.

Most cases of scope creep are innocent, but occasionally one party might have a hidden agenda. A lack of awareness of scope creep can put your agency at risk from disingenuous clients, who make a deal for one deliverable but plan to sneak other projects under the same umbrella.

Project Management and Scope Creep

We all know what project scope is. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), “project scope is the work required to output the project deliverables.” The scope should be characterized clearly, and any alterations should only be conducted under a formal change management process.

The scope of a project includes a breakdown of work to be done and instructions for any changes. Any changes throughout the project must be controlled through a structured change management procedure.

When it comes to working without a tight project scope, you must learn how to maximize your project method and use it to your team’s advantage. In agile projects, for example, the overall project is broken down into smaller stories which is an excellent way of managing scope creep. In addition, it welcomes changes openly as part of the customer’s competitive advantage. The Agile method manages projects by diving into the details and the calendar.

But because Agile teams lack a fixed scope, project failure comes in the forms of poor estimation and prioritization, disagreement on how to handle changes, and missing processes to manage change requests.

How can a Project Manager Control Scope Creep?

Create a project budget

The project budget should be adequately defined during the project’s planning phase. Include project stakeholders – both your client and each team member – during the process and agree on a precise project budget based on properly calculated estimates.

Poor budget estimates in a project plan can cause delays in the later part of the project, which is a sure sign that scope creep is already developing. A comprehensible project budget will also limit requests for additional funding if not totally eliminate it.

Estimations should be based on proper research together with the project team. Collaborate on the estimates together and avoid making wild guesses. When using a pricing model, consider both time and resources to develop a more precise estimate and prevent scope creep in project management.

As a digital marketing agency, progress payments are essential to ensure your revenue or, at the very least, some working capital. Invoicing for work done in advance can also update you on the volume of work you have already completed and cover any ongoing expenses.

Project managers must invest time considering all costs involved in the most efficient manner. Any budget proposals and cost breakdown issues should be cleared before executing the project to meet clients’ deliverables on time and uphold your agency’s reputation in carrying out the project scope.

Face ALL change requests

Getting back to change requests that arise during the project’s duration is one of the most critical responsibilities involved in scope management. As a human, you know that this is a tedious, time-consuming task you must face.

In any project, scope creep arises in not answering these requests. It may take up a whole day or just minutes before you end your work, but they need to be addressed and given attention. Keep in mind to inform parties involved so they know all the measures and steps to fulfill amended project requirements and still ace preventing scope creep (more on communication later!).

All the approved, rejected and resolved change requests must be logged in the project’s Perform Integrated Change Control process. According to PMI, this allows reviewing and adequately documenting all requests and integrating them while considering all possible project risks. Conduct a special meeting called a ‘risk workshop’ and include appropriate risk responses to minimize unforeseen considerations

Create a timeline (and stick to it!)

The ideal setup is creating a timeline and following it to the dot. But in every project plan, there will always be unavoidable bumps and humps. The key here is simple: be realistic about what you can accomplish in the project timeline allotted.

Define detailed requirements and milestones with project team members. Give space for contingencies and allow some wiggle room and flexibility while creating your timeline. Doing so will assist you in maintaining your schedule and provide you with the opportunity to regroup and prioritize or deprioritize tasks and change requests.

You also need to take into account the expertise of your team members so you have an idea of how long it takes to work on an assignment.

Creating a timetable does not end there. You have to keep track of it consistently, religiously. Watch out for red flags outside your control like marketing conditions and global phenomena that may affect prices, suppliers, and even clients’ businesses which can trigger change requests.

Set REASONABLE boundaries

Don’t take on more than you can handle, and be willing to say no to a particular project phase when necessary.

Be transparent and practical when laying down the project limitations with a specific time, cost, and scope. Include these in the scope management plan. Don’t hesitate to inform key stakeholders of the realistic expectations on the project scope before the project begins.

Addressing boundaries is also a confident move to preserve leadership and authority as a project manager. It minimizes the complexity of a project and keeps you in control of the situation and your schedule. You may have still said yes to a few requests, but the ability to contain the damage and work within the given resources should remain intact for the project’s duration.

Five-star communication

Constantly update all involved parties on the progress, timelines, missed deadlines, and expectations.

Poor communication can result in surprises – unpleasant surprises, that is. Changes in the agreed-upon scope with the key stakeholders and project sponsor are not considered scope creep. On the other hand, scope creep is when you have poor communication between stakeholders, disorganized documentation of new features, and out-of-date change control systems that are doomed to make projects fail.

Your project deliverables may be reaching a five-star rating. but if your project teams’ communication is merely a one-star meh, you still need help addressing scope creep.

All new requests based on the original scope should undergo the Perform Integrated Change Control process, including updating new features, documenting project charter amendments, and ensuring you’re on the same page with modifications in the scope statement.

Bottom Line for Project Managers

Consider looking at scope creep positively. It is a type of change, and change is the only thing permanent in this world.

You will not be able to see what’s missing or lacking or even distressing your systems, and you have no opportunity to grow into the best project manager if you don’t allow for some scope change as the project runs.

Handling scope creeps is a challenging part of being a project manager. One of the good things nowadays is that technology is readily available to help you see through despair. Monitor change requests, work progress, invoices, and payments through reliable project management software. A handy project management tool paired with a powerful agency framework can help you unite your team, spare you from twice the efforts of juggling phone calls and client visits while taking care of your spreadsheets.

Sound too good to be true? Let Scaletime help you!

Scope management plans for successful projects are made easy with ScaleTime. Handle scope creep in project management by optimizing your digital agency’s systems and processes. Get a FREE Discovery Session with our Scale Strategists here!

5 Scheduling Tips For Better Calendar Management

scheduling tips - calendar on a tablet

Do you often feel unproductive despite coming to the office early, heading home late, and even working overtime on weekends? Every meeting, presentation, and deadline shows no progress? Catching yourself spending more time figuring out what your staff is doing, or when they’ll be free for a meeting, than you do getting the real work done?

If you relate to any of these, then it’s time to make a change! One of the most effective ways to level up your work life is to create a scheduling system or revamp your existing one. Free yourself from worries and allow your organization to run like a well-oiled machine! And that is our scheduling tips will help you achieve.

If you’re not sure what employee scheduling is, it is basically a process that allows you to plan your team’s workflow throughout the day each week, ultimately boosting you toward your career and project goals. At its most basic, you can think of scheduling as a list of the tasks to be done, along with the ‘where, when and by whom’. Sounds tedious, right? But modern employee scheduling software can make this scheduling process much more efficient, saving you time and headaches!

Ready to get started? Take a deep breath, prepare your calendar and clear your mind as we give you the best management tips for using scheduling to get lower labor costs and happier employees!

Why is Effective Scheduling Important?

small white clock

Effective scheduling is very important because it helps to maximize the most crucial unrenewable resource we are given – time. Some days we want to go home already, some days we wish for extra hours. But we are all given the same 24 hours – whether we like it or not. Our time each day is limited, but we cannot let it limit us.

If you’re already at your wits’ end handling your own calendar, there’s even more on your plate when you’re running a business. You need to schedule your staff’s tasks as well. Your staffing needs depend on the needs of your business at the time. The more employees you have, the more time you may end up coordinating everyone’s schedules!

But that’s exactly the opposite of what an effective schedule is supposed to do. Business scheduling doesn’t have to be a complicated and time-consuming process. By choosing the right scheduling tools, and applying them effectively, you can create a system where the to-do list gets done, and you can finally let go of the urge of burning down your entire office.

Still not convinced? Here are a few more ways that scheduling can help your business:

Increases productivity

Scheduling your time makes you more familiar with the task at hand, and strengthens your ‘why’ for doing it. It also helps you to understand each assignment 100%. This results in increased productivity because you are more focused, and gives you a better chance at getting your tasks done and done well.

In sales, for example, ScaleTime has developed an Effective Streamlined Sales Process that will assist you in closing more deals. Organize your proposals and sales leads, and reach new heights with this proven procedure.

Channels positive energy in the team

Is your team consistently burnt out? Are your members feeling lost or annoyed? If you have received a bunch of resignation letters lately, it may not be because of the work itself. You may want to check out the processes involved in doing it. So what’s the answer? Better scheduling, of course!

No solid scheduling equals confused team members which equates to a chaotic working environment. Everyone is asking one another what to do next and this creates an awkward, messy workplace. Learn what structured scheduling system motivates your team. Discover ways to make them happy to work WITH you, not FOR you.

video meeting on a laptob

With the pandemic giving way to a new work system, the flextime schedule is now the gold standard as compared to the previous nine-to-five workdays. An increased number of employees are now working from home, working from their own space while tending to their personal and family life. This non-traditional working schedule gives them more control, empowerment, and enjoyment, which brings positive vibes to the team.

Improves long-term process

Planning your time does not delay your future – it pushes you towards it. There are moments where taking time to plan and set up your system is not actually the most effective use of your time. Scheduling may seem like an added weight on your shoulders at the moment, but it’s an investment that will have whopping returns down the road.

Think about training new team leaders: It may seem unimportant right now, but once you have a team of capable staff to turn to, suddenly there is more time for you to focus on other important tasks. Tedious jobs are often the most worthwhile.

With time management, the key is to look at effective scheduling in the bigger picture. Try stepping back and ask yourself. What will be the result of this complex system we are putting in place? If this system is carried out, what will I get from it later? This way, managing time will be a mirror of the vision you are trying to achieve for the entire organization.

How Do You Schedule Time?

Know your available time and honor it

a man look at his watch behind a laptob

You are not available to work 24/7. You’re only human, and you can only be free for a certain number of hours per day. A smart schedule takes this into account. One of the first steps is to set up an allocated number of hours you’re able to work depending on the goals you wish to achieve.

If you have other things going on outside of work, for example, then normal working hours will be enough for you. If you are dreaming of a promotion, then you may want to put more time into your work as an investment. Be realistic: multitasking your work and personal life can send distracting signals to your brain, causing you to produce low-quality outputs.

Ensure you honor the available time you specified during the making of your schedule. Be early when possible. If your deadline is on the 10th, work as though it’s the 9th. If you are set for an appointment at 1 pm, be there at 12:50.

List priority and non-priority tasks

Once you have set your working hours, start filling up your schedule. Start with the activities on your high-priority list. These should be part of your main duties and responsibilities to complete before anything else. If you manage inventory, for example, then your priority tasks could include creating records of the supplies, updating stock, and ensuring you have enough reserve.

marking notes off in the diary

Now that you’ve listed the high-priorities, add in your back-burner tasks. One of the most important scheduling techniques is to put them on your list and schedule in advance. Back-burner tasks aren’t necessarily urgent, but if they’re not done, may affect your whole system. Paying your telephone bill or cleaning your car are low-priority tasks but should be done anyway. Even onboarding new clients, no matter how repetitive it is, is an essential task.

To manage time more efficiently, we created this Client Onboarding Process for you to give your clients a proper welcome, keep your communication up, and make them feel that they are taken care of. When you’re done with ‘organizational socialization,’ learn how to effectively manage your clients to avoid last-minute changes, miscommunication, and even project abandonment. Check it out HERE.

Block your buffer

Buffer time, or contingency time, is based on the anticipated pauses you may have on a regular workday. This gives you the wiggle room to deal with sudden events. Some jobs will have more ‘surprises’ than others. Allocate the appropriate amount of time according to the nature of your work.

Another important tip not only for managing your time but handling life as mature adults too: learning when to say no. Contingency time or not, having power over your schedule means working only within your given time frame. If you’ve already accepted a task but your workday is full, then it is important to get your time back rather than rushing through all the tasks to get everything completed.

Have small breaks throughout the day

Ahh, the best part of scheduling – breaks. No matter what anyone says, breaks are important to refocus and recharge. This cuts down stress and exhaustion, reduces early out from work, and restores the team’s overall game.

Small breaks are meant to refresh, not divert your attention from doing your job. Remove the temptation to procrastinate or browse social media. Encourage your team to use their breaks to move their bodies, reconnect with their colleagues, or clear their minds.

lady lays her head on the laptop

Note that most employees appreciate an official “wrap up” when a project is finished to talk about what worked and what could have been better. Consider a scheduled group celebration after the debriefing, a decision that can foster teamwork and let members relax and have fun at the same time.

Plan your week

Now that you have created your daily work schedule, turn it up a notch by scheduling other days into your calendar in advance. Weekly planning frees you from composing nightly to-do’s for the next day and will also help you meet deadlines thoroughly.

Looking at your energy levels is also an important part of weekly planning. If you’re more active at night, for example, you might need to factor that into your daily and weekly routines. This is a step closer to assuring you’re on track with what you are trying to achieve in the long term.

Another way to become an effective scheduler is to implement weekly staff meetings that go for 30 minutes to an hour tops. Scheduling meetings keep your team members’ attention, highlights key points, and gives way to doing the task itself.

Create a routine

Now that you have created a 7-day schedule, it’s time to fill up the rest of the month. But the planning doesn’t end there. Before you know it, you’ve successfully populated an entire schedule for the year! Scheduling your tasks annually gives you not only consistency but also insight into what you can realistically accomplish.

Scheduling is about keeping your word on things you must and must not do in a particular time frame. You have to be firm and stick to it. If you want more personal time, include that when creating your calendar of activities. Include your personal commitments in a personal calendar. This could include your morning and night regimen: yoga and eating breakfast to start your day; reading a book and preparing your clothes for the next day to end the night. This habit shapes who you are, and may also have a catching effect within your team.

As part of time management, you need to develop a workflow. Why base a routine on a wishy-washy structure when you can optimize your internal and external processes for your team’s growth? Project Management for Agencies is a proven process not just about making a strategy and gathering a group of people. It’s about creating an essential skill that will form your company’s competence, and taking that success into your everyday lives as a team.

More Employee Scheduling Techniques

Implement time blocks

Time blocks are parts of your available time that are segmented for a particular activity or event. It may be business phone calls, a field inspection, checking and replying to your emails, or even running errands like fetching your laundry from the dry cleaner. Time blocks break your schedule down into more practical chunks. If you work visually, then color-coding the blocks on your schedule can help you keep on track.

As a business owner, time blocking with your staff members helps you assess your employee availability and align team calendars for effortless coordinating meetings and projects.

Micro-scheduling tasks are not only limited to professional duties, but to personal life as well. It is an efficient way of segregating your calendar so that you make the most out of each time slot, which is usually one hour to three hours long. This helps you plan ahead and block time for top priority tasks before they are due.

writing on a paper planner

Working in batches is also another productive way to divide your schedule. It is a technique of doing tasks that are relevant to each other for a particular chunk of time. This way, you don’t constantly jump from one task to the other, increasing your productivity by preventing multitasking.

Say, for example, you work from home. You can lump together doing basic tasks like cooking and preparing meals into an hour or two every day. Another block of time then goes to feeding the dog and taking it for a walk outside. Have blocks of time set aside to focus on work, and you save time in the process.

Maximize use of calendar management tools and employee scheduling software

open book calendar

In this day and age, people are more dependent on technology than ever. There’s a good chance your paper planner has already been ditched for a Google Calendar. But today’s scheduling tools go beyond a simple calendar, to offer an excellent experience. You may have trouble selecting which option offers the best and most helpful features, however, as there are so many ones to choose from.

Most managers prefer smart calendars and other software tools that automatically schedule tasks for the week. Make sure you check out how the scheduling app is initially set up, as this will also take time off from your schedule.

Resources are not only comprised of technological advancement and innovative tools. Remember that having the right people is an asset, too! Know what tasks you can outsource and how best to handle employee schedules. Be sure to do so before you need them, and not during, to maintain your buffer and protect your schedule. You’ll want to do your best to schedule staff with different skills so that you always have a strong team of employees working. 

Employee scheduling software can also help you balance your full-time employees and part-time workers, so you don’t lose track of who’s doing what. Smart scheduling features can also handle multiple schedules and rearrange tasks automatically when your employee schedule changes. While not always a possibility, the best practice is to schedule employees for their preferred hours. 

If you need to balance your books, or you’re having difficulty communicating to 50 existing employees while closing deals with clients, you always have the option to outsource a bookkeeper or a marketing campaign manager. The key is to delegate when needed. Learn how to hire and onboard new employees without the fuss! We provide Hiring Hacks to help you build the perfect team. Click HERE for more details.

Respect your prompts

Often, we set reminders and alarms in order to help us track the time we are spending. A lot of us are guilty of pressing the stop or snooze button when the hour is up and carry on working. Sticky notes often flood our cork board, multicolored markers for whiteboards, and even highlighted notepads – but are they serving their purpose, or are they merely additional decor?

Use your reminders with precision to serve their intent. Use one-liners that will help you understand them in one look, without needing to run through your whole calendar again. Limit your words to a couple of phrases and put the rest of the activity details in a separate attachment to avoid filling up every space with post-its – they’ll only be a distraction!

sticker notes

Avoiding distractions means avoiding procrastination. Identify your biggest distractions and find a way to minimize, if not totally eliminate them. Although chores, TV, children, and neighbors can be a distraction to those working from home, having a workspace separate from all the commotion will be helpful to keep you focused. If all else fails, your friendly neighborhood coffee shop (and a good set of earplugs) might save your schedule from falling apart.

Step back and look at the big picture

light bulb with a hand underneath

At the end of the day, reviewing your schedule, and tasks to complete is helpful for understanding how heavy your commitments are and how much time each one requires. This is also useful to be able to assess your priorities and whether you are still in line with your goals. It could also be a wake-up call to your existing ineffective management process.

Sometimes, 24/7 is not enough for the list you have made, and that means your schedule probably isn’t working for you. Check which activities are really necessary and which can you drop. You don’t have to say yes to every social event or client that comes your way. Your work-life balance, mental health, and physical well-being are all essential to truly reaching your goals.

For small business owners, managing your own schedule and staff scheduling means learning how to take control. Use the scheduling techniques provided here, and be guided by our ScaleMap to know your organization’s status quo and develop your business’ strengths.

Track your schedule and focus on activities that will lead you to your goals by using the ScaleTime Framework and project strategies for agencies. Let us help you do this by setting a Free 20-minute Discovery Session HERE and start focusing on your business’ growth by taking the reins!

Project Manager Goal Setting [Examples Included]

Where do you see yourself in five years? No one likes this question because you can’t think that far ahead. It’s impossible to know what offbeat event is going to happen tomorrow, let alone five years from now, and how this will impact you.

Goals are essential to plan for the future and give you a rational way of charting a path from an identified situation – the now, to what you aspire to be – the ideal. Goal setting for a project manager involves the process and not just the destination. It is the track from point As-Is to point To-Be.

Discover some project manager goal setting examples to protect yourself from project derailment, and ensure great project outcomes.

Benefits of Project Management Goals

For the project manager

Many circumstances can derail your plans. It could be something completely unexpected and out of your control. But in most cases, derailed plans are due to the lack of a clear path for progress. Successful goal-setting includes:

  • Clearly defined goals and budget.
  • Excellent communication both with the team and the stakeholders.
  • Awareness of the limitations of the project scope, to avoid scope creep.
  • Adequate skill sets and training.
  • A range of identified contingencies, or Plan B’s.
  • Good project management tools.

Self-evaluation parallel to organizational evaluation can help determine your project management goals. How do you do it? Set SMART goals. (See below).

For the team

Goal setting benefits the whole team. Communicating clear goals and the progress of the project builds opportunities to give and receive constructive feedback. Goals develop overall group accountability which allows both individual and team growth. Team members can buy into good goal-setting and own their part in delivering good outcomes.

For the project itself

Good project goals are key to successfully achieve project completion. Goals make it easier to deliver projects on time and within budget. The process can be evaluated both during and at the end of the project, leading to a clearer understanding of how goal-setting impacted the process. Each completed project can set the scene for more empowered project goal-setting in the future.

Setting SMART Goals

Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals help in creating a sound goal statement. SMART goals establish a framework that makes goal-setting a breeze, allowing you to cover all aspects of the project. They will help you implement your team’s objectives and gain an overall picture for both low and high-impact projects.

Drill down to the specifics

Generic goals are a no-go if you want to be SMART about it. Knowing exactly what you want to do allows you to push for target tasks that will take you there. If a goal is unclear, then it’s practically impossible to track where you are and to reach your objective on time and within the projected budget.

Make your goals descriptive and detailed. Instead of just saying you want to increase online traffic, being specific means saying you want to increase website traffic by x number of users by x months. Ensure your specific goals are also clearly understood and agreed with stakeholders and by your team.

Make measurable goals

You may feel great about where a project is standing but you may not be 100% sure if you’re on track, or if you have enough resources to complete it. The key ingredient to project management success is to incorporate the necessary metrics. These standards and benchmarks help you evaluate your project. A measurable goal also identifies any necessary adjustments and how much time and resources are needed going forward.

Some simple examples of how to effectively manage your project status are:

  • A list of tasks completed per week, a spreadsheet of the total number of hours billed, and the average number of hours spent on tasks.
  • A time-tracking progress chart that integrates with your project management tool.

Aside from investing in the perfect project management tools, having a project management checklist on hand can help you set measurable goals.

Make goals attainable

Clients often come to the table with nearly impossible targets or decide to add further goals to a project once underway. A project manager’s challenge is to ensure that the project’s goals are attainable and keep an eye on what is feasible and reasonable. Making goals attainable means that you find a way to build in unexpected developments.

For example, you may have a team of four people but one is on vacation, making it challenging to wrap up a huge deal in a week. Have you built in some reserves in terms of resources, or is there an option for extra time? Good project managers build in the ability to adjust their goals to account for the variations that will inevitably hit a project.

Set goals that are relevant

Efficient project leaders will ask the right questions to ensure project goals are relevant. They will have good knowledge of the project and know that goals will be relevant depending on the skill set of the team, the budget, and the timescale.

Re-assessment of goals once a project is underway is also useful so you can check on how relevant they continue to be. Competitive benchmarking and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) may help keep your goals relevant.

Some questions to ask:

  • Is the team size still relevant now the project is underway?
  • Has the market changed, and if it has, how does that affect this project?
  • Have budget considerations changed in the company overall, and how do they affect this project’s goals?

Good project managers recognize the need to continue to analyze and examine goals, adjusting them so they remain relevant.

Give your goals an alarm clock

Always remember that all goals are time-bound. Project goals still abide by the rules of time and space. A project that should have taken six months could turn into eight, nine, even ten if you don’t have a time limit. Understanding that some goals will take longer to reach than others is reasonable, but there is still a timeline to follow.

If you follow an agile project management method like SCRUM  you may find that your project timelines are negatively affected, so you should weigh the pros and cons of your project management approach.

Establishing SMART Project Management Goals

Now that you have an idea of what SMART goals are, It is time to create your own project management goal. Keep in mind that project management goals are more focused on the long-term, and they are executed through comprehensive team involvement too. What are the different areas you should emphasize?

Project objectives

Project objectives are small steps done in order to meet the goal. These are less complicated tasks assigned to smaller groups. The objectives have more tactical immediate changes. This can feel tedious and stressful but it’s an essential first step to ensuring your objectives are aligned with your goals.

Determine if you need to consider more than one objective. You might only need to identify one objective for a project, as SMART goals should be reliable benchmarks and indicators of how close you are to hitting a bullseye on your target. Be careful not to divvy up your goal into more objectives than necessary as this may lead to overthinking, confusion, and frustration.

Hard data

Sometimes you just run the day with gut feel and instinct. A project manager must also take into account the budget and data. Getting involved in statistics and other metrics widens your options and establishes solid evidence of what needs to be changed or improved.

Is the step you’re going to take viable? Will the product, service, or personnel development affect the organization’s financial performance? Let your data do the goal-setting.

Strategy

Be strategic but know your limits. Remember, be SMART! Thinking macro will move you from a daily to-do list to focus on other underdeveloped areas for your product or service. Nowadays, teams are starting to embrace the digital world through virtual-based ways of working.

How will you stay ahead in the field? What are your plans for your organization to be technology-enabled? Software and cloud solutions have become more reliable and more present in project progress. If properly implemented, strategic goals help in the redistribution of valuable resources.

Career development

An engaged team will deliver their best and help your project achieve its goals. One of the best ways to keep your team motivated is to work with them on their individual career goals. Identify their short-term professional goals and long-term career opportunities. What direction is their role going in?  Your own career goals will also motivate you as project manager to dig deep and find what your real aspirations are. Connect where you are right now with what you want to be in the future.

Examples of SMART Goals in Project Management

Development Goals

Development goals follow the basic project management phases of Initiation, Planning and Design, Construction and Execution, Monitoring and Control, Completion and Review. Developmental goals allow you to step back and focus on the big picture. The challenge is to set the bar high and keep it there.

An example of a SMART developmental goal statement related to the planning and design phase would be:

“By June 10, the team will have planned the implementation protocol, completed one pilot trial to field test the protocol they have designed, and be ready to present feedback on any adjustments needed to the protocol to make it successful within the project budget.”

Performance Goals

Performance is often measured through evaluation at the end of the project. Good communication skills during the project will be a great asset in your post-project review. Update and talk regularly with stakeholders, give milestone feedback to your team members. Review your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Assist them to develop not only their technical skills but also their soft skills. This way, you are also developing great leaders. Remember that you’re not the only one with career goals.

An example of a SMART performance goal includes:

“By the end of the year, Chris will have completed in-house training in financial reporting, been supervised on financial reporting for two projects, and be confident in completing the financial reports for the projects he handles.

Yearly Goals

The rise of the challenge in upskilling and reskilling calls for responsive restructure and reorganization.  It’s part of the project manager role to deliver and complete projects by being adaptable.

Yearly goals for project managers include keeping pace with the developing digital world. This develops reputational strength and reliability. Positive word of mouth improves your clients’ and your team’s trust.

Awareness of the latest industry impacts aids in the future direction of your organization. It can shed light on the higher-level financial, business, and profitability effects these sways may bring.

The SMART way to say your project yearly goals could be:

“I will keep on top of the industry trends throughout the year so that my team can maximize opportunities as they arise. I will do this by setting aside half a day each month to keep up-to-date with developments in the industry, in technology, and in training opportunities. I will distill three points from my research into an email to my team each time.”

Project Managers, Are You Ready?

Setting a SMART goal or objective correctly does not require a genius IQ or a Master’s degree. It does take patience and a general understanding of the team, the stakeholders, and the project. When crafting your SMART goals you’ll need to put in some thought and effort. But following through on these project manager goal examples will make it easier for you to lead your project to successful completion.

How to Build a Risk Management Plan in Project Management [Examples]

Maybe you like surprises. But while surprise parties and gifts make you smile, surprises at work make you cringe. When you’re a project manager or agency owner, you need a risk management plan and a risk management process for avoiding those not-so-pleasant surprises at work.

When you’ve got too much risk

Guess what? There’s no such thing as an accident when it comes to risk management — at least, not a happy one. There are only preventable events you didn’t see coming.

But you should perform a risk analysis for the unforeseen anyway and get cracking on your risk response planning.

“But I have no idea where to start with a risk management process! What does this sh&t even mean?!”

Good news! The gods of the Google algorithm have smiled upon thee. You’ve come to the right place, project manager amigo.

We’re gonna bust open the myths, the how-tos, and the what for’s on all things risk management and help you shore up your project management process , kick as$, and take names.

Where to start with a project risk management plan

The project risks management process starts by identifying as many potential risks as possible, and creating risk analysis plans to avoid, mitigate, or offset those project risks. Use the risk management template below to keep your project stakeholders happy as larks and stress-free.

An overview of where a project risk can happen

Some of these project snafus might be task-based. A project risk might be related to the nature of the work being done, or even where an uncertain event happen in the project management process.

But whatever the project risks you’re facing, you can build a project risks management plan to limit your downtime and lower your potential losses. Here’s how to encourage and empower your team members and project managers with their risk response through an airtight project risk management plan.

How does risk management fit into project management?

Identifying potential problem areas that might affect the outcome of your project is the first step in creating risk management plans, but it’s not the only one.

There are several steps in the risk management process, including:

  • Identifying the a potential project risk
  • Quantifying the effect if that risk should occur (this could be delays, lost revenues or other effects)
  • Determining how likely each risk event is to happen
  • Developing risk mitigation strategies
  • Communicating risk management strategies with project team members
  • Ensuring that risk management plans and procedures are followed
  • Updating the risk assessment whenever new information is available

Often, organizations use a risk assessment matrix to calculate which risks are the most likely to occur and have the highest impact, and then they assign resources and develop strategies accordingly. But let’s look at each of these elements in a little more detail. Of course, low priority risks and those with a low risk score receive less attention than those with a higher risk score. 

Your project management risk plan: Get the deets

The role of risk management in the project planning process is to analyze risks, focus everyone’s attention on what might go wrong, and create accurate risk checklists. This will ensure you have the most effective tools and processes ready if they do happen. 

Our top risk management strategies and plans

1. Identify risks

The first step in creating an effective risk management plan and risk checklist in project management is to understand what the risks are. Every task you undertake will have some potential risks associated with it. And as such, your risk management plan needs to reflect your identified risks.

Action steps for identifying potential risks in your risk management plan

Your first step in creating a risk management plan is to talk to the project team members who will be involved in delivering each task. Ask them what might go wrong.

Sometimes, this might be something as simple as not getting enough information or supplies on time, which would delay delivery. Or there may be technical, budgetary, human resource problems, or any other kinds of issues that can delay your ability to complete each task. 

Team members who are directly involved are best equipped to do this. List all of them as part of your first steps for creating a quantitative risk analysis.

2. Quantify your risk management

The next step in the risk management plan journey is to determine how big a risk is. Some issues are going to be more of a headache than others. Determining the impact of a given risk will help you create an accurate quantitative risk analysis.

It’s imperative that you understand the potential impact and how likely the problem is to occur. During the quantifying process, focus on what the impact of the risk would be, if it were to happen. 

Some questions to ask yourself when creating your super-duper risk management plan:

  • Would it delay progress?
  • If so, would it affect other tasks and teams?
  • Would there be financial losses?
  • Would you need to spend more money to fix the problem?

Make notes of the possible impact of each risk on your risk management plan list — both the qualitative and quantitative impact.

3. Likelihood and risk assessment

Even if a risk could have catastrophic consequences if it were to happen, if it is very unlikely to happen, it might be less important than some risks that might look less significant at first glance.

Many project managers use numbers to rank the likelihood of risks occurring in their risk management plan.

If there is no chance of it happening, assign a zero. Low risk would be 1, moderate risk 2, higher risk 3, high risk 4 and very likely 5. In risk management, this is called a risk score.

You’ll want to spend more time developing risk mitigation strategies for risks that are moderate to very likely to happen and ruin your day.

4. Mitigate and identify risks

Risk mitigation strategies are all about how you will either prevent something from happening, or if it does happen, limit the qualitative and quantitative impact on the project.

This might mean that you assign more resources at the start of the project or use specific tools or processes that are less likely to create the conditions for the risk to occur. Spend time thinking about everything that could go wrong, and how you could lower the risk or effect. 

5. Communication and implementation of risk response

These two steps coexist on most projects. You need to ensure that every team member knows how to react when any assessed risk happens, and you also need to make sure that they follow the procedure.

Knowledge and action are the two key pillars of effective risk management! So empower your project manager and their team to make good decisions in planning their risk response.

6. Update and review your risk management plan

Very few (if any) projects are the same on the day they are completed as the day they were started. Scopes change, things are added, and some milestones removed.

So, it makes sense that your risk assessment should change and evolve too.

Whenever there’s a major change to the work that needs to be done to deliver a successful project, you should update, add and amend your risk assessment plan. 

Here are your action steps for effective project risk management

There are no (happy) accidents. And a good risk management plan will ensure that when and if things go pear-shaped on your project, you know exactly how to react. No nail biting required.

  • Know your risks. You can’t prevent a disaster if you don’t know it’s even a thing.
  • Quantify your risks. What’s the biggest log of you-know-what that can hit the fan? The smallest? Grade and number your risks so you know what’s the most important to avoid.
  • Develop and communicate a risk response plan. Make sure your team members and project stake holders are involved, are on the case, and know what’s up.
  • Be on top of things when it comes to the often inevitable project changes. Make it a priority to reassess your identified risks and make any necessary changes to your risk management planning. 

Quick tip: risk identification isn’t a quick one-and-done type of thing.

You’ve got to tailor risk identification to each project. Plus, it’s a given that your project will change in some fashion at some point.

So, pivoting your risk identification is vital to manage risk and keep your project running smoothly.

Ready to level up this biotch? Schedule a FREE session with us to get the ball rolling on your project risk plan.

9 Best Project Management Methodologies to Help Run Your Business

More and more of today’s businesses are organized to run on systems that are project-based. But what is project management? How do project management methodologies help keep your project on track? As a first-time project manager, what will serve as your guide and help minimize difficulties?

projects

The most common difficulties are caused by disorganization, low productivity, and the lack of a project management methodology. Optimizing the project management process for success starts with the selection of a methodology.

If you are new to the world of project management methodologies, you will be surprised to learn just how many different options there currently are. This article will give you an idea of how to run your business through project management, and give you the low-down on nine of the best project management methodologies for your enterprise.

What is Project Management?

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), “Project management is the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to deliver something of value to people”.

Project management is the process of working towards project objectives and goals. Projects differ in nature but they all have a deliverable — a product or a service, a beginning, and an end. The efficient use of a group of people and resources within a given timeframe constitutes the management of a project from start to finish.

team work: people holding each others hands

What Are the Benefits of Using Project Management?

Hone Existing Skills

One advantage of project management is that staff can do tasks efficiently. This means each project team member is visibly working to their skill set. Both micro and complex projects elicit gains for a project team member because they are using existing skills and building on them. This makes teamwork positive and affirming.

Minimize Risks

Mitigating risks is crucial because the project schedule and budget are on the line. Having a project management methodology will help you reduce risks you encounter in the duration of the project, as well as providing guidance in preparing for contingencies and other events that might occur during the project planning and execution.

Time-Cost Efficiency

Alongside the need to minimize risks is the need for time and cost management. Project management methodology allows project managers to optimize physical, financial, and human resources. Project management helps to maintain schedules and deadlines.

scale

Tools To Get Project Managers Started

There are several types of tools you can use in managing a project. These project management tools will help the entire project team in organizing tasks, budgeting resources, and maintaining timelines. These tools also help projects become transparent to team members and accessible for project managers. Here are some of them:

Project Management Tools

Project management tools keep you on track with what’s happening at the back-end, whether these are updates on where you are in a task, a progress checker, or simple reports (daily, weekly, monthly, or even annually). They help you gather data on your project position and will help you leverage future assignments.

Another type of project management tool is the integration with your e-mail, CRM, or database. Using them effectively means you can streamline important updates regarding the project status so nothing gets missed.

Database Tools

Database tools are the tools you use to compile and centralize files and other documents. A master list, an Excel sheet, or software consolidates data systematically. Relevant data includes invoices, vendor and employee contracts, suppliers lists, project meeting agenda and minutes of staff meetings, and even recorded video conferences and images.

Process Tools

The process tools are templates on how to work on a specific task or a section of a project so you don’t have to repeatedly discuss these with team members. Process tools include the standard operating procedures, 101, project rules, timeline, objectives, and even onboarding documents for new suppliers and team members. These process tools are usually on a need-to-know basis and are covered by non-disclosure agreements for the non-administrative members.

Communication Tools

Communication tools are methods that help team members convey their reports, relay their concerns and relate to other team members and project leaders. These tools may be in the form of chat, e-mail, virtual calls that enable teleconferences and staff meetings. Project leaders, external agents, sub-teams, and senior project managers may also form their own sub-groups to communicate efficiently.

slack

Time Tracking Tools

Time tracking tools allow team heads to maintain project calendars and keep up with the timetable. Schedules can be modified and adjusted, along with reported working hours for team members. Time tracking tools also help define task dependencies or the logical relationship of one task to another that needs to be completed before moving forward. It is helpful if the time tracking tools connect with the project management and database tools mentioned above to make it easier to work across applications and project requirements.

Project Management Process For Business

The process is the steps that will take you from initiation to completion of a project. This entire development process may be well-defined but there is a tendency for overlap. Also, you may be in a later phase of the project but find it necessary to go back to the first step of the process in order to give the project a clearer direction. According to Harvard Business Review, there are four stages: planning, build-up, implementation, and close-out.

Planning

Planning is the key phase in the process because the project manager has to identify exactly what the specifications of the project will be.

There may not be a problem that needs to be solved in the first place; or the project can be done in a very simple way, without needing an elaborate project management approach.

sticky notes on a board

This is also where project leaders create a work breakdown structure (WBS) to determine the extent and range of each milestone or task. The WBS will include:

  • Project objectives – what are the goals of doing this project? what is the desired result?
  • Stakeholders – who are the external and internal pinpoint persons or contributors during the length of the project?
  • Resources – where will the people, physical, and financial resources come from?
  • Scope and limitations – what are the estimated requirements of the project and what are their boundaries?
  • Critical tasks – which tasks are dependent on each other and which are complex in a form that can be delegated into smaller tasks?
  • Timetable – what is the duration of the project and when is the start and end of its lifespan?

To be able to pinpoint the essentials, you need a complete checklist that provides a comprehensive guide to scalable effective project management.

These are only some of the factors that give rise to the path that the project will take in order to move forward. They may be simple, but without knowing these fundamentals the project may not be feasible at all. The planning stage also gives a bigger picture of the project you are contemplating.

calendar

Build-Up

Build-up is the part of the process where you keep your project going. This means you have to identify areas of responsibility, and the methodology involved to keep the project moving. You will need to decide how you will measure the success of the project, how to run the necessary tests and trials, how to conduct the analysis of the data you gather, and so on. These are the key questions necessary to push the project forward and to make sure what you have planned is deliverable. Once you have answers to these questions and all the people and resources are in place, then you can move on to the next phase which is project implementation.

According to Harvard Business Review, the best way to determine your costs is to break down the project into categories: personnel, travel, training, supplies, space, research, capital expenditure, and overheads. Remember to place a maker-checker system to keep the finances in check throughout the project.

Project leaders sometimes use a Gantt Chart, a plotted representation of tasks and activities displayed versus time. A Gantt chart allows the team or team leaders to view the project duration, how long each task or event will last, what overlaps there are, and even include the cost and resources needed for each task. This serves as a visual rendition of the whole project from start to finish.

gantt chart on a laptop

It is also important to hold a kick-off or launch meeting. This is done in order to set the team in place. It’s where clarification on tasks and timeline are explained. The meeting also highlights project members’ roles and responsibilities, as well as the project goals and objectives, so as to ensure everyone’s ideas are aligned.

Implementation

Implementation of the project is also known as project execution. In this phase, the planned deliverables are produced, and the action begins. It is the most frustrating and most rewarding part of the project process because of the immense work the team has to put in to get the project off the ground and underway.

The key during project implementation is monitoring. Not everything will go as smoothly as planned and not everything that happens will have been foreseen. Changes will need to be made: to reallocate resources, identify and find solutions to emerging risks, and implement new directions.

Project leaders must be able to read red flags early so preventive measures can be taken. This is where careful maintenance and control come in. It is not enough just to be on the lookout — efficient project management also means initiating corrective action if necessary.

a group of co-workers sitting around a table with laptops

It is also imperative that monitoring and control are applied throughout the project’s progress and performance. This means that the project movement is ensured and there is advancement along with development in the execution of each task involved in the process.

Quality control is also observed in this part of the project. It is defined by the Association for Project Management as the inspection, measurement, and testing of project output to make sure it meets the accepted criteria. This is the verification that deliverables are produced at their highest quality and fastest time possible and that any problems are prevented from passing to the end consumer.

Solutions for Common Problems in Project Implementation

  • Time slippage

The project manager can confirm project progress by checking on task dependencies and time-constraint activities. These are crucial tasks that need to be considered when creating a realistic timeframe. Look back at the Gantt Chart and make sure all tasks are plotted properly and scheduled deadlines are established. Make sure the time tracker tools used are appropriate with the nature of the project.

  • Scope creep

Scope creep happens when there are diversions made during the project execution that are not part of the planning phase. Issues arising in the middle of project implementation are normal, but there is proper control over the project changes. Appropriate documentation of changes like contract amendments and signed requests is needed. It is also important that all changes made secure approval from the proper authority whether from the immediate team heads, project leaders, other external or internal stakeholders, or from the senior management.

  • Quality issues

These include quality planning during replanning. A good quality standard will give focus to the next project output and make the required improvements on the current deliverable. It’s also vital that the project manager reviews the test plan to assure sample size, criterion, protocols, and procedures are correct and observed. Quality control comes hand in hand with quality assurance to provide confidence in the result produced at the end of the project.

  • People problems

Periodic meetings can also be called in order to stay focused on the project path. Agendas should be structured, prioritizing small targets or goals for the week or for the month complemented with progress reports. You can also meet with stakeholders regularly to keep tabs on updates.

Close-Out

All projects have a lifespan and all projects eventually come to their end. Project close-out happens during the presentation of the final deliverable to the client or stakeholder.

As a project manager, your job is to tie all ends together and conclude project activities. Wrap things up with project evaluation to analyze if the project has really come to a close. Compare the current project progress position with the goals identified at the beginning of the project. Post-evaluation for the team is also important as part of their debriefing and to assess the learning and discoveries made.

sticky notes

It is also vital to note whether the project comes to a close by termination or by transfer to a different team or organization, to allow the time needed for transition and proper turnover. Make sure all contracts have ended and have been documented correctly.

Project Management Methodology

Project management methodology means having a clear way for a team to manage the development and execution of the processes through the project management life-cycle. The right project management methodology will minimize risks and reduce, if not completely avoid, failures.

books stacked on a table

A variety of different project management methodologies are described here. Traditional project management methodologies tend to be linear in the sequencing of the phases of project development. They are also known as heavyweight project management. An Agile project management methodology is more flexible or iterative—something that is developed or adapted along the way.

Popular Project Management Methodologies

Waterfall or traditional approach

The Waterfall project management methodology is used for short and relatively uncomplicated projects. Lists of tasks are performed sequentially. No changes are implemented once the project has started, and thus it is important that the planning stage is very detailed.

measuring table

There is a final stage at the end of the project which is Maintenance. This covers the continuous use of the product by the customer in order to discover features for improvement until such time that the client is satisfied with the final result.

One of the software products for this traditional project management approach is Microsoft Project because it supports linear processes, single timelines, fixed deliverables, and a continuous workflow which are the main points of the Waterfall methodology. However, it is quite an expensive option.

Kanban

Kanban is derived from the Japanese translation of ‘visual signal’ where the fundamental principle is that you must know where you are before you get to where you want to go.

kanban sticky notes

The Kanban project management methodology uses an assembly-line concept to keep tasks moving along. The main goal of this methodology is to improve efficiency and flexibility. A Kanban board is used to map out the tasks involved in completing a project. Kanban cards represent each task. They are placed on a Kanban Board which has columns To-Do, Doing, and Done. Each card may also contain a specific policy, rules, due date, and even notes on resources involved for that task. This helps team leaders to navigate through the project as they see the position of the tasks. This aids the clear progress of the project.

Most business owners enjoy using the Kanban methodology because it provides a continuous flow of work. The automobile industry and product development firms have used Kanban successfully for years. Today’s common project management methodology tools like Trello and Asana incorporate digital versions of the Kanban Board.

Critical Path Method (CPM)

Critical Path Method (CPM) or Critical Path Analysis (CPA) is a type of project management methodology where the critical activities are prioritized. This means that the other tasks can be delayed and resources are reallocated in order to focus on the prioritized tasks.

The critical tasks are differentiated from the non-critical tasks by means of a CPM algorithm, and this gives the project a clearer picture of the earliest possible time of completion with the least amount of float. The float or slack is the calculated time delay a project can sustain for a task and still complete on time.

critical path method

To know more about CPM, team leaders must define the project’s Critical Path — the direction the project will use in order to realistically meet the deadline. This entails taking a detailed look at all the tasks, knowing how long it will take for each task to complete, and recognizing the task dependencies for the entire project.

Calculating the Critical Path

  1. Enumerate ALL tasks and activities involved in the project
  2. Identify the task dependencies
  3. Create a Critical Path Analysis Chart, also known as the network diagram, or the order of tasks in the project
  4. Identify the time needed for each task
  5. Calculate the earliest time to start and the latest time to start for each task
  6. Identify the float, or lee-way, between the earliest and latest possible start times for each task
  7. The activities with zero (0) float make up the critical path

With today’s technological advancement, the Critical Path Method can now be integrated online with the use of LucidChart and other critical path generators. This enables project leaders to have more time to focus on the critical activities rather than calculating each task manually. However, because of the complex nature of projects being implemented today, the network diagram will evolve during the project execution. With these changes, the critical path may not be accurate anymore, resulting in constant revisions through the implementation stage. The more you account for these changes before the execution of the project, the more accurate your critical path will be.

Lean

The Lean project management methodology focusing on providing products that give customer value while minimizing waste. This method also gives emphasis to 3 kinds of waste – Muda (waste of time and effort), Mura (inconsistent processes), and Muri (abuse of equipment and people).

Compared to traditional project management methodologies, the Lean methodology is customer-centric and aims to deliver the project at the earliest possible time using minimal resources. The project cycle revolves around improving the deliverable until the customer is satisfied. It aims to give value to cycle time – the time it would take for a finished product to be delivered to the customer – through a Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle, so that the next deliverables are given to the client more efficiently. Streamlined workflows are used to detect and remove wasteful practices.

The Lean project management method is a great fit for smaller teams who want to deliver significant value without increasing budgets.

co-workers sitting around a table with laptops

Lean project management methods are incorporated in most of today’s software. But traditional approaches are still being used, such as:

  • 5 Whys: It is the process of asking Why from the root problem until the 5th Why which is where the team leaders derive their solutions.
  • Flowchart: Flowcharts help identify the predecessor and successor tasks while identifying the bottlenecks and how to address them
  • Fishbone diagram: This is used to know the cause-and-effect relationship of a project issue through a visual presentation which guides in generating solutions faster.

Lean metrics are used to measure where teams need to be improving. The drawback of this method is that by focusing on small detail, a larger perspective may be lost.

Agile

Agile project management methodologies are centered on a systematized set of repetitive processes in order to achieve successful results.

Business owners who are looking for a project management methodology that improves the speed and quality of deliverables usually choose Agile. This project management methodology uses short project cycles known as sprints. These sprints help teams continually improve services and products throughout the progression of a project. Higher quality deliverables are possible with Agile methodology due to the flexibility of sprints.

productivity

What is SCRUM in Agile methodology?

SCRUM is a framework within the Agile project management methodology that aims to help solve complex problems within the project. First, an assigned ‘Scrum Master’ or Scrum team leader translates the complex problem into a product backlog which is then broken down into several sprints. The Scrum team then looks at how to develop the work in the sprint, reviews and inspects it, closes it in a Sprint Retrospective, and moves on to the next sprint.

Agile vs Lean methodologies

Both agile and lean project management methodologies focus on giving an end-product or service that is of the most significant value. They both aim to do so by constantly observing the process and making changes along the way to perfect what the customer wants, while focusing on the team rather than other tangible resources used in the project duration.

The Lean method was founded in the manufacturing industry where the production of high-quality deliverables is critical. Agile methodology on the other hand originated in the software development industry where the final product is expected to be tested again and again in order to create the final product.

Another difference is that the Lean method focuses more on the production process while the Agile method relies on variation and rework – the development process. Agile’s focus on the development process is considered expensive and wasteful with the Lean project management method.

Alternative Project Management Methodologies

PRINCE 2

Projects in Controlled Environments or PRINCE was developed by an IT-based UK government support company. At first, it was only used as a step-by-step guide in creating IT projects. This evolved into a 2nd edition and was used as a project management methodology in numerous UK organizations and later across the globe.

2 people sitting on a table with laptops

It became the go-to project method by businesses mainly because of its organization-based structure. PRINCE 2 divides a large complex project into several parts that are more manageable and therefore more suitable to the corporate environment. It features the following steps:

  1. Identify the problem by making a project brief
  2. Identify the different questions involving the problem: the whats, whens, and hows by making a project scope
  3. Monitor project initiation, implementation, and close-out by the project board. The project board is composed of representatives from both the customer side and the supplier or specialist side.
  4. Control of stages by the project management body reporting progress to the project board, before moving on to the planning of the next stage by the project board who review and approve the current stage deliverable.
  5. Close the project by project manager transition and project evaluation and recommendations.

Monday.com has several PRINCE 2 themes available depending on the requirements, size, and structure of your project and your team. It is fully customizable to suit your business needs and can definitely help manage complex projects.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a project management method of improving quality and ensuring consistency of output. The process uses empirical and statistical quality management methods together with specialized personnel to eliminate errors.

Introduced in 1986 in Motorola, the process is effective by 99.99966% in defect elimination and variation reduction. It also helps identify the fundamental cause of an error and enables a business to improve products and services. Six Sigma equips a business with techniques to improve structure, quality of process, and expansion of bottom-line profit.

To develop expertise, project teams need to be trained and awarded belts after each training level, which progress from White Belts to Yellow Belts, Green Belts, Black Belts, and Master Black Belts. The White Belts and Yellow Belts are introduced to the Six Sigma vocabulary and process improvement concepts.

team of co-workers sitting around a table with laptops

Green Belts work on projects assigned by Black Belts, such as data collection and analysis. Black Belts manage projects while Master Black Belts implement methods of applying six Sigma throughout the organization.

  • Brainstorming -Six Sigma uses brainstorming as the primary mode of the problem-solving process where participants exchange and discuss ideas in an open session moderated by the Black Belts.
  • The root cause analysis – the process uses various questions to get to the bottom of the matter. Five is the approximate number of questions asked, but they can be fewer or more depending on the clarity required.
  • Customers’ opinion – the process uses internal and external means to acquire customers’ feedback on the products and services. The method notes the diversification of customers needs to help in solving the problem.
  • The 5s structure – the structure is derived from the Japanese basis of workplace habits. The system eliminates waste and improves consistency by setting aside non-efficient equipment or resources. It uses five steps: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain.

Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM)

A critical chain is the longest path in a plan which might prevent a project from being completed in the shortest time if all the resources were available. These resources include people, equipment, finances, and location or physical space.

co-workers in the office

Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) is a type of project management methodology that focuses on task resources. Unlike Critical Path Management (CPM), CCPM makes sure that all resources are available at the time of need in order to successfully complete a task or series of tasks. It focuses on providing safety buffers throughout the project duration so there is no risk of exceeding the project schedule:

  1. Project buffers – a project buffer is extra time added to the time of the last task before completion. This means that if there are delays to the critical chain, the completion date will stay the same.
  2. Feeding buffers – these are the buffers that are placed after the non-critical tasks in order to maintain the schedule of the critical chain.
  3. Resource buffers – these are the buffers to ensure there are enough resources, so that the critical chain can be maintained. The protocol of adding a 10% contingency to a budget is an example of this kind of buffer.
  4. Capacity buffers – these are optional buffers that are only accessed during times where there are issues like a shortage of resources. They work by identifying which tasks are using the limited resource, and rescheduling less important or non-critical tasks on other projects so that the critical task has priority on the resource at the time it needs it.

presentation with sticky notes

Chain management activates multiple tasks at once and allows teams to look at a project from a big picture perspective. It also aims to avoid delays and increases the team’s productivity as focus and energy are maintained throughout the project. By including worst-case scenarios for the project’s resources, contingencies are taken care of, and risks are minimized by the buffer system.

However, using CCPM imposes limitations. One of these is overestimation when it comes to the duration of tasks. Because project leaders create buffers, this increases the time allotted for each task resulting in wide gaps between project planning deadlines and CCPM schedules. It may not be suitable for projects with time constraints as this project methodology requires an increase in allocations for the project timeframe.

Green Project Management

This project management methodology integrates a green philosophy into a project. According to Green PM, this method encourages project leaders to be more conscientious when running a project. This may include considering efficient energy use, or eco-friendly packaging.

The aim is not to put the environment at the forefront of every decision made during the project, but to demonstrate that the company manages projects integrating sustainable methods.

The Green project method is more than just the ecological impact of a project, but the long-term change in perspective as team leaders incorporate sustainable planning, initiation, implementation, and close-out. It is the holistic approach to producing equitable, viable, and bearable deliverables by balancing the aspect of ethics. It is built around the idea of corporate social responsibility taking into account profit, people, and the planet.

What’s Next For My Business?

Now that you have an idea of the different project management knowledge and methodologies, what will happen next? Project management is a tough challenge, especially for business owners who take the role of project managers.

cup of coffee on a table

Find the perfect tools and upgrade them

Invest in tools that can be used and maximized at their true potential. Some software, databases, cloud-based apps are doing only one thing and it can be tricky to maintain all of them especially if they come with annual or monthly costs. Consider using just one or two tools and subscribe to their premium accounts to unlock more features that will help you organize your project more efficiently.

Centralize documents

Files are meant to be kept in a systematic manner, in such a way that you, as well as the rest of the team, are able to find them. Discrepancies in document handling will not only be a source of delays but also show you have a disorganized team. Change systems to ensure files and locations are up-to-date, and check your systems for secure and confidential data retrieval and storage.

Clean up your workflow

It is a team effort to create a standardized workflow that works. Do not hold on to things that aren’t working for you, as it will only make it harder to unclog your way to project management freedom. Use this as an opportunity for optimizing your workflow and building the necessary templates that will help alleviate your project process in the future.

Train people

Learn how to delegate and coach people into becoming team leaders. This will not be a hindrance to your role as project manager, but a way to localize administrative functions in the team.

team member leading the discussion and presentation

Worried that they may not have enough training in their field? Do a test run by including potential leaders in your external decision tree. This will not only help them to develop critical thinking skills but also help you as a project manager to have more options during the decision-making process.

Measure performance

Ensure that you take the post-project evaluation seriously. This is the basis of your project analysis: whether you have done a good job, what areas there are for improvement, what has the team learned, and what do external parties think of your performance. Always be open to suggestions and comments or reactions. Let the assessment cover both the negative and the positive so you can grow and develop along with the whole team.

two people celebrating by giving each other high fives

Need more help with your business operations? Want to find out more about project management? The best investment you can give yourself is our Clone Yourself Project Management System. Learn how to here: https://discovery.scaletime.co/cy-project-management

5 Best Project Management Methodologies to Help Run Your Business

On average, project management failure costs businesses around the world over $50 billion a year

Yes, you read that right: $50 billion.

These failures are typically caused by issues involving disorganization, low productivity, and the lack of a project management methodology. 

Want to stop throwing money down the drain? I guess you do.

Select a project management methodology. Relax, there are many different options, and you can choose the one that suits you best.

Here we share the 5 best project management methodologies so you can run your business like a champ.

1. Kanban

Do you want to improve your efficiency and flexibility? Kanban is for you.

The Kanban project management methodology uses an assembly-line mentality to keep various tasks moving along. 

A board is used to map out the various tasks involved in completing a project. Most business owners enjoy using the Kanban methodology because it provides a continuous flow of work. 

Teams that are looking for a high degree of output and improved efficiency can benefit from the use of this methodology. 

For years, automakers and product development firms have used Kanban successfully. 

2. Waterfall

¿Have you recently taken on a short and relatively uncomplicated project? Then using the Waterfall methodology is a wise move.

With the Waterfall methodology, you make a list of tasks that need to be performed in sequential order. As each of these tasks are completed, you will check them off.

There is no way to lose track. 

When using the Waterfall project management methodology, you will not be able to move ahead with a new task unless the tasks on the list before it have been completed. 

Tip: If you want this methodology to succeed, put together a comprehensive step-by-step plan. 

3. Lean

Are you trying to accomplish more without using tons of resources? If so, the Lean project management methodology might be a good fit for your business. 

The Lean methodology requires teams to break down their projects into smaller tasks that can be accomplished by one team member. Streamlined workflows are then used to detect and remove wasteful practices. 

It’s a great fit for smaller teams that want to deliver significant value without increasing budgets. 

Pairing this methodology with Clone Yourself Project Management Training is a great way to make your team more efficient. This training helps you identify the right methodology for your projects. With the project management concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications included in this training, you can achieve your goals with ease.  

4. Agile

Business owners who are looking for a project management methodology that improves the speed and quality of deliverables usually choose Agile. 

This project management methodology uses short project cycles known as sprints. These sprints help teams continually improve services and products throughout the progression of a project. 

Higher quality deliverables are possible with Agile due to the flexibility of sprints. Teams looking for speed and flexibility can benefit from the implementation of the Agile product management methodology. 

5. Critical Path

A crucial component of achieving project management freedom is choosing the best methodology. If you have taken on a large-scale project with lots of moving parts, you need to consider using the Critical Path Method as your project management methodology of choice. 

With this methodology, you need to lay out all of the activities need to complete a project. These activities need to be organized based on how long they will take to complete and the resources needed to do the work. This detailed breakdown allows you to see how various parts of your project are connected. 

Get Your Team Involved

Now that you have these project management methodologies examples, it is time to select the right fit for your business.

 Including your team members in the selection of a new methodology is also a good way to improve engagement and morale.

What Are Project Management Tools? Best Tools for Planning Your Next Project

It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife. When you don’t have the right tools for a job, it’s like ra-iii-ainnnn on your wedding day. 

And when it comes to project management, you need the right tools to do the job well. 

Project management tools are the tools a project manager uses to manage their tasks and job duties. 

Some projects are small and easily manageable with a simple spreadsheet, while others may be large, complex, and require something more robust to keep things on track.

Simply put, the best project management tools help PMs delegate, assign, and follow up on progress. They need to track that progress, see any upcoming issues or bottlenecks, and react before these problems become zomg, pants on fire, danger Will Robinson. 

Plus, project managers must have quantifiable reporting and benchmarks to provide updates and timelines to interested parties. 

Let’s get into the why, how, and what of project management tools below. 

They see you scrollin’. They hatin’. 

Why your PMs need collaborative project management tools

A collaboration tool is vital for giving and receiving comments, feedback, and progress reporting from team members — sans the lengthy email chains. And we’ve all been there, scrolling through days worth of back-and-forth missives and getting totally lost in the process. 

Collaborative project management tools put a stop to all that time-wasting. 

Documentation is also crucial for keeping all critical files and needed resources in a central location where you can find them easily and with a few clicks of a button. 

The best project management tools are:

  • User-friendly
  • Provide the project manager with the specific solutions they need
  • Don’t require a lot of training or time to get up to speed
  • Give you project management freedom

Up next, the four most crucial and best project management tools and strategies we highly recommend at Scaletime.

#1. Critical Path Method for smooth project management 

The Critical Path Method (CPM) is a technique for assessing large projects.

No more overwhelm. No more panicky feeling when you have a beast of a project to divvy up and parcel out. Critical Path Methods make it much easier and a replicable process, too. 

With Critical Path, the project manager can better plan and schedule assets by identifying which tasks are the most crucial or essential. The manager can then schedule jobs and assets inside of the project to meet deadlines and stay within budget.

To effectively use CPM:

  • The project must have definable tasks
  • The tasks must be independent of one another and not rely on other parts of the project to be completed
  • The task must be orderable

How to use it:

The manager begins by determining all tasks or jobs within the project and assigning them a letter or number. If the project can be broken into subgroups, the numbering can reflect this, A1, A2, B1, etc. At this time, it’s also beneficial to determine the completion time for each task and which other tasks, if any, are immediate predecessors. 

The tasks are then placed in a timeline and identified by circles containing their letter or number and the number of days. Managers will start with the first, or “Start” task. This task will be the beginning task, one which has no predecessors. 

The next task will be the first task with the “Start” task as its predecessor, and there will be an arrow from the Start task to the second. A brief identification is also possible, but keeping the description brief is essential to improve clarity.

Some tasks within the CPM will branch off from the identical predecessor and may form chains or revert to the previous mainline when completed; it will depend on the tasks. The final circle will be the “Finish” circle, with only predecessors and no tasks following it. 

Laying out the project in this method will allow the project manager to see the entirety of the task and the timing for the overall project and each critical task. 

This will enable them to determine if changes need to be made, handle resource management, or keep an eye on time-sensitive areas. It will also give them a reasonable estimate of the completion time for the project.

#2. Work Breakdown Structure

A work breakdown structure is another example of a great project management tool that’s highly strategic. The work breakdown structure allows the project manager to break down and organize the elements of the project into manageable sections. 

Here’s how it works:

The project is broken down into elements, each element being a service or piece of data or task that needs to be dealt with or completed. 

The process of breaking the project down into its components allows the manager to understand each piece of the puzzle, to which they will be assigning costs, person-hours, and timelines. 

The elements are then laid out in a hierarchical or tree-like structure, with groupings according to the needed outcomes of the project.

It’s best to have no more than four levels of hierarchy. If there’s a need for more, it may be worth going back and reassessing the components of that element or elements.

#3. Project Evaluation and Review Technique

The Project Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) is similar to other project management reporting tools. It maps a path through the project but is different in that it involves making three estimates of the project’s success. 

Action items are numbered and laid out in a flowchart, with arrows coming from predecessor tasks. If an item has no dependency, it should be placed above or below the job before it and to the right. 

With the PERT method, the manager develops three estimates for the same work: 

  • The first is the expected estimate, which is the reasonable estimate for the project completion assuming standard workflow. 
  • Next is the optimistic estimate, which assumes no hold-ups or errors in the project’s timeline.
  • Finally, the pessimistic estimate assumes things will go wrong, and time will be lost correcting and completing the task.

With all three PERT charts in hand, a manager can have a firm idea of best-case and worst-case scenarios and affect the project completion timeline. 

#4. Best Project Management tool: Gantt Chart

The Gantt chart allows a project manager to layout the project schedule visually while showing the relationship between items or tasks on the chart. The objects or tasks are laid out on the vertical axis, while the horizontal axis tracks the time needed. 

This approach gives the manager a solid idea of the length of each item while being able to place them according to dependencies. 

A solid bar inside of each object can show the project progress of a given item. Many different project management software tools include Gantt charts as part of their standard builds.

Let’s take action! Project Management Software to organize your team

Thousands of tasks.

Deadlines coming to an end.

Don’t panic, there is a solution. You need project management software.

Choosing the best project management software is essential; you’ll need to consider whether the software is scalable, useable by all team members, and solves your problem. 

You might need a time tracking software solution or something that deals with expense tracking. Perhaps you’re most in need of collaboration software. 

Consider some of the critical aspects of project management software that you’ll find most useful. 

Does the software handle task lists, schedules, and file sharing? Does it allow for smooth communication and reporting?

You can follow the PMI project management tools recommendations or even have something developed for you. Some project management planning tools have paid plans, allowing you to budget them across the length of a project.

Let’s look at some of the best online project management tools that might help you with project planning, resource planning and solve your issues.

#1 Microsoft Project: Tried and True

Microsoft Project has been the leader in the project management software tool arena for a long time, and that reputation has been earned. MS Project is a product with years of development behind it. It integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products and is at the top of the list of project management tools that integrate with outlook.

What does it offer?

–  Grid views for managing task lists

– A board view for using a kanban board strategy, and timeline views for Gantt charts. 

– It also handles resource management, timesheets and has several pre-built reporting tools. 

Some project managers may find MS Project isn’t as versatile and agile when it comes to cloud and web-based features.

#2 Basecamp: Collaboration Software

Basecamp is firmly centered around the concept of collaborative software. It fits in the project management world and offers ease and flexibility in connecting with your project team. Task management and project scheduling can be handled within the app, and there’s a file management tool as well. 

Basecamp is a bit lighter on things like Gantt charts and reporting, and you might find yourself needing to turn to other tools to supplement different needs.  If the core of the issue is getting the entire team on the same page, then Basecamp will help you do that.

#3 Trello: Visual Organization

Trello is also a great online project management tool for collaboration with your team, but where it really shines is in providing visual organization. Trello is a kanban board-based application that allows you to see at a glance how things are progressing and who is working on which aspects of the project.

Trello is flexible enough for small projects and works well within software development teams.

Trello allows team members to leave notes and comments, and you can update everyone on task status and deadlines in a way that’s easy to see and follow.

#4 JIRA: Agile Teams

If you’re working within an agile environment, things happen quickly, and you’ll need a simple project management software tool that can help you manage tasks. JIRA allows you to track tasks and follow up on resolutions for complete tasks.

Project managers can use JIRA to assign tasks, new issues, or bugs that pop up and tell the status of existing issues or problems. It supports kanban board usage as well to provide an at-a-glance update.

You can create new tasks, assign specific project tasks to either team leaders or an individual team member, and integrate with Outlook or other email solutions to instantly notify them.

#5 Asana, Large Project Overview 

I’m pretty sure Asana has its own fan club.

Loved by many, hated by none

Asana is another excellent collaborative project management tool that excels in overviews and big-picture information. It includes features like video messaging within the app, which project managers can use to describe or explain a specific feature or issue elsewhere in Asana. It’s excellent for building on the fly to-do lists.

It has integrated scheduling and reporting but might be lacking in areas like resource management tools, expense tracking, or budget tools. It is well suited for larger organizations and can integrate with Salesforce. Asana works well for projects with set goals and complex projects with a lot of task dependencies.

#6 Wrike: Gantt Charts

Wrike is a project management software tool that places itself at the center of your project and solves many of the project manager’s most critical needs. It’s a project management tool that also provides team collaboration and task lists. 

Wrike’s Gantt chart tool can import information from other software task management tools like Microsoft Project, and you can also use it to manage multiple projects from one place. You can sort out work management tasks, project scope and also plan projects.

With the communications tools Wrike offers, you can share the Gantt information with the team and receive updates and comments.

#7 Harvest: Time Tracking Software

Harvest is a web-based project management tool that specializes in time tracking. You can manage projects, create tasks, schedule task, create invoices, and track time and expense reporting. Harvest is available to use through a desktop or mobile device, allowing the team to be updated and track progress from anywhere.

It provides tracking and reporting to show you when team members aren’t be utilized or where a possible time crunch may occur. You can track team members’ availability and receive hourly prompts with updates on projects and personnel. This type of solution allows you to keep on top of the status of your team’s work. 

Stay on time and in budget with the best project management tools and strategies 

With so many task management tools available, a project manager’s job can become more manageable and less prone to crisis. 

Odds are, you’re trying to manage multiple projects rather than a single one, so being organized is vital. 

Taking advantage of these project management tools will give you a firm understanding of your projects, where they might need some extra resources, and where you might need to firm up the timelines.

So follow the Project Management checklist, make use of these and other project management tools, and you’ll be comfortably in charge of things. 

If you need more help, it’s right here.

KPIs for Growth: Measuring Project Management

 

“I love flying blind! Oh look, we’re about to fly headfirst into a mountain.” And it’s a mountain of misplaced expectations, lost brains, and absolute disorder. 

We all like and need certainty in our lives. And when it comes to scaling an agency, knowing where we’re winning and where we need a little bit of help is vital to agency growth. 

Hardly anything happens in a vacuum and effective project management is another one of those things. You need to make sure you’ve got the right tools and processes in place for scaling and growing. 

Because bottom line? You can’t scale chaos. 

So, how do you define KPIs for project management? It’s ScaleTime to the rescue to right your flight and steer you clear of the Mountain of Chaos. 

Check out our top growth KPIs for measuring project management tools to see just how well (or not) your current project management processes are working. 

Hold up — what makes a good KPI anyway? 

KPI stands for Key Performance Indicator

Every internut (typo and it stays) guru and their uncle will throw a million KPIs you must measure or else!!! at you. But I want you to focus on KPIs that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Anything less, and you’re going to get overwhelmed. So let’s focus on the following to keep us on track. 

Growth KPI #1: Project Run Rate 

Gotta keep an eye on that budget. Success isn’t just about right deliverables, although that’s vital too. You also need to keep an eye on expense efficiency. 

Unforeseen issues can and often do occur during the course of a project. Project Run Rate can help you see how, why, and where budget shifts need to happen. 

Projects that keep running over budget are going to raise an eyebrow when it comes to your agency’s integrity. So, track the Cost Performance Index, or CPI KPI (catchy, right?) to measure how well you’re doing. 

Project Run Rate = Earned Value/Actual Costs

Earned Value is how much work’s gotten done at a specified cost. Actual Costs are pretty straightforward — they’re the money that’s already been spent on the project. 

If CPI is high (over 1), then you’ll finish the project under budget. Too low (below 1), and you’re about to go over. This KPI is vital to understanding your project’s health – whether it’s a one time project or retained services.

So, you’re 2 months into a 6 month project budgeted at 5k, month, you look at your data and you’ve spent 14k through two months. Houston, we have a problem. Time to look at managing your team’s time to get back on track.

Growth KPI #2: On Time Deliverables

Delivering on time is just as critical as staying on budget. Schedule Performance Index (SPI) helps you measure how well your team is sticking to the schedule.

SPI = Earned Value/Planned Value

Planned Value is the planned percentage of work you’re aiming to complete within budget. 

Say you’ve got a 10K budget and 40% of the project left to do. Planned Value is 4K. 

Use SPI to compare your actual costs and time and tweak the budget if you must. 

We often underestimate our timelines and how long a particular task is going to take. You usually can’t identify a creeping scope down to the last detail. 

This KPI will help you see where you have some leeway with timelines without jeopardizing the budget. 

You have a client who wants copy for their next email campaign. But oh yeah, could you just add in a few A/B split tests while you’re at it, too? For copy and subject lines? You’ve got the time for that, don’t you?

Dutifully measure this KPI, and you’ll know if it’s, “OMG, hair on fire! Must get done ASAP!” Or if you can breathe a sigh of relief. SPI helps you figure out your project management priorities and if you have some breathing room in the schedule. 

Growth KPI #3: Resource Capacity

Resources are finite. 

Does your team have the time needed to hit milestones by their due date? What about changes in scope? Does your team have the bandwidth to accommodate?

You must have the right amount of resources (people and their time) to complete your projects on schedule and within budget. That way, you’ll have a happy customer, and happy employees, at the end. 

When you’re short of crucial resources, projects are painful. 

You’ve might have been here before. You didn’t adequately onboard your client (no worries we’ve all been there, done that). Now they’re asking for “little” extras that are really adding up, resulting in an out-of-control, ballooning project and stressed employees. 

You have to measure your resource capacity to prevent these kinds of problems. 

So project managers, measure your resource capacity KPIs for maximum performance and resource efficiency. 

When you set this KPI, make the target realistic. No one goes full-throttle, 100% productive throughout the whole day. We all need a coffee break (or five) at times.  

Measuring this KPI has several different benefits:

  • You can allocate resources properly
  • Determine any hiring needs
  • Set an accurate schedule for deliverables
  • Determine an accurate project completion timeline

Resource Capacity = # of Project Team Members X % of Time Team Members are Available to Work

Use Growth KPIs and Go from Good to Gold

With the measurables of project management, you’ll:

  • More quickly and easily scale your agency
  • Increase your business integrity
  • Become more efficient, lean, and mean

Use these top three project management KPIs to keep your project’s on track, within budget, and your clients happy. 
Are you having trouble measuring KPIs and optimizing for growth? Reach out to us today.

How to Achieve Project Management Freedom

What do people say about you when you’re too much into your projects?

Do they think it’s a nightmare working with you on projects?

Well, $hit.

As a founder or a project manager, you may also want to achieve enough freedom for innovation, creativity, and personal judgment by stepping aside from the projects.

But striking the right balance between involvement and flexibility so that your team enjoys working with you (and you get a breather) isn’t easy.

If you can’t wait to get rid of the problems, the setups, the processes, the never-ending communication, I hear you.

Trust me. I understand being tired of the constant need to be involved in the business and the desire to step away from it.

That waiting for the day when you’re no longer putting out fires.

I get it.

But, Juliana, how to achieve that project management freedom?

With the right:

Tools

Equip your business with project management tools that are worth your time and investment.

From project management systems to databases, time tracking software, and communication tools — you need it all to allow users to control their tasks, conversations, and projects better.

Documents

I’ve said this before, and I’m repeating it now: documents and data are the real treasure of your business.

You must centralize all the documents so that everyone can use them without creating further dependencies.

Get a hold of all your decks, videos, client folders/doc management, internal files, sketches, client/vendor contracts, misc servers, etc.

You’ll be one step closer to project management freedom.

Workflows

As for the workflows, gather everything you’ve got to figure out what needs to be created, what can go into standardization, and what into optimization.

To up your game, go by these rules:

  • Too many workflows? Play cleanup. Did you audit your workflow templates and found that you’ve got too many? See if a thing sparks joy. If not, get rid of it so that it doesn’t clog up your system.
  • Not any? Let’s go. And if you don’t have any, or if you’re missing a lot, let’s go and build them.

But know this: Building templates is a team sport — not something you can do all by yourself. Get your team involved.

Trainings

One of the reasons why it is difficult for a lot of people to delegate the project management system and train people is because a lot of it has to do with making decisions.

So, how to train alongside decisions so that you can delegate stuff well?

For external, such as client requests, have a decision tree around them to make decisions quickly.

For internal, create a change board for initiatives. Evaluate the idea, the resources that are necessary for it, the objectives, and the outcomes. Then accept or reject it.

For meetings, optimize them.

Because if you are in meetings all the time and they aren’t even useful, you’re reducing capacity. Don’t do that, my friend. Don’t do that.

 

Performance

Without metrics and people, you just got a lot of pretty stuff.

So, to ensure you achieve project management freedom, reward people based on their performances.

And create some hashtags as you do it.

Something like #beastmode, #awesome, etc.

That way, when you can look for a particular hashtag, and see who has achieved how many, you can be like, “Wow, Jenny has got 15 beast modes in the last month. Let’s incentivize her.”

You can do this to quantify performance, both on the positive and the negative side.

Ninja Your Project Management 

When it comes to project management, make sure that it all works like a lean, mean competitive machine, like a beautiful organism.

Achieve freedom by:

  1. Using the right tools
  2. Centralizing documents
  3. Auditing workflows
  4. Investing in training and making decisions alongside
  5. Measuring performance

Project Management Compass: How to Navigate the Workflow Waters

2.5%

That’s the percentage of companies successfully completing 100% of their projects.

Bummer?

So, what really stops companies from hitting the sweet spot when it comes to project management?

Maybe most of them just suck at the navigation of creating the project management process, a.k.a the project management compass.

So how to manage your workflow better and navigate the workflow waters?

By understanding the workflow cycle.

Brace yourself for some project management success.

Welcome… strategy!

There are few greater joys in the business world than a project well strategized.

Whether you’re a project manager, the founder, the coordinator, or a gladiator who has been brought in to do this — strategizing is the cornerstone of success.

Strategize well to know the who, what, where, when, and how of the projects, the clients, the engagements, the retainers, and everything you can possibly think of.

More power to the plan

Despite its ridiculously ubiquitous influence, planning isn’t given as much thought as it deserves.

Begin your workflow well with checklists, assign people to the tasks, and get the milestones ready.

Pay attention to who’s going to do what

There shouldn’t be any surprises when it comes to accountability.

Deploy the work right. 

And let people know who’s accountable for what.

Empower for high performance

Eh . . . I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news. 

But your failure to empower people to take up tasks means you’re failing at the project management process.

You must aim to empower people to take on their particular tasks and projects and string along with them.

Mark your calendar

Set aside time in the calendar to review the workflow as it’s happening and QA the deliverables.

So yeah, I know you personally may not be queuing the deliverables. But make sure that they are getting queued.

When processes are reviewed well, whether internally by the team or externally by the client, you ensure they don’t clog up production.

Keep up with the workflow

Track your workflow against your timetables, milestones, invoices, and anything that holds significance to your business.

And as you do it, you might as well have to babysit the project. 

That’s particularly true if there are dependencies in a project.

You have to make sure that people are doing what they said they’ll be doing.

Set the priorities straight

Once you feel that your workflow process is deviating the line, don’t forget to reprioritize things.

Whether it’s a client-led delay that’s making it impossible to achieve a deadline and pushing everything else off, or an internal anomaly — always make sure that your priorities are still in order.

Reweighting the projects, including scaling the new ones, is frigging crucial to your PM success.

Hey, what’s the scope again?

It would be great if a fairy workflow mother flew from the sky and set out a superb project scope for you.

But when it comes to rescoping your workflow, you’re on your own.

Remember that projects are kinda perpetually changing entities.

And you know what? 

Whatever it is that you aim to create and what you finally deliver could be drastically different.

Which is why you need to rescope projects as you work to achieve the results. S

o, you’re not left wondering —  what the heck happened?!

What TO DO Next

Frankly, I wouldn’t blame you for getting confused when it comes to navigating the crazy rollercoaster that is the project management process.

Between the umpteen tasks, the goal to create more capacity, and more profitability, things could go a bit haywire. 

So, take the follow action points and ace your project management process like a pro:

  • Strategize
  • Plan
  • Deploy
  • Empower
  • Review (Q/A)
  • Track (Babysit)
  • (Re)prioritize
  • (Re)scope

While you’re at it, check this case study of how one of my clients built a repeatable, scalable process with ScaleTime. You can too!