Learning how to manage a project can be stressful. You have to balance a client, a team, and the project itself!
Managing the Project
- Make a plan. You know how the saying goes – if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Map out every detail from the beginning, like how long the project should take, the order of events, what needs to be done when, and how many people you need on your team. Specifically think about any overlapping items, or any items that need to be completed before the next step of the project can take place.
- Help your client think long-term. Rarely does a client hand you a list detailing what needs to be done from start to finish. They know what the end result should be. You need to figure out all the steps to get them there. And you need to think beyond the end of the project. When we finish this project, how will it impact other areas of the client’s business? Will it end up costing them additional time or money? Are they prepared for the results?
- Expect that things will NOT go as planned. Anticipate problems. Build in wiggle room for delays. That way when you hit a snag, your entire plan won’t be thrown off the tracks. And you won’t have to pull your hair out trying to squeeze a month’s worth of work into two weeks so you still meet your deadline.
- Be organized. Most project managers already have a natural inclination for detail and order. I find it helpful to create email folders for each project, and sometimes even a different folder for each aspect of the project. Have a designated place where all files will be saved and all documentation will be stored, and you won’t have to waste time looking for that template you know you created last month but can’t seem to find.
- Know what’s going on at all times. Don’t get the project started then space out. Projects don’t run themselves, even if they get off to a good start. Stay on top of the progress, and keep an eye on your team, deadlines and end goals.
- Test the finished product. Look at the finished product before notifying the client that you’re done. Do a quality check. If you created a new website, visit it and pretend like you’re a customer. Click around, search for a product, or try to buy something. You’d rather catch the glitches and errors yourself than have your client point them out. That’s embarrassing and doesn’t typically lead to additional work in the future.
Suzanne Youngblood – Director of Content Marketing