written by
Sean Thomas

Project Management: Top 7 Elements of a Successful Strategy

Project Management 5 min read

We all seek success, but only a few of us manage to achieve it. Project management principles help us to pursue and complete projects successfully. However, many young project managers struggle to develop a reliable recipe for success.

Adhering to planning does half the job for you. That said, success requires more than just rigorous commitment to your plans. You must take note of what makes other project managers successful and develop a sound strategy for yourself.

In this article, we will discuss the top 7 elements of a successful project management strategy.

Prioritizing Communication

Successful managers always stress prioritizing teamwork and communication. Many companies create overly complex procedures lined with approvals and permissions. While managers implement these procedures to make workflows more transparent, they instead cause unnecessary delays and slow down progress.

Besides that, if organizations with multi-layered hierarchies, it creates additional complications in the chain of command, resulting in further delays. This is why agile methodology encourages peer-to-peer communication.

Instead of relying on a complex system of approvals, Successful managers encourage teams to prioritize effective communication over tools and procedures. Sophisticated procedures and tools are indeed helpful, but if you don’t have productive interactions with stakeholders, they won’t benefit you. This strategy has been so successful that it has become an integral principle in Agile.

Highlight Project Goals

Projects come in various forms, with overarching deliverables. Some project managers may have to deliver a mobile application, while others might need to manage a brand marketing campaign. Regardless of what kind of project you get, you need to break down the project into different phases, with each phase having its respective goals.

Weekly Review for Your Goals
Photographer: Isaac Smith | Source: Unsplash

It is important to address these issues early because they dictate the project scope, project plan, and the entire workflow of the project. For instance, if your target were to build a website from scratch, then you would have to break down the entire project into several phases.

These steps may include project kickoff, developing the content strategy, designing wireframes, finalizing design through various iterations, developing the design, submitting content input, testing, and then launching the website.

Breaking the project down is critical to website development and would act as milestones during the entirety of the project. Not only does it help managers complete tasks in the right order, but also makes it easier to implement specifications within the given time.

Work Definition Documents for Additional Insight

A common issue with project managers is that they don’t clarify job roles effectively in the beginning. Creating a detailed work document minimizes uncertainty and confusion amongst your team.

It clearly defines and documents the level of work and responsibility expected from individuals and teams. Unless everyone has a clear understanding of how much effort they must put in, the performance of your team will never be up to the mark. Making a work definition document will create a sense of accountability within your team and get validation from all stakeholders.

Ensuring Project Visibility

It is easy for project teams to fall out of sync and become disorganized. Therefore, you should always focus on maintaining project visibility at all times.

Scrum Board
Photographer: İrfan Simsar | Source: Unsplash

The lack of visibility creates unwarranted delays in projects and diminish the quality of the project. To save your team from such problems, you can utilize project management software and create a central and fully accessible dashboard for your project.

At the same time, you can utilize shared spaces that everyone can access. By notifying members with recent updates, you can improve communication and visibility while enhancing collaboration between them.

Whenever you start a project, go through this list to make sure you’re not neglecting small details that contribute to project success. By following these 8 best practices, you can ensure to develop invaluable project management experience and continue to strive for project success.

While there are many ways to hone your project management skills, online project management training is perhaps one of the best ways to get started.

Handling Deadlines

Every project has some kind of deadline, and even if it doesn’t, you should establish your deadlines to complete the project in an orderly manner. Having a concrete deadline helps everyone stay focused including your team, the client, and you, yourself. Furthermore, it makes it easier to balance all opportunity costs and allocate resources to specific objectives.

This is why whenever you are starting a project, it is important to as your stakeholders about the deadlines associated with the project. You may either have a fixed deadline due to certain constraints or a fluid deadline, like wanting to complete the project in the last quarter of the year.

Regardless, as a project manager, you have to plan according to the given deadline. Planning backward from earlier than the given deadline is a good idea, as it gives you additional time to cope with any unexpected changes.

Being Adaptable

Successful project managers encourage their teams to embrace change. It is widely believed that people believe that accepting changes to the original requirements increases the cost of the product significantly. This is why many project teams tend to avoid these practices.

Furthermore, in many industries, change is inevitable. Due to an extremely competitive market, project teams need to be ready to change all the time. Many companies, especially in software services, continue developing new innovative tools to improve the quality of the product.

Products with useful new features tend to dominate their competition. Businesses resistant to change are outclassed by their peers. Just look at how Android completely wiped out Nokia’s dominance over the market.

If a project manager is not ready to accept change, they can risk creating a product no one wants to buy anymore. Even if they succeed in handing over the product to the customer, those customers will not be satisfied.

Remember that relying on customer feedback and adapting to changing market dynamics, leads to a more refined project. When your teams address the concerns of your customer comprehensively, it can contribute to the success of your product.

Don’t Overburden Your Team with Unrealistic Deadlines

You must keep in mind that not all projects go smoothly.  Each time you introduce a change to the project your client wants, it becomes even harder to accommodate those changes as the length of the project increases. You will counter various problems that can impede the progress of your project and lead it to failure.

This is why project managers must fight for the viability of their projects. Although a client’s requirements are of utmost priority, they are simply not feasible enough to include in the project if they are introduced too late. Pushing your team to their limits may work occasionally, but making a habit of it can drive them crazy. Be careful wary of overburdening your team.

A successful project management strategy has several elements attached to it. Clarifying project goals, prioritizing communication, organizing deadlines without overburdening your team, and being adaptable goes a long way.