Depending on the organization and the project, some project managers have a lot of input in how they plan and execute the project to define project management success. There are often key decision points and planning inputs that can make a big difference. Here are some to consider.
Staffing the skill sets
Thoroughly reviewing the statement of work and identifying the right skill set for each key project team member resource is extremely important for the overall success of the project. Requesting too many resources or too high of a skill set will result in higher resource costs on the project. Requesting lower skill levels that are inadequate for the tasks can result in poor project team performance. Neither is good for the project as one is a budget concern and the other is a quality concern.
Involving the customer in the right tasks
Customer engagement can often be a challenge. Most project tasks will be assigned to delivery team members. The wise project manager assigns several ongoing tasks to the project sponsor and their team to keep them engaged on the project and accountable. Making them get involved and do actual project work means less micromanagement by the customer. Keeping the project sponsor busy with project tasks keeps them in close communication with you, helps ensure that they regularly attended the weekly status meetings, and also can mean they are more available to you throughout the project engagement.
Scaling the deliverables
Small projects don’t necessarily detailed rigor task planning or required documentation. Even if you choose to create multiple versions of every project planning deliverable or if your customer requests them, they won’t need to be 75 pages for a 3-month project. Use the project budget wisely and look for places where deliverables can be scaled while still providing the necessary quality to the customer.
Proper risk management
Every project – big and small – needs risk management. Upfront risk planning and identification and ongoing risk monitoring, mitigation and avoidance should be practiced…no matter what. The project manager and team who choose to ignore this critical practice are setting their project up for failure.
We can’t guarantee project success…but we can routinely make good choices and they are really the same fundamental choices on every project no matter the size, budget, duration or complexity. Good choices and good decisions on how we manage our projects are all just part of basic project management best practices.