I’ve been a project manager at my company for about 9 months now. Things have been going pretty well, but I want to expand my skill set.
As the projects I’m responsible for become more complex and larger in scope, it feels like I’ve outgrown some of the more simplified tools and tactics I’ve come to rely on.
How can I manage current and future projects more effectively and manage my deadlines?
This is a great question – and I commend your eagerness to improve and take your project management skill set to the next level.
When managing any project, a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t going to be optimal.
It’s important to take a look at the project and consider which management methodology will fit.
Defining your timeline is a perfect place to start when doing larger-scale projects, such as a website redesign or working with other vendors.
Here’s a summary of two different project management methodologies (depending on the rigidity of your timeline) that will help you get the ball rolling.
The waterfall methodology is a linear, phased approach to project management.
It’s a traditional approach that would be suitable for your team if the project you’re working on is timeline-driven with a very defined scope and budget.
In this case, you will have to sit down with your team to establish the project’s end goal and a firm timeline to follow.
From there, you can work backwards to establish the necessary steps everyone must take to meet that deadline. It’s important to have a clear, sequential plan toward your end goal so that everyone can stay synchronized and productive.
Conversely, you can take an agile approach if the project scope and timeline is more ambiguous.
In this case, your team will be relying on smaller deliverables submitted on a weekly or monthly basis – for example – to make progress more quickly.
Team members and stakeholders involved with the project will be communicating and collaborating much more frequently with this approach. Agile allows for quick adjustments and iterations to the overall strategy as you go.
In addition to your timeline and overall goal, choosing which project management approach is going to be influenced by the nature of the:
Once you’ve defined those variables, you’ll be better equipped to choose the methodology that will help your team execute effectively.
Sometimes you will run into projects that involve much more:
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry – that’s completely normal.
Project managers have years of experience handling these challenges and are equipped with many more processes, methodologies, and tools that you don’t have access to yet.
If you find that the projects you’re dealing with are just too big, consider bringing in an agency-side project manager to help.
Being honest about this with your boss will prevent projects from getting off track, and will give you an opportunity to learn more about project management from an expert in the field.
You’ve got this,