Streamlining project management: Efficient practices for today’s leaders

Streamlining project management: Efficient practices for today’s leaders

It doesn't matter how organised you are: Every manager can recognise the three-ring circus of a derailed project. Even when you start with a detailed plan, the delicate balance of precision and flexibility can swing one way or another and throw your prep work into chaos.

Whether your project management processes need a few tweaks or a full-fledged overhaul, let me tell you it's natural to take stock and reevaluate your approach from time to time.

Here are a few approaches that have kept me sane while delivering on tight deadlines and within budget.

Modern project management techniques

To start, let's look at modern perspectives that can change the game in project management. You may have heard of the lean and agile principles.

The lean approach refers to stripping the project and its components down to the bare necessities through continuous improvement. With a goal of achieving maximum results using minimal resources, the lean strategy applies analytics and rigid processes.

On the other hand, the agile method caters to the need for flow and adaptability within a team. It focuses resources on outcome-based initiatives, keeping communications open and flexible, and limiting unnecessary documentation.

Ideally, neither of these styles should be taken as gospel for a single fix. Finding a balance between the two creates synergy in project delivery while catering to your team, your clients, and the project.

Tools for efficiency

Leveraging technology to complete tasks performed by people in the past increases efficiency —- and accuracy. In the digital age, there's no shortage of software and tools to automate and simplify high-level management.

Project management software keeps your teams connected and in sync with collaborative workflows, automatic time-tracking, real-time notifications, and project-phase visualisations. You can even retrieve data from individuals, teams, stages, clients or processes to continuously improve your blueprint.

I've previously used Trello, while a good friend of mine swears by Click Up. A quick Google search will bring up plenty of options – don't be afraid to experiment until you find one that works for you.

Handling project challenges

Every project comes with challenges. Your team's success hinges on how you, as a manager, handle them. Here are the two core strategies I lean into to mitigate common project risks and retain momentum throughout the project lifecycle.

  • Prioritise tasks: Flag core processes and deadlines as high priority to stay on track. Mark any subsidiary tasks as medium or low priority, depending on urgency. This is a good opportunity to practise the lean vs. agile approach: How much space do you have to adapt priorities?
  • Centralise project communications: Track progress and communicate updates regularly, whether that's via project management software, weekly emails, or meetings. In the spirit of time-saving, I create templates for repetitive communications such as updates, meeting requests and issue logs.

Effective resource allocation

Delivering projects on time and within budget is intimately connected to constructive resource allocation. According to a KPMG study, 73% of project management professionals in Australia experience staff shortages. So, think of effective resource allocation as a risk management contingency.

Assess individual strengths and allocate tasks accordingly. What tasks do team members excel at? Do you have knowledge gaps? How can technology optimise existing processes? Ensure everyone is clear on their role within the wider project scope and use check-ins to balance workloads during execution.

Learn project management techniques from the experts

Ensuring projects get delivered according to deadlines, budget, and team capacity requires rigour and adaptability. For personalised guidance to enhance your project management skills, check out our comprehensive Project Management Training: Essentials course.

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