Techniques for managing projects

June 25, 2020

Manage leadership projects with these foolproof techniques

The Project Management position is here to stay. This is what you need!

When you start a project, it can seem like a daunting task, full of intimidating terms, tasks, and deadlines that have to be met.

An experienced Project Manager knows that the assignment of tasks and the agreement of deadlines are just some of the key aspects of his work. Therefore, to help them clearly outline each of the steps that the team must follow to complete any type of project, an effective Project Manager uses one or multiple project management techniques.

These techniques present detailed criteria to assess the priority of each task and accurately assess the progress of the project.

It does not matter if you are starting or halfway through a project, here we share the three main project management techniques that will help you take control in the best way:

1. Work Breakdown Structure

The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) technique is a way of organizing your work into more manageable pieces, rather than seeing it as "endless".

According to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, a WBS is "a deliverable - graphic - hierarchically oriented to the decomposition of the work that will be carried out by a team".

To generate a WBS, open a new document and place the final product you want to reach the top. Below this box, generate smaller boxes with each of the essential tasks that make up the product. Join them bylines to the final product or, if they are simultaneous or parallel, between themselves.

Repeat the process with each of these essential tasks but now with more specific actions.

Once you have this tree of actions and products, invite your team to help you identify the most important deliverables or to divide the boxes again into more specific tasks and times. In this section, talk to your team and identify managers and times for each of these subtasks.

Another great advantage of WBS is that it not only helps you define projects but also allows you to budget projects and tasks, according to times and risks.

2. Gantt charts

Gantt charts have become an indispensable resource not only for Project Managers but also for any project leader. This speaks volumes of its ease of understanding and usefulness.

The Gantt chart, in a nutshell, is a timeline. If carried out in an Excel sheet, the name of the project or task is placed on the left side, and its row, the cells are filled representing units of time, whether they are days or even hours. Thus, each represents the time each task will take to complete.

Each task can be classified by color or parent task and can then be assigned to a team or individual.

While exercise in excel is very basic, a Gantt chart is limitless in possibilities. Not for nothing some of the most used Project Management programs in the industry such as Asana, Jira, Monday.com, and Zoho often automate the process of scheduling and scheduling tasks using Gantt charts.

3. Critical Path Methodology

This technique is a classic, regarding Project Management, as it focuses on optimizing time.

To apply it you need to build a product model that includes a WBS of all the tasks with their respective working times. Along with each task, the details will be established as deliverables and important milestones for each task and project.

Once this model is established, you can calculate the longest path to reach the final result of the operation. For what? To identify those tasks that, regardless of whether they start early or late, do not impact the development of the project, and those that do.

Taking these critical tasks into account, you now can identify:

  • Milestone sequences, or achievements, that allow you to better calculate if you need to free your staff from your team and redirect them to other pending.
  • The minimum possible time in which a minor or major task can be completed without risking compromising the quality of your delivery.
  • Periods where you can perform multiple tasks simultaneously (called "Fast Tracking"), and thus reduce delivery time.
  • Crashing periods, where a task is receiving extra attention from multiple people on your team to meet the agreed delivery date.

Parts of a whole (Methodologies)

In addition to the above techniques, we recommend familiarizing yourself with some of the following Project Management methodologies. Each one has been developed for different sectors but they stand out for presenting clear work structures.

Agile

It is a methodology that allows managing projects in small phases or cycles, hence its name in English. It also allows you to be extremely flexible in your deliverables, which, instead of milestones, are called “sprints”.

Waterfall

This methodology is especially used in more traditional projects such as manufacturing or construction and is based on clearly defined phases. One ends and the other begins.

Scrum

This methodology integrates the entire team to focus on preventing delays and working simultaneously. A project manager focused on this methodology is known as a Scrum master and leads multidisciplinary meetings weekly if necessary.

PRINCE2

This European methodology has proven successful in its homeland thanks to the flexibility it provides. With PRINCE2 every effort is clearly defined and justified from the business point of view. With previously defined roles and responsibilities, each team member can measure the impact of their efforts.

KANBAN

The Kanban methodology is based on time management but from a visual format, and it is aimed at the continuous production of deliverables. Thus, each team member visually receives clues that help them mark the beginning and end of their activities, as well as real-time information on the quantity and quality relationship of their production.

Did anyone convince you? Surely you will find more official online certification courses that will propel you and your team on the professional path.

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