Managing projects can often be a very demanding task, one that requires skill, dedication and a very cool head. But there are also a few tips and tricks you can implement to ensure your projects run smoothly.

1. Plan for everything

One of the best things I’ve heard when it comes to project management is that failing to plan is planning to fail. Bringing your projects in on time and on budget needs a great deal of planning, even before the very first foundations are laid. What’s more, you have to keep planning as you go along to ensure you always stay one step ahead. You need to continually monitor the schedule to anticipate which tasks need to be done next and what effect any notices of delay from subcontractors will have. It is also imperative to keep a comprehensive and updated issue and risk register so nothing catches you off guard. In other words, hope for the best but plan for the worst.

2. Keep track of communication

There’s nothing worse than having to trawl through six months worth of emails or project documents to answer an RFI, or misplacing a vital piece of communication in the event of a dispute or claim. That’s why good project managers keep track of all their project communication, no matter how small. It helps to have a central database that everyone on the project team has access to and can store all project documents and can keep a history of any edits or changes made to a document. Automatic email filing can also help, and IPM’s facility can file all incoming and outgoing emails against a transaction, rather than against the job.

3. Introduce a little automation

While sometimes computers and IT may feel frustrating, you have to admit technology really has made our lives a lot easier, particularly when it comes to project management. When done right, automation can be a project manager’s best friend; completing certain tasks so you don’t have to worry about them and ensuring all the right data is in all the right places. Using project management software is one of the best ways to bring automation to managing your projects. IPM’s project management software has features like customisable workflows you can use to convert change requests into change orders or subcontract change orders, automatically file your emails, automatically generate email reminders for meetings and track and store the information for RFIs and RFQs as it is emailed back and forth.

4. Keep all your team members on the same page

Managing a project is not just about juggling the schedule, subcontracts and budget, but also about managing the people you are working with. Many different people contribute to a project and in order to be able to manage everyone and ensure they all know what their job is, it’s important that everyone has access to the same, up-to-date information. You can make sure of this by using a central database that team member can access from anywhere, both online and offline. This means there are not multiple spreadsheets being emailed around and creating confusion as to which is the most up to date. Another simple way to keep everyone on the same page is to have standardised project reports across your whole organisation, meaning people are all familiar with the report design and know exactly where the content they are looking for is located in the report.

Are there any other fail safe ways you use to manage your projects? Have your say in the comments below 🙂