Ten tips for project success - Business Works
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Ten tips for project success

The world of business and project management is becoming fundamentally more complex and often more stressful. Look at what you're facing today: ever-changing technology, complicated global markets, distributed teams, results-oriented projects with tight deadlines and a 24/7 working mentality, says Tobias Andersson, COO at Projectplace.

To manage, you simply need technology to be working for you, not against you. With more and more wide-scale projects involving teams spread across countries and time-zones, cloud-hosted management tools are becoming essential to boost collaboration, manage documentation, streamline communication, facilitate planning and allocate resources.

Here are ten rules that can help managers use cloud tools to drive every aspect of project execution in the mobile age:

  1. Begin at the end:
    Poor planning leads to an inefficient allocation of time and resources, dooming a project from the beginning. So establish an end goal to work back from and ensure milestones are plotted on a timeline. It's crucial to choose a tool that allows every team member to visualize both the plan and timeline. This solution must be hosted in the cloud and be accessible through any smart device so all involved can contribute to the end goal by adding thoughts and influencing priorities.

  2. Visualize for success
    Long lists of duties and key jobs can be difficult to digest, leading to confusion for all. A kanban system, invented by Toyota in the 1940s, features a board on which Post-it style notes can be placed in different columns to represent workflows of projects. Our cloud tool features a kanban board that can be accessed by any team member at any time. It provides instant clarity on progress, resources, individual responsibilities and a myriad of insights for team members.

  3. Facilitate teamworks
    Skills and experience gaps within teams can lead to project tasks being completed with varying degrees of success. Promoting a collaborative atmosphere and system will help close these gaps allowing every skill to be utilized, every weakness to be supplemented. An accessible, centralized planning and management hub with social features is essential. It gives team members full visibility of current and upcoming tasks, helping each team member lend their expertise and reach solutions alongside colleagues.

  4. Execute on time
    It's the rule of project management that is often the most difficult to achieve. Timely executions require the use of timelines and the establishment of measurements for project success so teams don't lose track of goals. It's also helpful to break project goals and deliverables into a hierarchy of activities.

  5. Stay agile
    An agile approach allows for the continuous improvement of plans and methods. It means being open to contributions from team members and reacting to unforeseen events. Open communication is essential in any agile plan. This is partly a question of shifting culture. But it also requires an all-in-one project tool that allows the plan to be visible to everyone at all times, while facilitating comments and feedback. Swift and effective decision making follows.

  6. Create an engaged, social environment
    Keeping teams updated on project status can involve convoluted email chains, multiple phone calls and far too many unproductive meetings. As well as being time-consuming and stressful, foggy communication structures can lead to under-pressure team members hiding from responsibility. Instead, promotes open communication and transparency, which reinforces good behavior and personal responsibility. Social features in your project management tools and kanban capability provides full insight into who is doing what and when, who has not completed their task in time and who is in possession of what information.

  7. Set them free
    The modern workforce is no longer shackled to their desks 9 to 5. So it is vital to use a collaboration tool that ensures all information they require whether documents, data, contacts, plans, visuals or blueprints is easily, instantly and securely accessible from anywhere, on any device. Everyone on a project should be able to see every action at all times, then respond instantly. E-mail chains should be banished. Workers should be empowered to excel wherever they are. Smart cloud tools should be available not only in desktops, but also in everyone's smartphones. Test potential cloud tool providers before you choose: search in Google Play and the App Store for apps and user reviews.

  8. Trust your team
    An ethos of individual responsibility should be established in the age of mobile working. A tool that facilitates collaboration can result in team members becoming more involved in decision-making and self organization, no matter their location. The job of management suddenly becomes more about empowering workers than directing them. Open communication and transparency reinforces good behavior and develops personal responsibility.

  9. Make the right hardware choices
    Heavy investment in desk-bound computers by companies is coming to an end in the mobile world. So let employees rather than IT departments drive the hardware decisions. Allow them to use the mobile devices and operating systems that suit them. Cloud tools reachable with a browser integrate smoothly with IT systems already in place within an organization and it is not requiring installation. Be sure to take advantage of the bring your own device trend. It means companies don't have to make huge investments to harness the benefits of connectivity.

  10. Stop administering, start doing
    Constant meetings can be the bane of a project manager's life. With a fully transparent, open work culture you can cut right back on the need for touch-base meetings. An all-in-one cloud collaboration tool with visual features allows team members to become more aware of their responsibilities and project progress. The tool should facilitate self organization, no matter the individual's location. The need for constant meetings dissipates. Instead you can monitor, rather than participate in, the planning process as you lead the team toward its goals.

For more information, please visit: www.projectplace.com.

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