I will be discussing some tip to that has been helpful to me in the course of managing various project across Africa.
1: Get clear about your role and your responsibility.
2: Make an assessment of whether the framework is realistic, both in time and budget, prior to accepting the project.
3: Find out as much as possible at the first meeting with the client or project promoter. Do you understand the purpose? What’s the status of the project inside the organization?
4: Ensure that project documentation is well-founded, and that it has management support and sufficient resources.
5: Gain knowledge of the subject and the client. It is necessary because you, as a project manager, have responsibility for the results and conclusions of the group.
6: Do not enter the project without proper planning.
7: Make a rough schedule together with the project team. This will get them involved and accept the time you planned. It’s also a more efficient way of working.
8: Do a risk analysis before the project starts. What can go wrong? Which backup can you have?
9: Make a project plan. A detailed requirements specification of the project, with the purpose, background, objectives and targets, milestones, constraints, resources and timetable. Include project organization, information, support and follow-up.
10: Ensure targets are completed before you start working, and that they are thorough and clearly formulated.
11: The goals should be consistent. See therefore through each milestone both separately and as a part of the cycle. See the total picture!
12: Break down the project overall goals into specific targets that can be coordinated and monitored.
13: Describe the objectives of the project, so everyone is clear on where you are going.
14: What is a priority for the project to achieve its goal? Is high quality the most imortant aspect or that it should be quick and not cost a lot? Determine expectations for quality, time and cost.
15: Do not be impatient in the beginning, the foundation must be completed before you get going.
16: Know your own strengths and weaknesses, your own needs and motivations.
17: Limit the project team’s size so that it does not become too cumbersome.
18: Get the expertise you need. Find out what knowledge and what experience the project needs to go in goal.
19: Make sure that you don’t select the most pleasant people.. those who are most like you. Search instead for people who complement each other.
20: Remind your people that everyone need to share his/her knowledge and experience.
21: Identify the various roles. Who is responsible for what?
22: Establish decision-making and information flows. Who takes decisions and how are decisions made? Who informs whom?
23: Make sure that the project team is talking to you, and not others, if they have opinions about the way you manage the project.
24: Remember that we all want to be seen. How will you see your people’s work in the project? Show clearly that you see your people.. with constructive criticism, praise and appreciation.
25: Focus on the good side of every employee, and reinforce it.
26: Think about the stages a team goes through and adapt your role to it. At various stages in the project, you need different leadership styles.
27: Do not waste your most important resource: your employees!
28: Prepare well for your first meeting with your project team. It is here you’ll start creating a common platform for your work. And this is also where you will create a team spirit and motivate the group to give your project a flying start.
29: In the beginning you need to clarify your expectations for the group, and you should give the group an opportunity to come to grips with their expectations of you.
30: Discuss at one of your first meetings the rules of the game you should have. Make sure you all agree on them and that they are so clear that you can actually use them.
31: Revisit your rules during the journey.
32: Do not let the project group take over. It is you who must lead the work.
33: Manage conflicts in time.
34: Make sure that your employees get the opportunity to use their resources as much as possible – it is the best way to make a project successful.
35: Hold stimulating, interesting and exciting project meetings. Skip the rest.
36: Start documenting early.
37: Focus on the right things.
38: Focus on opportunities, innovate, solve problems.
39: Create and re-create time and activity plans.
40: Do a proper SWOT analysis.
41: Keep all parties informed.
42: Always follow up on deadlines, by yourself and with the group.
43: Anchor the end of each phase with the steering group or project promoter.
44: Dare to criticize when necessary, but do it in a constructive way.
45: Say “no” when you have to! Set clear limits in your project management role.
46: Your project reporting meetings are important. Prepare well. Figure out what you want and what kind of questions you’ll get asked.
47: Make sure all anomalies are reported back to you fast, so you’ll get enough time steering the project.
48: Relax and enjoy the journey! Project management is fun.