Feeling frantic about a colossal project?
Join the club.
It’s called Project Management Meltdown – that heart-pounding moment of panic over a looming, larger-than-life deadline. Rather than face it head on, you freeze up faster than the Polar Express during the blizzard of the century.
I know what you’re thinking: It will be a bloody freaking miracle if you can pull this off. Unfortunately, running away and joining the circus isn’t an option when you’re the project manager. Your team is counting on you to provide leadership and guidance.
Believe it or not, you don’t have to be a superhero to manage a massive project. Keep these six tips in mind and you’ll crush it:
- Think in bite-size pieces. Break a big project into manageable chunks to avoid overwhelm. Seasoned project managers are skilled at seeing the big picture and mapping out the steps for accomplishing a goal.
- Set realistic deadlines for deliverables. Each deliverable will likely have multiple milestones attached to it. For each milestone, assign a date to complete it by and do the same for the tasks that need to happen to accomplish it. Daily to-do lists and calendar reminders can help keep you on track.
- Leave wiggle room in the schedule. Stuff happens. Build extra time into the schedule for emergencies so the project doesn’t go off the rails.
- Communicate early and often with your team and your client. Create an environment that encourages cooperation, idea-sharing and problem-solving. If you encounter any snags that could affect your deadlines, offer solutions.
- Assemble the right team. Each member of your team has strengths and weaknesses. Know what they are, understand what each person will contribute to the project and rely on your team to get the job done.
- Use the right tools. Web-based project management software can be a lifesaver when it comes to managing a whopper of a project. You can set deadlines and assign tasks, share project resources, view in-progress and completed work, avoid duplication of effort and get a big-picture view of whether the project is on time, on scope and on budget.
How do you survive in the high-pressure world of project management? Let us know in the comments below.