Whether you’re new to organizing projects or have many years under your belt, there are many things to consider when you’re in charge of ensuring everything works as intended. There are customers and clients to satisfy, a project team to lead, a deadline to meet, and a budget to maintain.
Besides that, you’re constantly trying to prevent issues related to interpersonal conflict, project plan scope creep, and faulty documentation. Although there’s no single solution for a project manager to succeed in project management, an essential factor that can contribute significantly to success is the ability to stay organized.
If you’re interested in becoming better at keeping a project organized, you need to learn to start organizing for project management. Here are the best tips to follow to improve your project planning process.
Tip #1: Take Advantage of Project Management Software
According to a survey in 2020, only 23% of organizations are using a project management solution to help their project managers handle multiple projects. Even more surprising is that 54% of these companies don’t access real-time key performance indicators (KPIs) to make informed decisions.
At the same time, many teams are still using basic spreadsheets for project planning, which hinders them from bringing out their full potential. This is primarily because spreadsheets are inefficient in helping keep track of project tasks and time. They also don’t allow team members to customize their project management approach.
On the other hand, the right project management software can provide numerous features that automate and make projects more manageable. Capabilities such as real-time tracking, the ability to be used on different devices, and remote accessibility are just a few qualities one can find in such systems.
Tip #2: Create a Plan for Your Project
Before diving into any project, it’s crucial to create a plan first to get organized. Good project planning is crucial as it helps lay the groundwork for completing all requirements in a project. That’s why you should invest in an ideal project plan.
This document provides all the information for team members to know how a project will be executed, tracked, and closed. Having a thorough project plan is like having a clear and transparent roadmap for the whole project.
It helps the entire team stay on track and keeps team meetings productive. It also prevents setting unrealistic time limits on a project.
Additionally, a project plan outlines your goals and the project’s scope. It also operates as a reference when it comes to questions involving:
- Project budget
- Project goals and objectives
- Project timeline
- Project schedule
- Project manager roles and responsibilities
- Project deliverables
Tip #3: Set Up an Effective Project Schedule
Besides having a good project plan, you should also create an effective project schedule. These two will work together and helps project managements understand and incorporate information.
With all the details collected from your project plan, you should pinpoint all necessary activities for completing a project. In addition, setting up a work breakdown structure that visualizes tasks for more complex projects can be highly beneficial.
After listing all essential activities, you should determine project dependencies and assign priorities accordingly. Finally, you should be able to estimate the time and resources needed for each one and see if they align with your timeline and budget.
With your project plan and project schedule in place, the next step is to know what project management tool to use to help you stay organized.
Top Project Management Software To Use Today
From keeping track of a project’s deliverables to managing the budget and allocated resources, the right project management software can do many things to make the job easier for project managers. Besides that, these tools can provide essential information to make informed decisions.
To help you decide which project management system will work best for your needs, consider the top choices below:
One of the top choices when it comes to project management software nowadays is Basecamp. This is because many project management teams use its collaboration features, like having a designated discussion area to coordinate tasks.
Furthermore, it summarizes the project you’re working on by sending status updates daily via email. Finally, it has a powerful search tool that lets you quickly find files and conversations.
However, a significant disadvantage of Basecamp is its lack of customization options and milestones. Users also can’t add an estimated duration for tasks or assign it to more than a single person.
Another ideal project management tool is Teamwork Projects. It provides users with all the tools they need to monitor the development of their projects.
One advantage of this over Basecamp is that you can set project milestones here. You can also access messaging, file storage, and task management features.
Compared to Basecamp and Teamwork Projects, Trello is unique in that it offers users an online kanban tool to work with. This allows them to overview their entire project in a single view.
With Trello, you can create projects in the form of cards that you can move around based on your needs. These cards can display things such as conversations or to-do lists that assigned individuals can access.
Coda.io provides project managers with an all-in-one project management system that allows them to create intuitive roadmaps for their teams. One of its main features is building blocks that help teams be more productive. In addition, users of this platform can access ready-to-use templates and tables.
Another benefit Coda.io offers compared to the other tools mentioned above is that it lets you create customized dashboards. As a result, dedicated teams can better see all the relevant information when creating unique dashboards based on their workflows.
Another project management tool that focuses on team collaboration is Asana. This platform lets you take advantage of intuitive task displays while supporting custom forms and fields. Compared to Basecamp, you can assign as many users as you want to work on a single project.
However, many of Asana’s core project management functionalities must be done through integrations. This may not be ideal for organizations, particularly those that don’t want to deal with having to work with third-party apps to get started.
How To Stay Organized as a Project Manager
Whether you plan to use the project management tools listed above or not, project managers can still stay organized when managing their activities. One way to do that is by always setting deadlines for your tasks.
This means setting due dates for both high-level objectives and single action items. By setting deadlines, you’re making your employees and yourself accountable for the work that needs to be done that day.
As a project manager, you’ll gain a clearer picture of what things need to be completed and when. It also allows your project team to focus on essential tasks and be more productive overall.
Feel free to set challenging deadlines to maintain momentum, avoid distractions, and promote innovation. However, you want to avoid overdoing this by setting unrealistic deadlines that can hinder a team member from completing tasks effectively.
Additionally, you should set your to-do list with well-defined priorities. Unfortunately, many teams make the mistake of paying less attention to prioritization, which leads to wasted effort, time, and resources.
That’s why to help organize your projects, you need to define activities that are urgent and important right away by prioritizing them. Prioritizing these action items will let you and your team stay on the right track so you can accomplish your objectives.
One of the critical factors to succeed in project planning is learning how to organize a project. Project managers must know how to combine project scheduling, measuring, goal-setting, collaboration, communication, and teamwork.
There are also tools available today that can help make project management more effortless. Some of the top choices are Basecamp, Teamwork Projects, Trello, Coda, and Asana.
Although taking advantage of these applications can significantly improve how you handle your projects, you don’t have to use them to stay organized. Instead, you can follow methods to ensure your projects are submitted on time. These include setting deadlines for minor and major activities and assigning priorities to tasks.
Following the tips provided in this post gives you a better idea of how to organize your projects moving forward.