Project Management Techniques Every PM Should Know
Project management is increasingly becoming an essential element to ensure the smooth and successful running of business operations. Project managers are looked upon to deliver their best in planning, executing, and directing a specific project’s accomplishment. They are required to complete it within a given time frame and within a set budget. It might seem an easy task, however, it requires a long term planning, implementation and timely assessments for a proper execution.
The importance of project management in a business cannot be overstated. It plays quite a significant role in completing any operation. Since it is a huge responsibility and needs excessive focus, project managers use different strategies, techniques, and approaches to complete a project. They go through a comprehensive process of selecting the right strategy to deliver the project effectively. These techniques are not specific to one kind of project, they could be used for any task, regardless of the field. Some of these techniques are an amalgamation of each other. Mostly, they are individual systems that help in prompt completion of a task.
Individuals who are gifted with leadership skills, and are interested in carrying forward a team, are rapidly joining courses and programs to pursue a career in project management. Such a career is rewarding due to its worldwide scope in multiple industries. Many companies are also encouraging their managers to pursue online short courses in project management to keep up with the ever-evolving business industry. The courses further help project managers learn about specific techniques that are useful to ensure professional standards. Some of these include:
A Gantt chart is a computer-aided visual project management tool that helps project managers complete all the assigned tasks within time and budget constraints. As a project manager, you will need to know how to create a Gantt chart because it is the most commonly used technique and very useful. The first step is to create a priority list, distributing tasks according to their importance. The group participants are to be assigned their jobs according to their efficiency and skillset. In most cases, workers cannot start a task before accomplishing the previous one.
The Gantt chart is also important as it allows the project manager to monitor the process. It will enable them to analyze the lags and see if a corrective measure is required before it is too late. There are several templates of this tool that are available online. It has proven to be very useful in managing a project efficiently.
Critical Path Method
The critical path method is an instrumental technique in business which aims to lower the lead time. It is used to track the time, scope, budget, and workforce required for each task within a project. The method includes creating a critical path, this is the best path to follow given the time and budget allocations of the project. It also allows you to calculate the shortest and longest routes as well. The technique is especially efficient when there are a variety of dispersed tasks for a single project, as it allows the completion of several procedures at once and interlinks all of them where needed. Another essential feature of this method is that it gives you knowledge of the first and the last tasks.
Through the critical path method, you will be able to make effective decisions when choosing the best route based on the project requirements. It can also help you manage expectations and prepare for the worst-case scenario should it occur.
Performance Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
The PERT chart is a graphical illustration of a network of non-routine tasks with challenging needs. They are most useful for long-term and comprehensive projects as they are extensive and complex. The chart shows the time required for each job, its dependency and relation with other tasks, and its deadline. Since the chart allows you to break each task into activities, you can quickly analyze your errors, if any.
The flexibility due to the detailing will enable you to take corrective measures and edit the chart as per the requirement. It also sets a particular milestone that allows ease of assessment to take action before it’s too late.
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
The work breakdown structure (WBS) is another useful project management tool used by most project managers. Generally, it breaks down a project into different tasks and makes it less overwhelming at a single glance. At the top of the structure is the box which depicts the project; stretching out from it is a line that leads to the completion of the most significant task. Then several boxes beneath will represent the breakdown of each task.
The best part about WBS is the whole team’s inclusion and how each component can be divided into sub-deliveries until the task seems doable. Each level of the job can have a list of the required resources, time, and budget. It is more of a tool than a technique because it can easily integrate with the other techniques.
It is the most straightforward project management technique and is quite helpful in completing any project – especially time-specific ones. It majorly provides useful updates regarding each project and encourages work management within the team. There are three columns of to-do, doing, and done where tasks are appropriately categorized.
It is often useful when a project is simple but requires multi-tasking team workers. It also helps with keeping track of the work. The visual and computer-aided software that offers the Kanban tool is easy to use and needs dragging a task from column to column.
It is crucial to select the appropriate technique before starting with a project. It allows project managers to break down the activities, ranging from the time and costs assigned for the project, and delegate them to the team members. It helps the PM in aligning and tracking each stage of the project. The chosen technique should be task-appropriate, realistic and relevant to the workers’ experience.
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