Project management is a skill. It involves every aspect of making a project happen, no matter which sector you’re working in. Think of it as the overarching framework that holds initiation, planning, execution and resource management of a project together, along with the end of goal of delivering within a time and budget limit.

A successful project manager will be someone who can visualise the entire scope from start to finish and have the skills and knowledge to make this happen. By following the advice below, you will be on your way to delivering a project in budget, on time and with minimal problems.

Stay agile

Old-school project management methods are just too heavy-handed and rigid for the second decade of the 21st century. Don’t be afraid to change formal documentation for something that responds more quickly to problems as they arrive. Being ready to change things can be the difference between stalling and allowing a project to over-run, and making smart, necessary decisions to achieve your goals.

Don’t micromanage

Project managers should be leaders and not overly controlling. It’s common for less successful project managers to get lost in trying to perfect the details, rather than looking at the end goal.

Focus on achieving milestones and getting to the end of the project. Flexibility is needed, and the ability to marry hard and soft management skills.

Keep improving

Keep up with technological changes and tools that can help you reach your project management goals. It’s an evolving art, with constantly changing needs. You should allow your project management to evolve alongside any business changes. Always communicate with the team involved to ascertain what you can change to improve your project management.

Constantly plan

The most important activity is planning. It must be organised, highly detailed and ideally formulated with team participation. Plans will change, and the ability to reassess and reprioritise is essential. You will never stick to the plan you made right at the launch of the project and should always be ready to reformulate.

Don’t get complacent

While it would be great to have unlimited time and money behind your project, that’s not the reality. Staying within your means in terms of time and money spent is essential to reach your goals. Your project is, of necessity, restricted by budget, resources and your timeline and the best way to deal with this is to always work with a certain sense of urgency. Hold regular meetings, keep everyone updated and follow-up on milestones.

Understand all deliverables

Communicating the finished deliverables and desired outcome to the team is important. Everyone involved with the project must be clear on what they’re trying to achieve and what the project outcome is. Avoid being vague, and instead make a point of communicating your strategy clearly. Use diagrams, pictures, presentations and visual aids, and make sure that everyone understands and agrees.

Take one step at a time

At the start of any project, the final goal may seem far in the distance. But if you split it into smaller, achievable steps it’s immediately less intimidating. Work on each deliverable step-by-step and always maintain the appropriate sense of direction. Achievements will pile up throughout the project, all leading to your final deliverable goals.

Manage risk effectively

Whether you take on the role of risk officer, or assign it to someone in team, it’s important to have one person constantly assessing the project for potential problems. It’s a good idea to keep a live project risk database that tracks and monitors every issue and resolution. Assessing risks isn’t the main activity of a project manager but should flow along with the project in the background. Risk management needs to be healthy and helpful, not obsessive and restrictive.

Drive open communication

Communication is one of the most important aspects of project management. If you stick to an open communication policy and encourage everyone involved to voice concerns, you will build a better team and achieve your goals faster. It reduces the risk of mistakes and will save you money and time.

Stick to time, budget and quality

These three factors should always be on your radar. While practices may have changed to match the way modern business works, the foundation of project management has always been the same. A successful project is delivered on time, under budget and with satisfactory deliverables. The project manager’s function is to always keep team members on track with ‘time, budget and quality’.