Project management for dummies

English: VA IT Project Management Framework

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For those thrust into the position, or those who have never quite gotten the hang of it, managing the project can be stressful, overwhelming, and potentially, detrimental to your work experiences. It doesn’t have to be like that—this mini-plan, a sort of project management for dummies crash course can ease down this task to a few key concepts. Before you can start to plan, take a moment to list and evaluate your resources. What can you draw on? People, technology, facilities, and funds are all resources that must be involved in planning. Find your limiting factor and work your steps around that. Don’t have a lot of money? Your hiring decisions, deadlines, planning, etc., must be built around these factor.

There are several concepts you can work with, in no particular order. First, let’s talk about people. Make sure you are aware of your team’s strengths and weaknesses, both as a team and as individuals. If you are able to hire your own staff, do so with careful consideration. Remember that a staff you are comfortable with means your life is easier. It’s easier to assign, delegate, and trust your staff when you are assured of their competence.

Make sure you plan extensively. Before starting a project, hiring people, buying materials, or anything else, there needs to be a plan. This plan should include soft and hard deadlines, margins of error both with timing and cost, and be reasonably executable. Do not be overly optimistic—nor should your plan have no ambition. Then, try and stick to it as much as possible. Flexibility is important, within the context of your planning. If you have planned properly, only small adjustments will have to be made, which cuts on costs, time and labor.

Communication is the second important pillar of project management. When you have planning and staff down, make sure the two connect. Your staff needs to be sure of your priorities and decisions. There should be no ambiguity. Ambiguity leaves margins for error. Here, make sure that not only do you communicate with their staff, but that the gesture is reciprocated, and that your staff communicated with each other. Although this isn’t everything that’s important in project management, it should help you get started. Don’t be overwhelmed—having great staff, good communication, and detailed planning will help you bring down even the largest job to a more manageable level.

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