1: Scoping
2: Planning
3: Launching
4: Monitoring
5: Wrapping up

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Career Makeover Tips

Project Management Tips
Project Management
by Ray Lightman

Project Management Tips: How to be a good Project Manager

4. Monitoring progress

Well, you've successfully started off the project. But you can't sit back and relax now. you've got to continuously monitor progress.

Institute regular progress reports; weekly works well. Tell your team that the report does not have to be formal or pretty; just a clear concise listing of salient points will do. If someone misses a progress report, don't overlook it, but quickly ensure that the importance of the report is made clear to that person.

Hold regular status meetings at predetermined days/times to allow people to be prepared. Catch deviations from the plan or schedule early, and take corrective action. Keep the client informed about changes.

If the client asks for extra items, negotiate either extra time or extra resources (and therefore money) to meet the increased expectations. But do try to throw in a few small freebies - extra items that you will not charge the client extra for, in terms of time or money.

Tip: Always send out an agenda well before any meeting. This minimizes wasted time and there won't be any "I will have to look that up and get back to you."

Reminder: If there is someone at these meetings who is unfocussed and rambling, it falls upon you to firmly bring the meeting back to focus without disrespecting the rambler.

Always give people credit for their ideas. Never put down any idea as "stupid".

Your team is looking to you for leadership. Try to gain consensus for your idea rather than forcing it on people.

Your team is looking to you for inspiration. If you want your employees to be conscientious in their work, provide the example by being conscientious yourself.

Provide constant feedback to your team members. Give feedback soon after the corresponding achievement or failure. Feedback should be specific, not general and vague. I have seen announcements made like this: "A big thank you to Chris for working hard to make this project a success." What about Dave and Ellen who also worked hard and did their part? A better announcement would have been: "Thanks to everyone who worked hard on this project and made it a success. A special thank you to Chris who stayed late last Friday to fix a critical problem." Since Chris is being thanked for a very specific thing, Dave and Ellen cannot take offence.

Institute and mandate use of a change control system like CVS to maintain progressive versions of your software and even documentation. Have an organized QA procedure to ensure the quality of your product.

Tip: Don't forget to assign somebody to do documentation like User Manuals. Make sure the documentation person is involved in the project from beginning to end so that he/she understands all the context.

Finally! It's time to wrap up the project. Icecream for everyone? Good idea, but all in good time.

Next: Wrapping up the Project

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