Business projects generally involve a lot of moving parts that, as a manager, you must bring together to function as one cohesive unit – a well-oiled machine, so to speak. But when you’re juggling budgets, resources, deadlines, and changes, the process can definitely be stressful. And this is especially true if you take on a greater share of the burden than you should actually have to shoulder. However, with the right team in place and all your ducks in a row, you shouldn’t have to suffer undue worry that your project will be done right and delivered on time. Here are a few helpful tips to take the stress out of project management.
- Proper planning. If your deadline is tight, you might want to jump right into your project instead of “wasting” time on the planning process. But this is a mistake. Spending a little bit of time up front planning out your timeline and the details of your project can save you a lot of time (and money, and stress) in the long run. This only reflects well on you and your abilities to fulfill the demands of a management position. It’s like writing an outline for an essay – it just makes the process quicker and easier. Planning gives you a better chance to complete your project in an orderly, timely, and ultimately successful fashion.
- Delegation. A big part of successful project completion is the ability to delegate appropriately. You are not a one-man band. In other words, you need to flesh out your team with qualified professionals that have the knowledge, skill, and experience to take on various aspects of your projects. Even if you’re capable of wearing many hats, you simply can’t do everything, and trying will only add to your stress. If you want to present the best possible finished project and get it done on time, it is essential that you learn how to delegate tasks to the most competent and capable members of your team. And then let them do their job without your constant interference.
- Oversight. Although you want to trust that your team can complete the tasks you set for them within the parameters for timeline, budget, and so on, your job as a manager requires you to check in from time to time to make sure work is progressing on schedule and as ordered. You don’t have to micromanage, but you do need some oversight since the buck stops with you.
- Cushions. It’s almost impossible to foresee exact costs and timelines at the outset of a project, especially a large and complex one. So it’s not a bad idea to pad your budget and your timeline by 10-20%. Some find this practice unethical, but the truth is that it’s simply a practical precaution. If you come in at your actual budget and timeline (as opposed to the artificially inflated estimates), your clients/supervisors will be pleased. If you don’t give yourself a cushion and you end up late and over-budget because you failed to anticipate potential overages, you’ll end up looking like you don’t know what you’re doing.
- Project management software. Being a project manager is made a lot easier in this day and age thanks to comprehensive project management programs like Knowify that offer the tools you need to plan, track, and manage your budget, resources, timelines, tasks, billing, and more.