You have planned, organized and launched your business — all huge achievements.
You have found that first client and put together a successful proposal. Good work!
Now it’s time for you to execute your first project.
This post will outline the basics of successful project management as well as your evolution as a project manager from that first project to the third project and beyond.
To get you started, here are some ways to look at successful project management.
Traditional Project Management
There are 5 steps involved in traditional project management:
Because planning is so important and because in today’s world most projects don’t have a definitive end point, I have provided a slightly expanded version of project management.
- Define project requirements
- Conduct research and analysis
- Develop design
You will notice that I added “maintain.” The reason for this is that most projects related to the internet need constant changing and adjusting both to keep functioning optimally and to keep converting visitors to customers.
New Style Project Management
Times have changed and so has project management. Today, because of how complex web projects and other projects involving technology can be, new style project management looks more like this:
- Plan — Build — Test (repeat as needed)
The reason that Plan — Build — Test have to be repeated is that new technologies, versions and unexpected “Oops! The server is down” style obstacles are likely.
In addition, clients are often unable to visualize projects ahead of time in the digital space and need to see something they can push back against.
I call this “new style” but it has other, more official names like phased, agile or iterative project management.
Successful Project Management in Practice
Now that you have explored ways to conceptualize — think about — successful project management, let’s turn to how you will feel as a project manager from your first project on.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but most people feel a little — or even a lot — insecure as they manage their first projects.
That is a normal feeling and rest assured you will evolve from a newbie to a successful project manager in no time flat.
Your First Project
Your first paid project will undoubtedly be both thrilling and daunting. You know it’s your first project when you:
- Take on a “non ideal” project just to get the money and experience
- May or may not have moments when you feel like an impostor
- Under charge
- Underestimate the time needed to complete the project
- Allow project “creep” — that is, you let the client add little bells and whistles that add up
- Are not sure how to prioritize and manage your time and
- Underestimate the importance of an exit strategy
I’m not saying that I ever made any of those mistakes but, erm, let’s just say that, well, okay. I admit it. I have made those mistakes.
Your Second Project
Your second project will feel just as thrilling, but be somewhat less daunting. You will:
- Choose a better client
- Still under charge but not as much
- Still underestimate the time needed to complete the project but not as much
- Feel more sure about how to prioritize and manage your time
- Have less project creep and
- Definitely have an exit strategy
You will probably finish this project feeling like you have learned a lot and are ready to tackle the next one.
Your Third Project And Beyond
Now you are cooking with gas. The things that you had troubling managing before will seem easier and you will know far more about how to manage your time and charge what you are worth.
You will have earned the increased confidence you feel!
How have you evolved as a project manager? What does successful project management require both professionally and emotionally from new project managers? Let us know in the comments.
Hut, P.M. Eight Tips For Managing Your First Project. The Project Management Hut. March 14, 2011.
Reh, F. John. How To Manage A Project. About.com Guide.
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