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How to Manage a Successful Project From Start to Finish: 7 Project Management Tips

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Leading a project from start to finish can be a daunting task. From the time I’ve spent as a project manager at Human–and now as Success Director–I know how overwhelming it can look to someone venturing into project management and operational logistics for the first time. 

Really, it comes down to staying organized and efficient throughout each phase of the project. But for a lot of people, that’s way easier said than done. Having gone through my own trials and errors, I now have an arsenal of tips for project management. 

From start to finish, here are some key steps you can take as a project manager to ensure projects are delivered on time, within budget, and to the desired quality standards.

Table of Contents
Step 1: Define the project scope and objectives
Step 2: Develop a project plan
Step 3: Assemble a project team
Step 4: Manage resources effectively
Step 5: Communicate effectively
Step 6: Monitor and control the project
Step 7: Review and evaluate the project

How to Manage a Project Successfully

These aren’t your average project management tips — these are tried-and-true strategies accompanied by real-world examples from my daily workflow. From defining project scope and objectives and developing a plan to monitor outcomes, here’s how to ensure project success in a marketing agency environment.

Step 1: Define the project scope and objectives

The first step in leading a successful project is to define the project scope and objectives clearly. 

This involves setting specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals that outline what you hope to achieve with the project. It is also important to identify the key stakeholders who will be impacted by the project, and to define their roles and responsibilities in the project.

At Human, we have a discovery process to help establish project scope and identify key stakeholders with new prospects. We then strategize and define specific quarterly objectives to hit the client’s North Star goals. This process serves as a framework for determining which  activities will allow us to hit those goals and objectives.  

Step 2: Develop a project plan

After defining the project scope and objectives, the next step is to develop a comprehensive project plan. 

This should include a detailed timeline, budget and resources required to complete the project. It is also important to identify any potential risks or issues that could impact the project, and to develop contingency plans to address them.

Each quarter, we establish strategic roadmaps to plan out long-term projects for our clients based on their goals and objectives. We refine and refresh this roadmap on a monthly basis to account for strategy shifts and changing priorities. We also use this time to break down priorities into specific, actionable tasks with defined deadlines, budget and resources. 

Step 3: Assemble a project team

As the project manager, it is your responsibility to assemble a team of skilled and dedicated professionals who can help you deliver the project successfully. 

This may involve recruiting new team members or working with existing staff. It is important to choose team members who have the necessary skills and expertise to contribute to the project, and to clearly communicate their roles and responsibilities to them.

Yes, this involves knowing–really knowing–the people and teams at your organization. You probably wouldn’t put the newest hire onto your biggest project without a more seasoned partner for support, right? Assembling the best team for a project means you’ll need to spend some time getting to know the human resources that are available to you and where their skills are best utilized. 

At Human, we have defined client teams to make sure we have the right people on the right projects.

Step 4: Manage resources effectively

Effective resource management is crucial to the success of any project. 

This involves ensuring that you have the necessary resources (e.g., funding, materials, equipment, etc.) to complete the project, and that they are used efficiently and effectively. It is also important to monitor resource usage throughout the project and to make adjustments as needed to stay on track.

In order to effectively manage resources, we start by tracking team capacity. This allows us to determine who is available to work on each project and whether we need to bring in additional resources to support the project based on timelines and team schedules.  

Step 5: Communicate effectively

Good communication is essential for the success of any project. 

This involves keeping all stakeholders informed about the progress of the project, addressing any issues or concerns that may arise, and seeking feedback and input from team members and stakeholders. It is important to use a variety of communication channels (e.g., email, meetings, phone, etc.) to ensure that everyone is up to date.

At Human, we send clients weekly project updates and have ongoing check-in meetings so that they always have a pulse on what we are working on. This also allows us to stay aligned on priorities and deadlines on a regular basis and pivot if we need to. 

Step 6: Monitor and control the project

Throughout the project, it is important to monitor progress and identify any issues or deviations from the project plan. 

As the project manager, it is your responsibility to take corrective action as needed to get the project back on track. This may involve revising the project plan, reallocating resources or making other changes to keep the project moving forward.

Things happen–team members get sick, or project priorities can shift at the last minute. When it’s time to improvise, I start by picking out critical tasks that will be impacted (either by the absence of team members or a change in task priorities). Once I’ve identified those, I reallocate resources where I can to make sure those critical tasks are still completed on time. 

Sometimes, clients present a new priority, and it’s important to communicate how taking on additional work will impact other things that are currently in progress. It’s your job as the project manager to help them see potential outcomes they may not see on their own.

Step 7: Review and evaluate the project

After the project is completed, it is important to take the time to review and evaluate the results. 

This can help you to identify any areas where you excelled, as well as areas where you can improve in the future. By conducting a thorough review and evaluation, you can gain valuable insights that can help you to deliver even more successful projects in the future.

For large projects, we conduct retrospective meetings to look back on how the project went from start to finish, and evaluate how well our processes are working. We celebrate our wins, discuss what worked, where we need to improve or adapt and determine how we can do even better in the future. 

These meetings also give everyone on the project team a voice to share their feedback. This is a critical step in making sure that our project management processes are being continually evaluated and improved.

Get Humans Behind Your Next Project

Leading a successful project from start to finish requires a combination of effective planning, organization and communication skills. By following the steps outlined above, you can increase your chances of delivering a successful project that meets the needs of your stakeholders and your project goals.

If you want one of our experts leading the charge for your next project, connect with a Human to learn how the right marketing strategy can grow your business!

Topics: Project Management