It might not be the most exciting quality in the world, but being organised can be 'make' or 'break' when it comes to being a successful project manager. Being well-organised is essential to staying on top of project performance and task delivery, as well as avoiding management challenges and personal conflicts.
Staying organised will help you to juggle your ongoing projects and balance deadlines more effectively. It will help you remove the stress of managing complex projects with multiple moving parts, handle project scope changes and ensure all tasks are delivered on time and within budget.
How to become better organised
There are several simple steps you can take to start improving the organisation of your projects, including:
Create a project plan: A simple project plan is an essential first step to better organising your projects. This helps you lay the foundations for how your project will be delivered, covering everything from budgets and project timelines, goals and objectives, to roles and responsibilities. The plan also needs to include the scope of the project, including budgets, deliverables, timeframes, the resources available, and the stakeholders and decision-makers involved.
Set early expectations: It’s vital to ensure your project team understands the expectations of a project from the outset. This includes the type and quality of work expected, which team members are responsible for which tasks, and how they should communicate with each other. With these expectations agreed, it will be easier to ensure everyone works towards a common goal and projects run more smoothly.
Manage deadlines: Setting deadlines for goals and action items will help you to keep your project team accountable on an ongoing basis. It helps everyone across the team stay focused on the task at hand, avoid distractions and prevent deliverables from being missed. Also consider setting goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), and running regular reports, which will help you measure project progress.
Prioritise tasks: Having a list of project items and deadlines is useless without prioritising tasks. This will avoid wasting time, effort and resources on tasks that deliver little value and enable your team to work on the most critical tasks.
Communicate better: Poor communication is a common cause of project failure. You need to ensure people across your project team communicate and collaborate effectively. Consider the methods and tools that people use to communicate, how effective these tools are, and ensure everyone understands how to communicate and use the technology you provide them with. We've put together this free ebook to help the PMO community bridge the communication chasm with their senior executive teams.
Use project software: The nature of the web-based world means projects are constantly evolving and deadlines are liable to change, so you can’t risk losing control. Complicated spreadsheets and difficult-to-manage to-do lists no longer cut it, so you need project management software to help you retain control. Software solutions can help you keep all your documents in one location, enable quick and straightforward collaboration between your team, and manage tasks and relationships.
How technology helps you become better organised
One of the most important steps to becoming better organised is to have the right technology and processes in place. This includes having technology that helps you standardise your project team’s document and email filing, regardless of where they work.
Many projects fail due to not having control or visibility over client communication. As a result, project managers may not be copied in on important emails, messages can become locked in individual inboxes and documents may be unavailable to the rest of the project team. This becomes critical when a client request is missed or the information they require becomes inaccessible.
Technology can help you address these issues. For example, artificial intelligence can automatically ensure every email, including received and sent messages, gets filed into the most appropriate folder and in a centralised server location. This is crucial to standardising filing across your team, ensuring important documents and scope changes are readily available to all project members and can’t be locked away in individual inboxes.
With information stored in a secure, centralised location, it’s also important to discover the information you need when you need it. Powerful search tools can help your team to discover documents instantaneously, which means no more tedious, time-consuming searches through filing cabinets and email chains for a single document.
Having the right technology in place enables your project team to be more productive and avoid wasting time on manual filing and searching for emails and documents. The software does the hard work for you and provides peace of mind that critical business data, such as contracts, client requests and project agreements, won’t be lost or deleted and is accessible by all team members.
Discover how Mail Manager can help you stay on top of projects and become better organised by signing up for a 15-day free trial of our solution. Or, visit our dedicated resource page for Project Managers and PMOs.