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If your team can keep communication at the forefront of all of your projects, you’re sure to be a success.

What do George C. Scott, Elvis Presley, and Robert Redford all have in common? They can all be linked to Kevin Bacon through “Bacon’s Law,” the theory that any actor can be connected to Kevin Bacon by some degree. But, what does arbitrarily choosing an actor to connect them via their film work to another actor have to do with project management? Similar to this theory, you can link one critical variable to all aspects of project management, regardless of team, product, or client.

When business development pursuits are fruitful, project management becomes the next critical element to delivering projects for your clients and team. Effective project management involves many pieces, some of which are core values across industries and businesses. In addition, successful project management creates value, efficiency, and trust across all levels of your team, organization, and business structure. Though “project management” can be challenging, the points below may help to deliver a successful project for your organization. And, try to see if you can identify the Bacon’s Law of project management as we walk through this process!

  • Develop a plan for project delivery. The beginning of a successful project begins with a plan that ends in success. Critical items include scope, deliverables, schedule and milestones, budgets, clarifications, risks, limitations, exclusions, and identified team members, partners, and/or subconsultants. There must be a plan before the plan can come together!
    The earliest source of potential conflict, confusion, or inefficiency in a project can be attributed to ineffective communication. A developed plan for project delivery is near-worthless to a team or organization unless it is effectively and thoroughly communicated. And this is the easiest part! In today’s business environment, there can be no claim of inopportunity to meet and collaborate – either in-person or virtually.
    Whatever your desired or available platform, including (and my preference) in-person, begin every project by discussing the details of how you intend to deliver a successful final product. And, don’t forget to include your clients in this communication step. Clients want to know three things, and not necessarily in this order:

      • Can you do this?
      • When can you do this?
      • How much will this cost?
    • By including clients in this kick-off meeting, you’ll answer all three of these questions for them – and your team.
  • Put the plan into action. The project is primed and your team is eager to begin – let them! But remain in regular contact with the team and client. Request and relay status updates to team members and the client. Remember, the project may require regular status meetings or updates. As the project manager, it may not be your role to complete any or all aspects of the work, but it is certainly your responsibility to see them through. Also, trust your team to manage their specific responsibilities and contributions, but verify throughout the process. Regular communication with team members is critical to successful execution.
    In addition, you must remain watchful of the project budget and schedule. Your role may involve reporting a project’s status to others in your organization. Learn to identify red flags related to deliverables, schedule, workload, and conflicts. They exist in every project and only differ as it relates to scale and complexity.
  • Deliver! The end of every project always seems to be where the most work is and, consequently, the most risk.

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