You know how it is, at the end of each day before you leave, you map out how your next day is going to shape up. We want to control our day, but often the day controls us. Some days it seems we are slaves to our calendar and emails. What we all strive to achieve is gaining back control of our days, organizing our work flows, plan effectively and reduce the stress on you and your team.
I attended a seminar recently that addressed Time Management and Performance Tips, as well as crucial areas PMs must keep constantly on track. In theory, keeping them top of mind sounds easy enough, but we all know trying to keep a handle on them is what matters.
Watch how you and your team spend your time
Delivering a project on-time requires a very good understanding of what you and your team spend your time actually doing. The schedule helps, but your and your team also need good time management skills. Make sure that the time you spend on project work is as efficiently utilized as possible.
The product backlog and sprint delegation helps, but sometimes you have to dig deeper into each item and find out exactly what the day/week/sprint is going to entail. Especially around crucial deadline time(s).
Watch the work completed and the work remaining
This is actually one of the most difficult even though it sounds simple. Project Managers truly need to understand the work remaining to complete the project. In many cases, work is completed each week, but the list of remaining work also seems to also grow each week. It is true that it is hard to foresee every aspect of work remaining. But be smart about analyzing the remaining work so that you quickly understand it.
Watch your spending versus your budget
You need to monitor the current cost of the project vs. the budgeted cost. This includes one-off expenses. They certainly can add up. I find one of the hardest to be aware of is the the cost of resources versus the estimated costs. This is often a group or organizational approach that is handed to the PM and it is often challenging making the reality vs. the estimation line up.
Watch team morale
Projects can be stressful. Your team has too much work to do and limited time in which to do it. So given that your team may be under stress, you need to monitor their motivation levels. If possible, every week, hold a team meeting and while communicating the status of the project, find out where their motivation levels are at? Are they happy and fired up, or de-motivated and losing interest. This is often an overlooked area, but one I personally try to keep on top of. It requires honest communication, however. The PM can only truly address this if the team is honest. So it’s up to the PM to stress the need for honest communication from all team members.
Watch for project changes
Even if you do a great job estimating and planning, projects tend to change over time. These are not just scope change requests, but also changes to staff, customers, vendors, objectives, priorities and more. When changes hit your project, analyze them quickly to understand the impact, decide how you need to respond and communicate the impact to the appropriate stakeholders.
Obviously that is easier said than done. However, if you have a strong PMO and work for an organization that values both the work they do as well as customer satisfaction, lean on all available resources at your disposal to assess the impact of project changes.