5 keys to effective project management

Having recently completed building 80 houses at RAAF Base Darwin in under 6 months, we know that effective project management is the key to success. Here are 5 key learnings from lead Project Manager David Lee:

1. Schedule in your priorities

This might sound like common sense, however, it is so surprising how much we overlook and neglect doing this important task because it is so simple. Everyone on this earth live with only 24 hours a day, yet some people can achieve a lot more than others with the same amount of time. We can’t make time, we only can use what we have, so look at what your priorities are from highest to lowest and make sure you schedule in time for it on your calendar. Not for your project only but also in your life. Whether it’s allocating time for your family, reading, exercise or learning a new hobby. Allocate a time slot for that event and stick to it as best you can. Overtime, you will achieve what you have set out to do.

2. Know your project inside out

Again this is something we usually take for granted as it requires a lot of self-motivation and discipline. You want to reduce as much possible risk on the project based on the knowledge you currently have on it. This means knowing your project like the back of your hand from the start; every task, procedure, risks, costs, timeframes and contacts. To achieve this, you will need to spend time going over all project documentation repeatedly so that it is set in memory as much as possible. You will be surprised how much you miss each time you go through it. This allows you to be able to better plan for up and coming events and not have too many surprises along the way.

3. Delegate according to availability not ability

By “availability”, I don’t mean those that necessary have a lot of spare time on their hands. On the contrary, I refer to those that are busy but are always ready and willing to assist when called upon. They are team players, humble and not contentious, energetic and eager to learn. A person that might have a lot of experience but is self-centred and not a team player, can be destructive to the overall projects’ success.

4. Have effective forms of communication

Simplistically, project management is the process of co-ordinating and transferring information to successfully achieve your project outcomes. Whatever your tasks may be you will need to have effective systems in place to ensure that information is securely stored, documented, appropriately transferred and received in a timely manner. This will reduce risks associated with miscommunication, improve efficiency, simplify processes and improve project co-ordination. In other words, make the process as simple as possible for those involved.

5. Trust

Last but by far not the least, is trust. The success of the project lies not in your ability as a project manager but in the abilities of everyone associated with the project. From your management team, consultants, labourers, sub-contractors down to the suppliers. You will need to depend on everyone and their capabilities to perform their tasks without second guessing them. Trust will create a level of respect and an atmosphere of success where everyone is working towards a common goal not for their own interest but for the interest of the overall project.