Poor project management can flatline a seemingly healthy business. Without the right protocols in place, it can create chaos that leads to missed deadlines, low-quality work and unhappy clients.
Whether you’re a freelancer or the leader of a small team, it’s vitally important that you invest in strong project management systems. As someone that’s working on growing my business, I decided that the best way to get the best tips was to learn from people doing it everyday.
And that’s what I did.
I found some strong marketing professionals on Twitter and asked them to share their best project management tips with me. Their suggestions helped me build a stronger system.
In today’s article, I’d like to share these practical tips with you. I hope they can impact your business in the same way that they impacted mine.
1. Keep Everyone on the Same Page With the Right System
“Use project management software like Basecamp or Asana to keep everyone on the same page.”
– Rapidan Strategies (@RapidanInbound)
Project management software has become so common for a reason: the right software makes things easier. The entire team will be able to view what’s needed, and they’ll always know what they should be working on. It’s one of the core tools you should be using.
Take a moment to learn a few ways to make the most of your project management software.
2. Plan for the Unexpected With Risk Management
“Plan for unexpected – #riskmanagement, be prepared. When anything unexpected happens, everyone should know what to do.”
– Just Media (@justmediacz)
Minimizing and hopefully eliminating risks is vital for the longevity of every business. Risk management might sound complex, and it is, but it’s nothing you can’t learn.
Learning about the risks that may face your business will help you prepare your team to handle them and recover as quickly as possible.
3. Be Willing to Adapt to Changing Circumstances
“More Sugar Ray Leonard and less George Foreman – stick and move, stay light on your feet and you’ll still knock ’em out.”
– evok ad agency (@evoklarry)
Every industry has changed rapidly, for better or for worse, over the past decade. The upcoming decade only promises to speed things up even faster.
Being able to stay agile and adapt to the changing trends will help you stay ahead of the curve.
4. View Things from an Omnichannel Perspective
“Always look at things from an omnichannel ecosystem perspective.”
– Michael Chase (@chasethisnow)
Don’t rely solely on your core KPIs to understand how your business is doing. Understand every aspect of your business – your omnichannel ecosystem perspective.
Use this perspective to gain new customers and gain deeper insights into how you can service your existing customers.
5. Make Sure to Always Do Your Research
“Don’t do anything until you’ve researched and plan, plan, plan!”
– Juggling Swords (@JugglingSwords)
While being agile has its importance, there’s a difference between a well-timed pass and a crazy Hail-Mary. There’s never been a better time for researching every option before making a move. Avoid option overload, but research the potential results of any business maneuver you’re about to make.
6. Always Keep Lines of Communication Open
“Timelines and communication. We’re a distributed team and we LOVE @SlackHQ.”
– Hunter & Bard (@HunterandBard)
You and your team should have multiple methods of communication, ideally something mobile and available on your laptop. For some projects, having a constant group chat going may be helpful (as long as you avoid the urge to go off topic).
7. Give Proper Context to Your Team
“Frame context for everyone. Make sure they all know what they want to achieve and how to succeed together.”
– iCrossing (@iCrossing)
Instead of simply issuing orders and creating tasks, take extra time to explain the reasoning behind major decisions.
Help each team member understand the big picture, and how their work influences the entire process. This practice improves collaboration and makes team members feel more valued.
8. Use Software That Integrates With Each Other
“We have just switched to a new time tracking system @harvest and are integrating it into our CRM, @salesforce”
– Chris Breikks (@chrisbreikss)
Integration is the future of software, as sharing data between different systems can benefit the overall operation. Your project management software should be capable of integrating with other solutions you’re using, as well as other programs you may be using in the future.
9. Stay Accountable and Live Up to Your Promises
“Accountability with words & actions! Always do what you say you’re going to do & always say what you’re going to do. #WinningCombo”
– A La Carte Design (@alacartedesign)
You’re the leader of the project, and you need to lead by example. Follow up on what you say and hold yourself accountable.
Team members tend to follow the pace set by the lead, so make that pace a profitable one! With time, accountability will be part of your company culture.
10. Just Act Like a Decent Human Being
“Communicate, be respectful & completely transparent. Those are the keys to successful project management.”
– AdVision Marketing (@AdVisionMktg)
Nobody wants to work on a team with a negative vibe, and who sets that vibe? The project lead. Make a conscious effort to treat people well and be transparent in your motivations.
Communication is key, and it should be polite communication.
11. Practice What You Preach for Client Acquisition
“Take advantage of email list, create ‘hub’ piece of content to drive leads, run PPC ad, & test your conversion rate optimization.”
– Vertical Measures (@VerticalMeasure)
It’s always shocking how many agencies are selling digital marketing without implementing the practices for themselves. Make sure that you’re doing the work for yourself too.
No only will it provide a higher level of authenticity, but you’ll see greater growth if you’re truly good at the task.
12. Find Your Niche and Stick With It
“The hardest part is standing out amidst all the noise- focus in on some really specific nuances that you can be amazing at.”
– Northcutt HQ (@northcuttHQ)
There’s an old quote that says, “I don’t know a lot about everything, but I do know a lot about the everything I know.” This is such a timely saying for those trying to do it all.
You don’t have to offer a whole gamut of services. Find the few things you’re amazing at and sell them.
I’d like to thank everyone that participated in this roundup. Do you have any other project management tips you’d like to share? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
about the author
Chelsei Henderson is a content marketing consultant helping freelancers and entrepreneurs build successful companies in the digital world.