By this point in your career, you’ve figured out that you love being the one in charge. You excel at pulling everything together to create desired results, and you insist on meeting important deadlines. Even though you try your best, you know that you can always do better. Combine professional automatic software package with the following seven tips to improve the outcome of your next project management assignment.

The Setup  

Before starting any project, you need to establish some clearly defined goals. There should be a tangible outcome. Create metrics that you can use to track your progress.  It isn’t enough to say that you want to increase profits. Everyone wants that. You also need to know by how much and how soon.

Eventually, you will be bragging about these numbers, so take the time to plan them out. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve clearly defined your budget, planning and actuals. Managing this is difficult, but luckily there are various professional tools out there than can help you.

Scheduling

No matter how fast you run, you can’t win a race if you keep taking unscheduled stops. Remember that the hare found this lesson out the hard way. Before you get started, establish some target dates on the calendar. Set your short term goals, and keep to a realistic schedule.

Leave a paper trail

A history of your performance is essential. You want everyone to look back on the numbers and know that you have been right on track the whole time. Document all meetings, finances, agreements, and action items. Keep clear records, and refer back to them whenever you need to.

Always have a contingency plan

You can’t always predict exactly what will go wrong, but you can be certain that something will happen to derail your plans at some point. Make sure you have some strategies in place to compensate. Build in an extra week of time in every phase of implementation to compensate for unexpected delays. Cross train your staff to overcome sudden shortages of skilled labor.

Update constantly

Do more than just assume that the project is coming along without a hitch. Keep your customers informed, and speak with your vendors regularly. Hold weekly meetings with your staff. This doesn’t mean that you should micromanage the whole process, but avoid ducking out of the office early on Fridays to golf.

Outsource and still take all the credit

When there is a tight deadline approaching, it’s no time to get proud. Make sure you have a list of contacts that you can quickly outsource important work too. Always keep in touch with other experts who can help you out when you are in trouble, and be ready to return a favor if they ask.

Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up

Don’t assume that just because the phone isn’t ringing that you’re finished. You need to keep in contact with your customers even after the work is complete. Check back in periodically to see how things are going. If you are really clever, a follow up conversation may lead to additional assignments.

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