Gather data. As with decisions related to people and purchases, data is essential in project management. Define the scope of the project, the specifications and the deliverables. Monitor progress throughout the project. Clearly understand the project and the expectations.
I once had a boss who had a 25-50-99 rule for any project. He wanted me to update him when I felt I was 25 percent complete with the project to make I was going down the right road. We would meet again at 50 percent completion and again at 99 percent, just to dot the Is and cross the Ts.
Plan the project. Develop a timeline that includes dates milestones, and resources. Managers with little project management experience often do not realize how critical this step is. Another project management strategy is to identify the project’s SWOT — strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Build the team. The supporting resources are essential components of a manager’s success. Strong managers understand their strengths and weaknesses, so it is essential that managers identify their strengths and weaknesses and find a team member that compliments those traits.
Tap into tools. Essential project management tools include Gantt charts, Critical Path, Microsoft Projects, all of which can help managers document activities, build a timeline, identify resources, and track milestones that ensure the project remains on track.
Act the part. A manager’s role as project lead is not only to manage the project but to motivate, enable, and encourage the rest of the team, which is not much different than being managing a department.
Plan, do, check, adjust. This process should sound familiar to managers. Plan the work, execute the work, check to make sure it is correct, and finally, make the appropriate adjustments if required to get back on track.
Follow up. Conduct an after-action review (AAR). One of the most important steps of project management is the one managers fail to perform most often — review. Identify what went well, what did not, and ways the team we improve the next time.
As maintenance and engineering managers plan undertake more responsibilities related to people, purchases and projects, they will need to keep in mind the universal objectives of each and every organization — having productive employees and using valuable resources as efficiently as possible.