Some quick project management tips:
- Define the scope and stick to it. Re-evaluate often. Scope creep is the most common cause of project failure.
- When a scope change is indicated, provide the customer with an estimate and treat the scope change as if it's an additional project.
- Live by "garbage in, garbage out." A little extra time spent ensuring you have accurate progress data allows you to let your project management software keep track of what's actually falling behind and what you need to do next.
- Keep documentation current. This doesn't mean churn out paperwork (you should try to avoid paper, actually). It means you make a habit of updating key project documents regularly so that anyone consulting the system gets a reliable update.
- Eliminate information silos. Paper notes, spreadsheets on individual computers, and other forms of rat holing produce a situation in which you have multiple versions of the same data. Use a central system.
- Actively seek input from team members. People working where the action is will have information you can't get any other way.
- Check on resources. Don't assume the resources you requested (e.g., parts you ordered) will automatically show up on time. Track their progress to ensure they will.
- Communicate often. The operative word is "communicate." That means having something to say. For example, let people know what part of the project is behind schedule (or over budget) and what the plan is for addressing that. Similarly, let people know what is on time and under budget, and what is coming up that may change that.
- Find nice things to say. Project management by exception is a self-fulfilling prophecy. This approach means you are always dealing with problems. A good leader encourages people and makes them feel appreciated, by noticing specific things they are doing well. People who are thus encouraged and appreciated tend to prevent or solve problems for you.
- Take a methodical approach to managing projects. With the Method 123 products, you will find this approach easier to implement.
- Standardize wherever practical. That's hugely advantageous, and the Method 123 products facilitate standardization.
- Look for upsell opportunities. This does not mean you permit scope creep. It means you look for opportunities to use available resources to propose additional scope for additional revenue. Be sure you evaluate the possible effect on project completion before proposing any additional work. In some cases, you might consider proposing additional work so that you can get additional time for completing the original contract. In other cases, you don't want to propose additional work because it will interfere with completing the original contract. And in other cases, it's additional time and money for the additional work with no effect on the original project.