April 2, 2020 Last updated April 14th, 2020 411 Reads share

Effective Project Management Strategies

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

Being a project manager is not a simple job, especially when it comes to design projects. Why? Well, first of all, the design is not just a craft, it’s also an art and, as such, the effectiveness of your efforts is quite subjective. This means that the manager may have a hard time telling the pace at which their staff is completing tasks, as well as how efficiently they’re completing them.

Then again, making a design estimate is not the same thing as making an estimate of, let’s say, a construction project. Sometimes, the project goes well and sometimes it just doesn’t and you can’t know for sure until you start working on it. All in all, here are several tips that should be of immense help to all the project managers in the design industry to reach their full potential.

Establish Priorities

The next thing that a project manager needs to understand is that not every task takes the same position on the priority list. While it is important that every individual task is completed in order for the project as a whole to be finished, you need to understand that not every task is equally as important. Some tasks are pivotal to the design, which is why they should be put to the forefront. Others take a shorter time to complete, which means that you can afford to postpone them and even do them at the last minute. The fact that you have the privilege of considering a last-minute change is also a huge thing.

Time Management

The most important thing you need to keep in mind when it comes to time management is that the deadline doesn’t necessarily have to reflect the amount of time that it takes to complete the task. First of all, you need to give your team more time in order to allow them some flexibility. However, you shouldn’t give them too much time. You still want to have enough time to fix or redo any mistake made on the project. Then, there’s the issue of Parkinson’s law, which claims that the work expands to fill the time available for its completion. This means that if a task takes 10 days to complete and you set the deadline for your team 20 days in the future, it will, most likely, take them 20 days to complete the task.

Know Your Team

Another law of productivity that you need to focus on is Price’s law. This particular principle is based on the estimate that the majority of work around the office is done by a relatively small portion of your team. Now, a lot of people see this as something that they have to fix, however, it’s not something that has a simple solution. There’s no guarantee that the people that you bring in as the replacement will actually be more productive. Also, just because someone is productive in one environment doesn’t mean that, by just adding them to the team, they’ll transfer that same level of commitment to the next project. According to a current bachelor’s degree in visual design, it is of paramount importance for professionals in this field to know exactly which methodology to use in different phases of a project.

Work Closely With the Client

Client satisfaction is, beyond doubt, the most important thing that you need to focus on. Why? Well, because it’s the most important metric to determine whether your project is successful or not.  Sure, you may know better than the client, however, all you can do in this situation is try to gently persuade them to see things your way. If they still resist the idea, you definitely shouldn’t push it. Eventually, once they’ve seen the results, they would have liked your idea better but you’re not there to hypothesize. Also, by showing them your design and asking for feedback, you’ll have a chance to change the direction before you’ve wasted too many work hours on this project.

Provide Clear Direction

In his The Art of War, Sun Tzu stated that if the order is unclear, then the responsibility for the failure of its execution falls on the commander, not the troops. Seeing as how the majority of this book is also applicable in present-day business management, you might want to start applying this rule while running a project. Tell your team what you expect of them, don’t expect them to read your mind. Whenever you give a direction or ask for something, try looking for a hidden ambiguity. Better yet, let the staff member in question repeat what you’ve asked of them so that you are sure that they’ve understood it.

Learn From Specialists

The next thing you need to understand is that you can always learn by observing the top dogs in the industry. For instance, if your project requires infographics, examining the work of experienced design pros in this line of work might be a good idea. Naturally, you won’t be able to deduce all their methods and work routines by just observing their work but, then again, sometimes, all it takes is a pointer. Remember that knowing what the end result is supposed to look like is already a huge boost for your planning stage. You see, when it comes to the infographic, it’s not just about the aesthetics of the visuals but the overall quality of the message that it sends.

Cost-Effectiveness

The most important thing that a project manager does is manage the available resources. However, a lot of people have a misconception when it comes to what these resources actually are. First, there’s the cost-effectiveness of tools and equipment management. Sure, getting the most expensive platform may sound like a good plan feature-wise, however, it increases the overhead of the project and may diminish your profit. Therefore, finding the balance between the two is what you need to focus on. The last thing you need to understand here is the fact that time is a finite resource.

As you can see, the key lies in planning and communication, seeing as how communication is vital for the execution of tasks that you have planned out. Bear in mind that making a truly outstanding design project sounds a lot scarier than it actually is. The key thing is to spend enough time and energy planning and that you keep supervising your team and actively communicating with them. The last two will determine the effectiveness of the execution.

team discussing project -DepositPhotos

Jennifer Hahn Masterson

Jennifer Hahn Masterson

Jennifer Hahn Masterson is a Senior Content Strategist, holding an MA degree in business communication. She is always doing her best to help her clients find their place in the ever so competitive business arena, insisting on long-term sustainability rather than on some questionable get-rich-fast scheme.

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