Top 5 Tips for Managing Complex Projects

Top 5 Tips for Managing Complex Projects

You know what you want your team to achieve, but the challenge is enormous. You’re going to need a lot of different teams working in their specialized areas, but you need to coordinate them so that the project progresses smoothly and is completed in time. Need some basic tips to get you started? Here’s what to do!

1. Break the Project Down into Sets of Tasks

A work breakdown structure (WBS) helps you to see what tasks need to be done in order to bring your project to fruition. Capture it in the form of a diagram with the goal at the top and all the tasks that go into it feeding in from the bottom of the chart. In very complex projects, you may want to include extra tools like Gantt Charts that show the necessary steps and the time allocated to each of them.

Do this planning in consultation with the teams who have to do the actual work so that you can be reasonably sure that you’re setting reachable goals and to help them to see how tasks interface with one another.

2. Decide on Collaboration Methods

Communication between individuals and teams is going to be very important in achieving the right results. While meetings will invariably form part of this, you need everyone to be able to communicate in the moment so that they can keep things moving and help each other out. You also need processes to flow smoothly from one step to the next.

If your project is a complex one, such as Xiaomi’s drive to become the new Apple, project management software can do a lot to help you stay on top of what’s going on – and it can help your team with collaboration too.

3. Keep Your Team Cohesive and Motivated

Your team will consist of individuals and groups who perform different parts of the work needed to complete your project. Each one must not only understand their role but also the fact that they are part of a large, multidisciplinary team in which members support and assist one another.

A positive working environment and genuine excitement about the outcome towards which they are working will go a long way towards motivating employees to go the extra mile when needed.

4. Be Adaptable

The more complex a project is, the more likely it is to require adaptations and adjustments along the way. Although discovering that your carefully thought-through plan needs to be changed is frustrating, it’s important to remain positive. Use your teams to help you resolve hiccups along the way and work to keep goals and deadlines challenging yet achievable. Although your route to success may change, those changes are likely to represent improvements, so stay positive!

5. Celebrate Milestones

With the pressure to complete a project well-and-truly on, don’t forget to take a little time to celebrate important milestones with your teams. In formulating your roadmap, decide on the milestones that represent real progress and be ready to turn reaching them into events worth celebrating. Milestone celebrations are easy to put together. Sponsor pizza all round, or have cake delivered to the office. Beaten the deadline? Maybe some time off or a fun group activity can serve as a reward!

And, of course, getting that complex project completed is a big one! Think about how you’ll celebrate that too. Having something to look forward to and knowing that their efforts will be recognized helps to keep your team focused.

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