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Lead Your Team Strategy

16 Project Management Terms You Should Know

16 Project Management Terms You Should Know
Project management is fundamental to a company's success. / Credit: Project Management image via Shutterstock

In order to run a successful business, you better know how to keep projects on task.

Fred Mouawad, an entrepreneur and creator of the task-management platform Taskworld, said good project management is fundamental to a company's success. It assures the alignment of resources and brings them together efficiently to execute and realize value. 

"Without proper project management, a good strategy remains just an idea that is unlikely to ever see the daylight," Mouawad told Business News Daily."It is imperative to have the right strategy and the right project management skills to materially succeed."

To help small business owners, Mouawad highlights 16 parts of the process to keep in mind when trying to ensure projects are always moving forward:

  • Purpose: Without purpose, it's hard for teams to exert the extra effort to get things done. Before you start, organize a kick-off meeting, and define the goal and what you're trying to achieve.
  • Goals: Goals provide focus on how to design a road map to fulfill the objective. They should be S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
  • Capabilities: People are the most important resource of all. Go with those who have the skills, experience and will to achieve at the highest level.
  • Resources: Identify the resources required from capital, people, equipment, space, time and anything else needed to get the job done. Without the right resources, a project will fall short.
  • Decisions: Be clear about who can make what decision, what needs to be vetted by a committee and how quickly decisions are made. If too many people are involved, the risk of falling into an analysis paralysis increases. Make sure you have the right people making the best possible decisions at all critical junctures. 
  • Debate: Try to analyze a situation from multiple angles. Encourage your team to explore all possibilities, list the most viable options and then select the best one. Instigate a healthy debate to explore opposite sides, so when it comes down to deciding, you have considered most factors. 
  • Exploration: Go through every possible option available. Weigh pros and cons carefully, and try to come up with the option that adds the most value.
  • Transparency: Know who is working on what, and who is or is not getting their tasks done on time. Without transparency, problems are likely to stay hidden and get worse. It's much better to raise red flags and work collaboratively on solving problems early.  
  • Accountability: This should not be confused with responsibility. Teams can share accountability, but individuals within a team are responsible for getting tasks done.
  • Target Date: Time is a very important factor, and your team must complete tasks on time to achieve the project by its deadline. If not, it will take more resources to achieve the same goal. 
  • Priorities: Put priorities under constant review, as what is important today might not be as important tomorrow. Your team must know how the context changes, so you can adjust the plan accordingly.  
  • Red Flags: Create an environment where people are willing to raise issues if they see something wrong. Teams must work together to solve problems and trust each other to give their real opinions.
  • Critical Path: This term refers to the longest pathway to achieving a result that depends on the execution of numerous processes. Make sure to identify the critical path throughout the duration of the project. It may shift depending on the nature of the project you're working on.

Editor’s Note: Considering project management software for your business? If you’re looking for information to help you choose the one that’s right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

 

  • Celebration: Celebrate the small wins along the way. Make sure to enjoy the journey while keeping an eye on the end goal. 
  • Feedback: Nurture a culture in which everyone is encouraged to provide input to others in a respectful and factual style. If people are not told what to improve, it's unlikely they will make adjustments on their own.
  • Review: Look back to see what went well and what did not. Learn from the experience so you can better plan and execute in the future. 
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.