25 Pro Tips for Profitable Project Management

ChelseaWilliams
By Chelsea Williams
Senior Copywriter
Apr 3 2023 read
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Despite the perception you may have of the uber-structured project manager, it takes more than solid organizational skills to be great at project management. There are many elements that must weave together seamlessly to make a given project successful — and profitable.

Here, we’ll cover small but impactful ways to support project profitability in each of these five key areas:

Start With Clear Goals

  1. Educate your team on project management responsibilities. You can’t set specific goals if you aren’t sure about the scope of your role or team duties. Whether you have a dedicated project team or not, where does the project management function begin and end in your client journey?
  2. Align project goals with the client’s desired outcomes. What are you trying to help this client achieve? While you may be able to standardize some processes, you’ll need to ensure you’re aiming for the unique results that matter most to each team or person. Include questions about goals in an initial discovery and/or project planning call.
  3. Use historical data to set achievable, time-oriented goals. Goal setting should never be about guessing. Be diligent about collecting data on the average time it takes to complete a certain type of project or task and how long it takes for clients to generate results, if applicable.
  4. List project-related goals in a visible space. There shouldn’t be any confusion about a project’s aim before, during or after. Keep them in the notes section of your CRM or create a custom field in your project management software.
  5. Communicate your goals to all parties. Talk of goals shouldn’t be limited to leadership. Each person involved in the execution of a client project should be informed of what you’re collectively looking to accomplish and how. 

Keep Projects on Track

  1. Adopt simple and accurate time-tracking methods. Not only is time tracking helpful for task coordination, but it gives you the data you need to determine accurate billing rates. Automated time tracking is a particularly easy way to collect numbers about billable vs. non-billable and actual vs. estimated time per client and per project.
  2. Measure your team’s productivity. Keeping track of team productivity makes it easier to see opportunities to adjust your approach to project management. There are various units you can choose to track, including number of tasks logged and time per task.
  3. Prevent scope creep with auto-scheduling. Sometimes, simple things get in the way of delivering on-time client work. Managing conflicting schedules can become one such obstacle unless you use an auto-scheduling tool in your project management platform.
  4. Determine the most appropriate workflow type for your projects. A traditional, sequential workflow may not be suitable for the services you offer. Do some research on other kinds of workflows — and ensure that you document the steps and assignments required to move your projects along. 
  5. Identify potential slowdowns before they happen. Both people and systems can become bottlenecks, but they’re less likely to cause long-term problems if you’re conscious of warning signs at the start of a project.

READ NEXT: 5 Best Project Management Podcasts for Industry Insights

Stay Adaptable

  1. Be ready for the unexpected. While careful planning is important, even the best plans need to change sometimes. Project managers who are willing to be flexible when necessary are more likely to be successful.
  2. Create protocol for handling client requests. Often, a project gets thrown off by last-minute requests or issues. If your team has an efficient process in place for handling those requests, these hiccups will be less likely to negatively impact your timelines.
  3. Identify your least important tasks. In a time crunch, what can you sacrifice? When you think ahead about your lowest-priority items, you can easily adapt if you’re under tight deadlines or faced with limited resources.
  4. Give your team a way to contribute ideas. The people who work on your projects every day are most apt to understand the kinds of changes that could make the work more efficient and well-received. Listen to and consider implementing their suggestions.
  5. Empower your team to make quick decisions. With reasonable parameters and encouragement, employees can often take care of making small changes that could otherwise block workflows and make projects less efficient.

Perfect How You Manage a Team

  1. Commit to regular internal communication. Frequent updates may seem unnecessary if your team is doing well. But they can still serve as small indications of your interest in keeping everyone abreast of what’s going on with current and upcoming projects.
  2. Make transparency a clear company value. Great leaders trust their teams, and one way to demonstrate that you trust the people who complete your client work is to communicate with them directly and honestly about everything from operating protocol to finances to human resources.
  3. Pay attention to employee utilization. A fairly distributed workload goes a long way in making employees feel they’re a priority. They’ll also be more inclined to help out colleagues if they can see evidence of equitable decisions on the part of leaders.
  4. Encourage regular one-on-one check-ins. Your employees need to be in top mental form to perform at their best. Research by the O.C. Tanner Institute shows that biweekly one-to-one meetings with direct reports reduce the likelihood of employee burnout by 84%. 
  5. Implement programs and perks that prevent turnover. Your best client work arises from an experienced team, which can’t fully develop if you have frequent employee turnover. Quality health benefits, competitive compensation and professional development are a few elements that can support employee retention.

Choose Better Tools

  1. Establish cross-departmental visibility. It’s impossible to manage projects well if you aren’t sure what’s going on at each stage. Give your managers and individual contributors alike a single source of real-time truth.
  2. Consider a platform that supports your pricing model. Your tech stack should support how you do business instead of requiring that you change up what’s already working. Whether you prefer to charge by project, by hour or via retainers, Accelo has you covered.
  3. Look for the ability to create unlimited projects and tasks. Your team doesn’t need to be limited by the restrictions of a software license. Instead, look for a flexible solution that helps you adapt your project work in any way your team needs to maximize efficiency.
  4. Connect projects to other segments of the client journey. Seek a platform that’s not just isolated to project management or another singular function. An integrated CRM, for example, consolidates all key client work stages and makes it easy to move from the quoting process into project creation.
  5. Consider the value of customizable automation. Some parts of project management can be automated, and you should be able to choose what they are. In Accelo, you get a combination of built-in automation, status progression actions and trigger automations to optimize your workflows.

READ NEXT: How TradiePad adapted Accelo’s Projects product to manage ongoing technology training hours for its subscription clients

When you build many of the small actions above into your existing project management practices, you increase the chances of seeing bigger profit margins from each project. 

Want even more tips and advice for generating profitable client work? Subscribe to our LinkedIn newsletter.

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About the Author

ChelseaWilliams

Chelsea Williams is Senior Copywriter at Accelo, where she shares unique insights with service professionals and tells user stories via blogs, eBooks, industry reports and more. She has over 15 years of B2B and B2C writing experience — primarily in tech, sales, education and healthcare. Chelsea is an AWAI-certified Master Copywriter trained in brand storytelling and microcopy.

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