Four New Year's Resolutions to Run Successful Projects in 2016

Jan 6 2016 read

With the new year in full swing, now is your chance to make some promises and commitments that will help your projects succeed and keep your clients happy. In case you need some resolution inspiration, we’ve decided to give you a bit of help—here are four New Year’s resolutions that every project manager should consider adopting:

1. I will not let my client work fall victim to scope creep.

Scope creep is one of the main reasons why projects go over time or over budget. In fact, according to a survey done by Accelo, 37% of projects that run for a week or more fall victim to scope creep because of client-based change requests. For small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs), that could represent a significant financial loss for the company.

There’s no doubt that anyone who devotes some thought to scope management will inevitably conclude that the rigid restraints that a traditional Gantt plan places on project management can be extremely frustrating. But, the idea of moving from a traditional Gantt plan to an agile method is an unknown and highly unstable environment for most clients, making it extremely difficult for project managers to decide which method they should select to help them manage and adapt.

It’s easy enough for anyone to plan a project, but the trick is to manage your projects with a traditional Gantt plan, while having the ability to be flexible like the agile method—something like a hybrid way of managing a project. With Accelo, you get just that. It’s a smart technology platform that will give you the ability to create a project plan using a Gantt plan that dynamically adjusts and adapts whenever you receive input from your client, deadlines change, or a scope and direction change: basically, anything that will influence your timeline and estimates, so you can adjust automatically with an adaptive tool. Take a look at these tricks, hacks, and features to avoid scope creep and to make the best of your resolution.

2. I will make sure my clients know how their projects are progressing.

According to a report by the Project Management Institute, one out of every five projects fail due to ineffective communication, highlighting the importance of communication for project success. Nevertheless, achieving effective communication is easier said than done. As a project manager, you can safely assume that you recognize the importance of communication in your project management setting. But as important as it is, it seems most project managers rely on email as their main source of communication, according to a report by Accelo.

Unfortunately, you cannot safely assume that every email sent will be effectively received. If you are not effectively communicating with your client, it doesn’t matter how many emails you send: you’ll just waste more time writing more emails that do not get your point across.

When your project progress is organized and presented in a structured manner, you can rest assured that the message will be received the way you intended it to be. With a client portal, you'll spend less time chasing your clients (and vice versa) via email or phone, and instead give your clients on-demand access to their projects, issues, retainers, and account information - while leaving you in full control of the information they receive. As with anything else, giving your clients access to a portal will not only improve your communication, but it will also help with project collaboration.

3. I will make sure my time is always tracked.

The biggest barrier keeping most people from filling out their timesheets accurately is their own memory. Once you get in the habit of procrastinating, it’s difficult to recover from it. A 2014 study found that the average professional leaks more than 15 hours a week in billable time. This means that your unintentional bad habit can cost a business over $100,000 per professional employee in forgone revenue every year.

Cutting costs is a way of life, but you won’t know where to trim down unless you know where your resources are going. Tracking and monitoring efficiently can help you pinpoint areas where you can save your business or clients money. Once you manage to accurately track your time, you may realize just how long and productive your days actually are.

Getting your timesheets under control has plenty of benefits for your projects and the company, but ultimately, it can really influence your productivity. The good news is that you no longer have to remember to track your time, or change what you are currently doing. With Accelo, you can automatically track the time you spend in meetings, emails, and doing tasks. Here’s what you need to know about Accelo’s automated time tracking feature (previously AffinityLive), and don’t forget to test it out for yourself by requesting a demo—just be prepared to be wowed.

4. I will stop wasting time in endless “status” meetings.

Think about it: How much of your time is spent in meetings? Or better yet, how much of that time is well spent? (And, if you are a manager or a business owner, have you ever calculated the cost of these meetings?)

In a survey by Doodle, an online scheduling company, they found that professionals need roughly five hours each week to schedule meetings. In another study from Verizon, they concluded that the average employee spends 15.5 hours a week in meetings. If we consider those two factors together, professionals spend up to half of the work week either scheduling meetings or attending meetings. So the inevitable question becomes—how do you put an end to inefficient or unnecessary meetings?

It’s safe to assume that you need to think of an alternative to endless meetings. There are plenty of alternatives out there, but what you really need is full visibility: a real-time, Facebook-like newsfeed that will keep you informed of every project and every client, without you having to always meet about it. Even if you limit your meetings to once a week, you shouldn’t be afraid to stay informed virtually and see what’s going on, just by logging in. Don’t hesitate to check out Accelo’s activity stream to see how you can boost your productivity and cut down your meeting time in the new year.

Well, there it is—our short list of resolutions all project managers should consider for the new year. If you have some additional resolutions you think others could benefit from, don’t forget to comment below. Otherwise, we wish you all a Happy New Year!

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