Why visibility through reporting and notifications is essential for project success

 

Successful project management is about a lot more than sharing data. This is why specialist project management software remains so popular in spite of the availability of free file-sharing sites and basic, affordable online workspace systems. There are big differences between basic file sharing systems and the built-in functions of more advanced project management software.

One major advantage of specialised project management software is that it gives you the ability to report to project sponsors simply and easily. For those who still remember the “old days” of wading through long, dry, written reports, 21st-century technology is a huge step forward. Reporting has evolved to allow for condensed information, easy-to-assimilate visuals and notifications of important project updates that land on your phone or other mobile devices in real time.

As technology gets more complex, reporting gets less so. Software allows you to replace those lengthy reports with accessible charts, tables and other visual elements that quickly present all vital information. You can customise project management software to ensure that sponsors and other high-level stakeholders regularly get updates that matter to them and that those who require an immediate response receive it without ever having to deal with extraneous or redundant information.

The fast pace of the modern world means that it is important to prevent slowing down workflow with bloated or unnecessary processes. Trends in reporting are constantly moving toward presenting the right information to the right people at the right time. This information should make sense to non-technical staff and stakeholders, even when the information itself is technical or complex.

Verto software offers a range of reporting options aimed at keeping communications streamlined and effective. Providing comprehensive reporting from the product itself, as well as the opportunity to integrate it into third-party reporting engines, Verto opens up various choices for project managers. The software features easy-to-use reporting options that are ideal for keeping your management team up to date on events, milestones and risks without the need for detailed input from sponsors. You can also customise this software to let sponsors respond to issues when their input is necessary.

Mobile apps now allow project management teams to access an unprecedented level of flexibility. Offering on-the-go updates, requests for approvals and knowledge of risks, mobile reporting allows teams to easily collaborate on making the right decisions for their projects in a timely fashion. Customisable apps facilitate instant notifications that not only concern the project’s current stage but also the various decisions needed for the next stage. The right app can clearly present the required information for making the next logical decision on a particular project, whether it is to progress to the next stage, end the project or inject more resources for successful project completion.

The VertoGo mobile app offers immediate updates for your project management team with the additional options of notifying sponsors of changes and gaining their approval while they are on the move. VertoGo is now available for both Apple and Android devices. For more information, go to www.vertocloud.co.uk.


5 ways to streamline approvals and make contextually informed decisions

 

Few things bring a project to a grinding, if temporary, halt quite as fast as a badly-managed approval process. Streamlining the approval process can keep a project flowing smoothly from one stage to the next. To do this, it is necessary to put systems in place that allow approvers to make fast, contextually informed decisions.

 

1. Consult the right people

Decision authority is the first thing to streamline. Too many organizations have too many people or functions involved in the decision-making process. This gives veto power, or the power to delay the project with unnecessary queries, to the wrong people. Some people or departments are consulted for no reason, other than that is the way things have always been done. Ensure that decision authority is only given to the decision-makers whose input is really necessary

 

2. Ask the right questions

 

When it comes to capital expenditure decisions, there are three vital questions to answer:

 

  • Is this proposal complete, and does it exceed the minimum hurdle rate?
  • Do we have the funds to invest in this project?
  • How attractive is this project compared to others, at this time?

 

Any queries, objections, or decision-making delays that are based on anything other than these questions are irrelevant and should not be holding up the approval process.

 

3. Implement a system to compare disparate projects

 

Decision-makers often have to compare very different projects. To complicate the process further, the criteria for evaluation may be either qualitative or quantitative, depending on the project goals. This can make it challenging to answer the question as to which project is most attractive, inevitably delaying the approval process. It is vital, therefore, to have a system to compare disparate projects objectively and ensure that the most appropriate project is quickly approved.

 

4. Forecast frequently

 

The approval process is also hindered by out-of-date forecasts. Projects grow and change as they move through the project life cycle, making it important to update forecasts at every stage. To keep approvals streamlined, it is necessary to:

 

  • Make real-time data automatically available to the capital-management system
  • Allow project managers to easily and frequently update this data
  • Compile forecasts in a systematic and standardised way
  • Make forecasts easily accessible to everyone involved, to enable effective collaboration
  • Ensure that management act promptly based on these frequent, real-time forecasts

 

5. Develop a unified approach

 

Many organisations make approval decisions in silos. There is no unified system to compare one project against another. This hinders the process, as approvers try to identify the most attractive project by navigating multiple reports, spreadsheets, and databases to ascertain exactly what the updated forecasts, budgets, and return on investment is for each project are.

 

One way to streamline the approval process is to streamline the comparison process. Organisations can do this by implementing a unified capital-portfolio-management system, that tracks each project across the investment life cycle, allowing easy comparison at every stage for which approval is required.

 

Request a demo of Verto to see how we can help you streamline approvals in your organisation!


How reports can make or break a programme

 

The reporting process is part and parcel of the programme management process. However, not all reporting is good reporting. Over-reporting can be as damaging to progress as under-reporting. It is vital to ensure that the reporting process is streamlined enough to deliver the right information to the right people at the right time, without creating unnecessary work for key team members who would be better off spending their time implementing rather than reporting.  

 

 

Programmes and projects consist of many moving parts. Communication between team members, managers, contractors and stakeholders is vital. When it comes to running a programme that may consist of many different projects, all working towards similar or complementary outcomes, things get even more complicated. It is important to monitor the interdependencies between projects within the programme, and prevent problems and delays affecting one project from having an impact on others. This means identifying and communicating factors that need to be reported, not just within project management teams, but also from one project team to another. 

 

Effective reporting systems allow for essential communication across large and complex programmes. It allows project managers within the programme to keep up to date with the progress of other projects that will impact theirs. Reporting also allows the teams delivering the benefits to assure those waiting for them, such as senior management, stakeholders and end users, that the projects are progressing well, that the programme is working, and that the benefits are likely to be delivered in full and on time. 

 

When project management teams regularly and efficiently report to sponsor teams, everyone benefits. Good reporting procedures give everyone a sense of ownership and involvement. Clear reporting can relieve sponsor time pressures by ensuring that management, stakeholders and customers are aware of how things are progressing, and if there are delays, why those delays occurred, and what is being done to alleviate them. Programme managers may be reluctant to communicate bad news to stakeholders, but stakeholder management is an essential part of programme management, and good reporting can ensure stakeholder buy-in. 

 

Under-reporting and over-reporting 

 

Both under-reporting and over-reporting are damaging to effective programme management. However, it is not always easy to create a perfect balance. A lot will depend on how agile the organisation is, and the tools in place for effective programme management. A rigid approach with specific reporting structures, templates and software that all teams must adhere to, regardless of how relevant they are to a particular project, may result in over-reporting and time wasted on reporting progress rather than actually making more progress. 

 

An agile approach will allow for customised levels of reporting, taking into account the complexity of the programme. Ideally, reporting should supply everyone with the data they need, when they need it, without distracting them with irrelevant or untimely information.  

 

Many programme managers are keen to ensure efficiency by providing information strictly on a need-to-know basis. This approach ensures that just enough information is reported to allow key project decisions to be made. This may work well in situations where the programme management team has the trust and understanding of the sponsor team, but can cause problems if the stakeholders and other members of the sponsor team misunderstand this commitment to efficient reporting, and see it instead as a lack of transparency. 

 

Other programme managers choose to deliver far too much detail to stakeholders. This is rarely welcomed and, depending on the complexity of the programme, can often obstruct the reporting objective of clearly communicating progress. Too much detail, data and unnecessary information is hard to digest, and can even imply to the sponsor team that the programme management team is trying to hide important information among a sea of jargon. 

 

Setting expectations 

 

Good reporting procedures have a lot in common with good programme management. It is advisable to agree on reporting structures at the beginning of the programme, at the same time that all other deliverables are being agreed upon. This involves agreeing upfront with stakeholders, other members of the sponsor team, and other project management teams within the programme, what will be reported, in what depth and at which points during the implementation of the programme. It can be helpful to set out the following: 

 

  • What data should form an essential part of reports? 
  • What data is irrelevant and can be left out? 
  • How often will reports be delivered? 
  • Who will read which reports and why? 
  • Is there a culture of trust that allows efficient, need-to-know reporting? 
  • What reporting tools will be used? 
  • Are there alternatives (such as project management dashboards) that can be used to minimise formal reporting procedures? 

 

The more agile the approach to programme management is, the more agile the approach to reporting can be. It is possible to build in flexibility, allowing bare bones, need-to-know reporting to be the norm, but agreeing that more in-depth reports will be generated if a complex or unforeseen issue arises. 

 

Reporting best practices 

 

While no reporting system is perfect, there are certainly some best practices that should be followed. When it comes to reporting procedures in programme management, it is essential to consider the objectives of reporting and put in place a strategy that allows all relevant information to be reported to all relevant teams and individuals, without wasting any more time than is necessary on the reporting process. To ensure maximum efficiency: 

 

  • Agree who needs to know what, when and why 
  • Put in place an efficient reporting system 
  • Consider project management software that allows for ongoing communication 
  • Create formal reports only as often as necessary for the success of the programme 
  • Do not provide detail for the sake of detail – summarise the essential data and information 
  • Establish trust between the programme management team and the sponsor team 
  • Generate reports at regular intervals to create continuity and expectations 
  • Do not let reporting get in the way of implementing 

 

Ultimately, reporting procedures should be made as efficient as possible. To find out how Verto can help make your project management more efficient, register for our free 60-day trial today! 


VertoSense: ultimate flexibility with dynamic infographics

 

 

VertoSense is a powerful new tool we’ve introduced in response to the need of our clients to better manage and visualise their project dependencies. 

Instead of just focusing on the traditional elements of tasks & milestones, VertoSense allows users to record the links between any of the project elements. For example, a cost may be dependent on a milestone, an issue’s resolution dependent on an action or even a benefit linked to a change in scope.

Greater flexibility for better business 

The enhanced flexibility and customisation of VertoSense means that project management professionals and stakeholders can make determinations about how dependencies are established and recorded, taking account of subtle dependencies that can be lost in more rigid systems. 

These dependencies can be set up as often as necessary and between as many elements as needed so it really is extremely flexible. 

Intuitive design 

Creating a customised dependency automatically generates a dynamic infographic which shows all the connections. You can see where any other projects are dependent on yours, where your project depends on any others and where you have any internal dependencies. Refining your view to just what you want to see makes assessing impacts as easy and visual as possible.   

 

Pinpoint accuracy 

The VertoSense linking functionality also provides teams and stakeholders with a significantly improved means of communication throughout the project management framework. All project management software does this doesn’t it? Well, not quite in this way. 

With VertoSense, users can share information with their collaborators through pinpointing to get feedback, troubleshoot minor issues, request review and more. The VertoSense function guides contacts to the exact place where you need help so there’s no time wasted trying to direct attention to the relevant area. Such intuitive collaboration is crucial in project management and means users can instantly see what needs to be done, do it and get on with other tasks. 

Communication is as easy as starting the chat - every project automatically has a chat group containing all the project members or you can create your own groups as needed. 

Make it easy to see and understand 

VertoSense can dramatically streamline and simplify your next project management task. From improving recorded dependencies and generating intuitive visuals to helping you see where and how various internal and external projects are connected, this powerful tool can take your project management to the next level.  

This tool offers a customisable solution for those looking to boost communication and increase the transparency of any project. 

VertoSense comes alive in a demo, so to see it in action contact us at info@vertocloud.com or call +44 (0)118 334 6200. 


How agile teams can work together

 

At the heart of any successful project is a well-managed, cohesive team. While this sounds simple, it is often far from it, with team collaboration often hindered by a fast-paced, ever-changing work environment. Increasingly, the demands placed on the modern project management team include shifting priorities and changes in timelines and objectives, as new data is incorporated into the original project. It is, then, vital to put in place an agile team that can effectively work together in spite of the uncertainties they will face.

 

What is agile?

 

“Agile” is now a concept that applies to goals, principles, practices and, of course, teams. Being agile is about setting aside rigid, traditional, 20th-century management techniques, and becoming responsive, flexible and collaborative. Agile teams are poised to respond, adapt and pivot in a working culture that has become increasing volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

 

Agile teams must learn to prioritise responding to change over following a plan – which turns traditional project management techniques upside down. At first glance, the agile workplace, housing an agile team, is not the ideal environment for traditional project management strategies, but project management strategies can be adapted. Project management can also be agile.

 

Making project management agile

 

In an agile environment, project management works differently. Traditional project management establishes a detailed plan, with specific deliverables for each stage, and then follows the plan. Agile project management involves defining a desired outcome, and then working towards it in stages. Each stage of the plan is delivered in a short period of time, and then the team clarifies what needs to be done next.

 

In project management, agility matters most at the point of execution. The idea of agility as a broad ideal may seem inconsistent with the “milestones and deliverables” focus of traditional project management. However, agility at the point of execution is possible in well-managed projects. Teams can work together to execute specific tasks, while remaining responsive and ready to adapt to whatever new issues the execution of that task generates.

 

Project managers who nurture agility within their teams create successful outcomes. They learn to track and monitor progress, identify shifts in priorities and objectives, respond to new information, redistribute collaborative work as needed, map and manage inter-dependencies between different groups, and identify high-potential but overlooked experts who can take the burden off other, over-stretched, team members. Agile project management, far from being a step away from the benefits of traditional project management, builds extra strengths and advantages into the way that the team approaches tasks, deliverables and milestones.

 

Agility in the public sector

 

Agile concepts are already well-established within the private sector, and not just within small businesses and start-ups. Firms such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft have been quick to embrace an agile approach, throughout the organisation, and at a deep cultural level, but can this approach translate to public sector organisations with more traditional and measured working practices?

 

Agility in the public sector is possible and highly desirable. However, it needs to be accepted that organisational culture is what drives true agile thinking, and with large organisations, a change of culture is a significant challenge in itself. The first step is an honest assessment of current working culture, which will inform the change needed to transition to an agile approach. Transforming the bureaucracy associated with large public sector organisations into many small, self-contained agile teams, empowered to make rapid decisions and resolve issues quickly, will not happen overnight.

 

The role of the project management office with agile teams

 

There is still a role for the project management office in a world of empowered, self-organising, agile teams, and this role is essential. Agile teams in a large organisation are part of the wider enterprise, and still have important obligations to fulfil. With many independent, agile teams under its wing, the project management office is responsible for ensuring that the organisation is still delivering value, while maintaining quality, reputation and stakeholder confidence. Ultimately, the project management office is still responsible for oversight and governance, even as more power and individual decision-making is delegated to agile teams.

 

Agile project management tools 

 

As project management becomes agile, the tools needed for effective team management evolve. The best agile tools for your team will vary, but they must cover the following important elements.

 

Task management

 

Agile teams need sophisticated task management tools. These tools can take the form of virtual Kanban or Scrum boards with projects, task lists, time records and expenses. This allows team members to track tasks that they are not directly involved in, and makes incomplete, in-progress tasks visible to the whole team, facilitating easy monitoring and “dovetailing” with other tasks.

 

Team collaboration

 

Team collaboration tools allow for centralised, visible communication. Team members can share updates with each other, and with other local and distributed teams, and easily communicate with each other about shifting timelines, task lists, feedback and assignments.

 

Agile metrics, reporting and analytics

 

Reporting and analytics are vital to agile teams. Team members constantly responding to the metrics, data and analysis being compiled by the team as a whole is at the heart of what makes a team agile. These tools need to incorporate time tracking and projection, easy-to-understand progress reports for stakeholders, quality assurance and progress. There also need to be systems in place to identify and remedy project obstacles, evaluate performance and appraise financials.

 

Integrations

 

Any individual tool is only as good as the system in which it operates. How well does each tool play with other tools you are using? The best approach to agile project management is often an integrated software system that can be easily customised to the needs of your team.

 

Project management teams can work together easily and efficiently in an agile environment. However, it does require that traditional project management techniques are adapted, with the core concepts and benefits of agility kept in mind as those adaptations are designed and implemented.

 

To see what Verto can do to help your agile team work together easily and efficiently, register for our free 60 day trial.


Understanding Verto: VertoGrid Data Collaboration Platform

 

 

 

In this edition of Understanding Verto, we discuss VertoGrid.   VertoGrid is an innovative platform for clients to share and collaborate on projects with a centralised reporting framework.  This extremely powerful functionality is a first for Verto and with VertoGrid we are leading the charge in improving joint working. We recognise the increasing need to work together more creatively to deliver sophisticated programmes which go way beyond spreadsheets and manual systems.

Next-level connectivity

VertoGrid was originally conceived to help STP (Sustainability and Transformation Plan) clients improve communication to work together. The aim is to transform health and care services by bringing together different organisations – local authorities, NHS Trusts, CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups), voluntary and independent sector partners, GPs and primary care colleagues. It soon became clear that any business would benefit from the kind of connectivity VertoGrid enables.

Now, our clients can use VertoGrid to work together on any project. Councils can work with other councils; a CCG can work with a Trust and so on across both public and private sectors. VertoGrid connects you with your collaborators for faster, more flexible project management. It works by invitation only, so you only share data with the individuals you explicitly want to.

How it works

When users begin a joint project, one Verto site acts as the host and the entire project lives in that space. Collaborators are then invited to join the project and all work done on that project sits in one place. It follows the central Verto concept of a single version of the truth and any project is always the most up-to-date version. Importantly this also means there’s no duplication of effort!

An innovative approach to project sharing and reporting

One of the key features of VertoGrid is that it allows different users to work together without sacrificing their autonomy. Individual member organisations can maintain their own configuration, gateway processes, branding, system structure, risk management and project management methodologies, working as they always have done. VertoGrid pulls together common data elements between members and allows centralised reporting. For example, you can run a report that shows every current issue across all Grid participants.

Each client can still run their own suite of reports against their own data, the Grid reporting opens up a whole new layer which hasn’t been possible before.

Bringing together collaborators in this way helps speed reporting. VertoGrid replaces the manual, time-consuming process of bringing data together, it streamlines each project and prevents duplication, repetition and other issues that can delay a project’s completion. In short, it makes everything easier.

VertoGrid is collaboration like we’ve never done before, and the implications are significant:

  • Seamless connectivity
  • Single Version of the truth
  • No double-keying of data
  • Centralised Reporting

Enabling future collaboration

VertoGrid is the future of project management collaboration, with intuitive tools and powerful features that make it easier than ever before to coordinate work between multiple agencies and organisations without the need to alter existing structures or methodologies.

For more information and to see VertoGrid in action, contact us at info@vertocloud.com  or +44 (0)118 334 6200 for a demo.

 


Key Roles in a Project

Picking the right project management team is the first step towards a successful project. The art of guiding a project from initial planning to final implementation relies on key members within the team delivering on time, on budget, and with a high level of communication and collaboration. This means that the success (or failure!) of the project is often sealed from the beginning, when the team is put together.

Creating a skilled, cooperative and cohesive project management team is no easy task. It is vital to make sure that the team members not only provide all the necessary skill sets, but are also willing and able to coordinate their efforts, prioritise necessary communication, and meet every project goal on time.

One key role that is vital to any successful project is, of course, the project manager. They are responsible for defining the project framework, identifying necessary tasks and resources, and setting milestones. The project manager bears ultimate responsibility for ensuring that project goals are delivered on time and within budget. Good project managers inspire, encourage and coordinate all team members, always keeping the next project goal (and the ultimate objective) fresh in every team member’s mind.

The team leader is a key role in larger projects. In smaller projects, the project manager will often wear both hats. The team leader often acts as a negotiator, coordinator, initiator, facilitator and coach, as well as contributing to the project as a working member of the team when appropriate.

The team members are, of course, at the heart of any project. They work together to bring the project to fruition, by meeting every project goal on time, so that the project can move forward. It’s important to pick team members according to the specialist skills needed to meet the project objectives, but they also need organisational, interpersonal and problem-solving skills. Picking the most technically skilled member of the organisation for a key role will not pay off if they do not have the necessary talents and qualities to form part of a cohesive team.

Successful project management relies on a few other essential elements. All team members must understand the project goals and objectives and how the various team members and tasks will bring the project towards them at each stage. There must also be clear channels of communication that everyone understands and (most importantly) uses, and there must be systems in place to coordinate all the different tasks that make up each stage in the project life cycle.

In the digital age, it is surprisingly straightforward to take care of these elements – it’s simply a case of picking the right software and technology. Often, the difference between a successful outcome and a failed project can come down to the quality of the systems being used for communication and coordination within the project.

Are you a project manager wanting to exceed all expectations on your next project? You could do a lot worse than focus on two obvious but sometimes overlooked things. Pick a rock star team (in terms of interpersonal and communication skills, as well as technical) and the perfect project management software and systems. They both go a long way to making the whole much greater than the sum of the parts.

To see how Verto can enhance and enable your project management teams contact us at info@vertocloud.com  or +44 (0)118 334 6200 for a demo!


Why sharing programme data is a key component to Sustainability Transformation Partnership success

 

Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) have forged between local NHS organisations and councils in 44 areas covering the whole of England, with the aim of improving public health and care for users in each individual area. This is a big step towards providing appropriate, community-focused health and social care adapted to the needs of populations living in each area across the country, but it is also a major challenge to plan and implement.

 

 

The role of the NHS and local government: working together 

STPs bring together NHS organisations and Local Authorities to draw up proposals tailored to specific local populations and their health and care needs. Drawing on staff experience, the expertise and observations of frontline workers and conversations with the communities that they serve, local NHS organisations can take their ideas and priorities to local councils and put plans in place to support local communities in an appropriate and collaborative way.

 

This collaborative approach aims at STP’s to incorporate the needs of an entire area into planning and policymaking. As with any collaborative approach, the challenges are obvious. Systems will need to be in place for sharing, viewing and analysing large amounts of data that focuses on different, and possibly conflicting, priorities. This data will not just come from two separate sources but from many different organisations and individuals.

 

Factoring in data

 

There is no doubt that STPs can be successful and collaborations are already in place with positive results.  There are clearly many component factors which will determine success, but at the heart of each individual plan, there needs to be a strong emphasis on collaborative programme and project management.

 

These programmes work best underpinned by a framework of data collection and data collaboration to enable individuals and organisations to make decisions based upon its findings.

 

This is easier said than done with the amount of information that needs assimilated. The challenge, of course, is not only to analyse and report on this information but also use it in practical ways that lead to plans that actually solve the issues within local communities. Easy and effective collaboration and integration leads to better data and better planning; therefore, the right tools and processes are vital.

 

Hereford and Worcester STP Case Study

 

Case studies on existing STPs are already showing how important that the right tools and processes need to be if these programmes are to see successful and efficient implementation. Hereford and Worcester STP identified the necessity of a functional and user-friendly digital collaboration system to help streamline processes and documentation, enabling a comprehensive overview of programme information with a single click.

 

The Hereford & Worcestershire STP involved using cloud-based project management software, clearly showing how good practice in these programmes relies on the right tools and processes and not just on individual commitment to change and improvement. The case study revealed that the success of the project stemmed from the ability to develop a virtual team across multiple organisations, which allowed for easy communication and data exchange across the entire Health and Care System.

 

Specific achievements highlighted in this case study include:

 

  • The ability to allow CCGs to deliver briefings to all staff regarding changes to programme management
  • A streamlined process to simplify and clearly communicate the vast amounts of sharable data, rather than only sharing individual spreadsheets and Word documents
  • The opportunity for all team members to share, view and edit programme information via a centralised, “single-view” platform

 

Too often, the work of the NHS and local government experiences setbacks, not from lack of knowledge or political willpower but from the sheer amount of data and number of people involved in making significant changes to existing systems. The importance of using the right technology does not often receive priority, but when it comes to planning and implementing complex, data-driven changes of the type being employed in these STP programmes, this technology can make a significant impact.

 

To see what Verto can do to improve the outcomes of your existing project management techniques, contact us at info@vertocloud.com  or +44 (0)118 334 6200 for a demo!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Project Leadership - Managing for Success

Project management is the art of guiding a project from initial planning to final implementation. Good managers possess a solid knowledge base, skills and expertise that let them see all project management phases clearly, as well as the specific steps needed to move through the life cycle efficiently and successfully – they understand what must be done and they make sure it happens, on time and within budget.

Maybe the most critical factor that determines the success of a project though is the personal investment of project cycle management leadership. When leaders are personally committed, and take ownership of a project, the results can be astounding.
So, how do you manage for success? It’s a loaded question, we know, but the following tips can help you exert more ownership over projects, approaching each one as an opportunity to engage your team, deliver great quality to your clients and the senior leadership.

The right leadership

Leadership establishes the tone for the entire project management framework. Will the work be frenzied and chaotic or predictable and (mostly) drama-free? It is ultimately up to you and the tone you set from the start.

The most important elements at the outset of a new project are to set clear goals and to make sure your team is held accountable for hitting benchmarks and reporting accurately. You can’t do it all on your own – delegate tasks, paying close attention to the unique skills and abilities of your team members to ensure you’ve given the right jobs to the right people. Everyone should know and understand their responsibilities and how they’ll be required to track their progress.

Focus on pushing deliverables and encourage team members to stay on top of their reporting responsibilities. Not only does this help you keep the project on schedule, but it also empowers your team to make decisions more quickly and intuitively. Too much time spent second-guessing or agonising over small details can bog down even the most efficient project management framework.

Communication
You. Must. Communicate. It’s essential, even on small projects. As a leader, it is your responsibility to make sure every single team member and stakeholder is in the loop and regularly updated on the overall status of the project. They also need to know they can come to you with questions, concerns or suggestions without fear of reprimand or reprisal.

For your team, you might create a master calendar as part of your project management lifecycle controls, with significant deadlines marked clearly for all to see. Schedule meetings well ahead of deadlines to check in with everyone, gather intel on their progress and make sure things are on track. This will also give you plenty of time to address issues and make adjustments before small problems become major headaches.
Another critical aspect of communication is to express the value of your project to those outside your team. No one wants to operate in a departmental silo, so create a compelling message that resonates throughout your organisation. Do this, and you may find it much easier to secure additional resources should you need them.
Prioritising activity

Maintaining a productive pace means understanding and mitigating risks. The easiest way to add this important element to your project management methodologies is to designate a risk officer to stay on top of potential problems. Ideally, this should be someone who is thoughtful, rational and more than a bit sceptical.

Managing risks effectively means:

• Every member of the team should feel comfortable reporting their concerns or difficulties. If people don’t believe they can speak freely, they will be more likely to try to hide issues and let them fester.
• Keep a real-time risk database for more effective project cycle management. This tool should record every issue, and its resolution, throughout the entire project.
• Not wasting time or resources obsessing over risk assessment. Yes, you must stay on top of issues before they derail a project, but if you see threats around every corner, you’ll quickly become paralysed by the fear that something could go wrong at any moment.

As a leader, you must be able and willing to make well-informed judgement calls from time-to-time that will mitigate potential risks. You must also have the courage and confidence to rethink your strategy should the situation call for it.

Resourcing and capabilities
Successful project management depends heavily on having the team and resources you need – when and where you need them – to deliver a quality finished product on time and budget.

This doesn’t mean you must become a master negotiator and secure unlimited funding and personnel support on every project right from the start. It means you have to learn to work with what you have been given to the best of your ability and be able to back up any request for more with robust data, clear communication, and conviction.

In addition to your critical role as project manager, you should recruit the following team members to improve your chances of success:
• Project sponsor
• Project coordinator
• Team leader
• Working team

Resource allocation is another essential part of your job as a project manager. Identifying resources at the start of a project and managing them throughout are essential project manager requirements, but so is knowing when and how to ask for more (time, money or people) when you need it.

Conclusion
Managing for project success involves a wide range of skills that work in concert to push a project through every phase and benchmark. If your ultimate goal is always to deliver high-quality finished products to your clients, while respecting the boundaries of time and budget, you will inevitably become invested in each project, exhibiting the kind of commitment and ownership that is a great predictor of success.

To see what Verto can do to improve the outcomes of your existing project management techniques, register for our free 60-day trial today!


Mastering Verto: Using the Decision Matrix

Time and again we hear from clients that one of their greatest frustrations with their existing project management framework is that it's too rigid. They're following the proper methodology, but those processes don't always work for every project. Small projects that should get closed out quickly are given the same weight as larger, more significant projects. The result is a waste of both time and resources – and nobody wants that.

We understand the importance of project prioritisation, which is why we've built it into our system. We make it easy to apply the right amount of governance to every project so you can assign the appropriate level of project management. Smaller projects can be finished quickly and larger projects get the attention and resources they need throughout the project management lifecycle.

It is simple and effective to prioritise activity and work within Verto’s decision matrix. This handy tool lets you set a range of questions and answers in a time-saving drop-down menu, to score activities to determine and set the weight and scope of each project.

At the outset of a new project, you simply go through the questions and select the appropriate answers from the drop-down.

Questions that our clients currently use to understand and weight their projects include:

  • What's the total cost of this project?
  • How long will this project take to complete?
  • Are there external deadlines to consider?
  • Who are the stakeholders associated with this project?
  • What is the political profile of this project?
  • Have we done this type of project before or is this a new concept?

Your administrator can set the answers and the weighting that each question needs to fulfil. By assigning a weighting to each answer you tell the Verto system how much significance the project has. For example, if you routinely work on projects for high-profile clients and want to be sure those jobs always get top priority no matter how complex they are, the system will let you assign a higher score in the decision matrix. This allows organisations to prioritise small, but important projects alongside bigger legacy projects to make sure nothing is overlooked.

The Verto scorecard can be updated and run again at any point in the project management lifecycle, so you can rest assured that you always assign the proper governance, priority and significance to every project, even if things change halfway through completion. Not only will your project management framework become more agile and flexible, but avoid over-managing basic processes and more effectively manage larger or more important projects.

The results of this intuitive project prioritisation are less waste of resources—time, people, money—fewer headaches for project cycle management, streamlined workflows, satisfied clients and happy stakeholders.

Try our 60-day Free Trial and see how Verto can support your organisation today. Our cloud-based solutions are already working for more than 37,800 users across the UK. So, what you are waiting for?