5 project management methods that are best for beginners
The world of project management can be daunting to anyone just starting out. Project management methods can be as wide and varied as projects themselves. There are plenty of efficient methodologies that can be applied to projects large and small that can make a real difference to how successful and lucrative your project is.
But how do you know where to start? What exactly is project management made of, and why is it so important? It has become such a wide-ranging topic that it can be hard to easily understand which collaborative tools can bring more to your teamwork and project efficiencies.
With names like Roadmap, Kanban, SMART Goals, RACI, and OKR, it might seem an opaque and difficult subject to get to grips with as a beginner. However, these are some of the best methods to be aware of and to use when you are starting out. These 5 methods will help you get more from your teams and your projects.
What exactly is project management?
Project management gives you a framework for managing people, resources, and time and helps your projects stay on track.
A project is a piece of work that has a specific objective and is not generally part of an organization’s day-to-day business. It will often involve a team or teams of people working together to reach this objective. If you do not start out with an understanding of what will need to be done and when, and how much it will cost before you start, you run the risk of failing.
There are ways to plan and organize your project to ensure you understand what will need to be done to achieve the stated objective. Projects need a pre-determined. That way you will know if you are keeping to schedule so that you will be able to deliver when you have said you will. A budget should also be set and adhered to. Without a budget and some way of measuring costs you could end up spending far more than what you will get in return.
Once you have a project objective you can start to identify the goals that will need to be achieved during the process. You can then define necessary tasks and allocate resources for your project. Project tasks will need to be executed by certain dates and monitored in some way to ensure that project managers stay on top of the project. You need to be able to identify and manage risks that come up before they become a problem to ensure your project’s success.
Why is project management such a huge subject?
If you look around, you can see examples of projects everywhere. Every building will have started as an idea on a drawing board. Teams of people will have been brought together to make this idea a reality. The speed, quality, and outcome of any given project will be determined by how well it has been planned and managed.
The principles and practices of project management have changed over time. Back in the Italian Renaissance, for example, they started building the Duomo in Florence knowing full well they lacked the technology to complete the domed section. The building stood part-finished for years, and there was a competition to see who could come up with the best way to complete it. Filippo Brunelleschi’s idea won, and he was tasked with finishing a project that took 142 years in total.
These days we approach projects in a very different way. With industrialization, organizations needed to work on much larger scales than before. Factories needed to control and monitor their output and costs. Advances in technology have also had a huge impact on how we work. Efficient project management is key for all companies these days, regardless of their size.
As projects become larger and margins get tighter, small problems can have much greater impacts. Projects can be interdisciplinary and multi-national. There may be many stakeholders involved in one project, all placing a slightly different emphasis on the outcome. Project management gives you ways to manage your resources and monitor how they are being used.
What are 5 easy project management methods for beginners?
We have already mentioned Roadmap, Kanban, SMART goals, RACI, and OKR. So, let’s take a look at what they are and how they can help you with your projects.
A roadmap in project management is a visual representation of a project. It will outline the key objectives, milestones, tasks, and timelines of a project. It gives a high-level overview of a project's goals and how they will be achieved. A roadmap can offer clarity and direction, and lead to more effective communication, as its visual management features help people understand complex ideas more easily.
A structured view of a project's scope and activities can help you understand a project's purpose and the steps required to achieve its goals. They can also show how a project contributes to a broader strategic vision, helping people to make informed decisions and prioritize tasks accordingly.
By visualizing key milestones and dependencies, roadmaps can help people identify those tasks and activities that are critical and how they can best manage resources. With a roadmap in place, you can more easily track your project’s progress. This means you can more easily take corrective adjustments and actions as and when they are needed.
Kanban means visual board, or sign board. The term originated with the Toyota Production System. It was introduced by Toyota in the 1940s to eliminate waste and make their production lines more efficient. Visual management techniques are used to visualize work and workflows on a Kanban board with the aim of optimizing efficiency and productivity.
A Kanban board can be real or virtual, and an online whiteboard is ideal for this type of project management. A Kanban board typically consists of three columns that represent different stages of a workflow. For example, ‘To Do’, ‘In Progress’, and ‘Completed’." Tasks will be on cards or sticky notes, and move across the columns as they progress through the workflow.
Although Kanban has its roots in the manufacturing process, it can be used in many sectors. You can use it to see real-time information and it can highlight any bottlenecks or other problems that might cause disruptions. Increased visibility can help reduce timeframes, improve workflows, and help with teamwork. Kanban is particularly useful for when you need an efficient method that offers flexibility, responsiveness, and continuous improvement in your project.
3. SMART goals
SMART goals are those that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound.
Goals need to be clear, concise, and well-defined. They will ensure that everyone is on the same page.
If you have quantifiable criteria or indicators that can be used to track progress you will be able to determine whether or not you are achieving the success you are looking for. Measurable parameters include numbers, percentages, milestones, or key performance indicators (KPIs).
Goals should be realistic and attainable given the resources, constraints, and time frame available. They need to take into account the available skills, expertise, and resources you have. An achievable goal will motivate and inspire confidence as it will be seen as a challenge that can be accomplished. Unrealistic goals that are not easily achievable will have the opposite effect.
There is no point having goals that are not aligned with the overall project objectives. They should have a direct impact on a project's success and contribute to its overall purpose. You do not want to waste time or effort on things that will not drive a project forward.
You need a defined timeline or deadline for completion to create a sense of urgency and to help with planning and prioritizing tasks efficiently.
RACI stands for Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed. A RACI chart or matrix will clarify the roles and responsibilities of team members working on a project. A visual representation of who oversees what will bring clarity and structure.
This is the manager or team member who is directly responsible for the successful completion of a project task.
This is the person who is ultimately responsible for and in charge of a particular deliverable.
This is someone the team can consult.
This is a client or colleague who is not directly involved in executing the project but who needs to be kept informed of the project’s progress.
Objectives and key results are at the basis of the OKR project management method.
Objectives are the high-level goals that describe what an individual, team, or organization aims to achieve with a project. They provide the direction for the project.
Key results are specific, measurable outcomes. These will determine whether a project’s objectives have been achieved. It gives a quantitative or qualitative way to assess any progress and success. Objectives also need to be SMART so that project teams and managers can make a proper evaluation of performance.
Using the right tools for efficient project management
Online whiteboards are a key part of your toolkit for efficient project management. They are flexible and adaptable, and can be easily used with all the methods noted above, and many more.
A virtual whiteboard is a collaborative tool that, combined with the right readymade templates, will help your teams improve their efficiency and teamwork. Unlike a traditional whiteboard, teams can use an online one for project management whether they are in the same workspace or based remotely.
The ability to collaborate in real time is vital for project management. Hybrid and remote working have become common practice since the Covid-19 pandemic. No longer can you assume that team members will be working together in the same physical workspace.
Having numerous apps and emails for communication can lead to confusion and inefficiencies: using a virtual whiteboard allows real-time collaboration so team members can contribute simultaneously, enhancing productivity.
As an example, brainstorming is a methodology used by project teams to come up with new, innovative ideas. When this method was first introduced it was typically done using a whiteboard or piece of paper. An online whiteboard has numerous features that will help your team generate better ideas. For example, the board is not limited to text or a specific size. You can add media files, move things around, save different versions, and so on.
Online whiteboards enable the visual representation of ideas, concepts, and plans. Whether you are creating a Kanban board or using any of the other project management methods we have mentioned, you will have a shared platform for creating any diagrams, flowcharts, timelines, or other visuals that you need. This makes complex information more understandable and accessible to the team. It also gives you a centralized hub for all your project-related information.
Readymade templates designed for project management give you predefined structures that can help you plan and organize more efficiently and effectively. They will save time and offer a consistent format for project plans, tasks, timelines, and deliverables. With version control and history tracking, team members can look at past versions and keep a record of project-related discussions and decisions too.
Visual whiteboards can be used to improve teamwork and they offer an efficient method of working together on projects.
Project management tools and resources for beginners
Here at Klaxoon we have all the collaborative tools you need, whether you are just starting out in project management or wish to help your teams become more efficient and effective. Online whiteboards will help your teams become more engaged and productive, and our readymade project management templates can be used for all sorts of methods and applications.
Our visual management tools help promote teamwork, efficiency, and easier collaboration, regardless of the sector, industry, or business requirement. Why not check out our resources to see how we can help your business work better?