21 Project Management Tips – Project Execution

January 29, 2013

21 Tips Project Execution Phase
Photo by Canada’s World

In the earlier posts, I shared with you 21 tips on project initiation phase and 21 tips on project planning phase of the project. Today let’s have a look at the execution phase. Execute phase is where the thing called project outcome starts showing up. As always, let’s look at it as a checklist.

  1. Project Execution phase is the most dynamic phase. Still keep it Simple.
  2. Go back to plan and see if you understand acceptance criteria. Do it frequently. It will be handy while handling changes.
  3. Go back to charter and see if its signed off. Or is it is still valid. Do it frequently.
  4. Meetings. We all end up spending our time in meetings. Though in the communication plan, we have identified meetings that are to be organized with project stakeholders, the number of meetings and the number of stakeholders in the meetings are dynamic and usually situational. In general following 10 items are always to be kept in mind about meetings.
    • Look for a strong moderator, if the project is longer and the team is bigger.
    • Ensure that the meetings do not end up being time wasters.
    • Keep agenda. And do not let the meeting drift away from it.
    • Ensure that you are meeting the team, frequently. Get information about project status, risks, issues, problems.
    • Listen. If you fail to do this, you will soon be drifting away from reality.
    • Most of the meetings can be wrapped up in 30 mins. Stick with this slot. Only exceptional meetings should be longer than 30 minutes.
    • Decide on the number of participants in the meetings. Not all the regular meetings will need participation from all the invitees, every time.
    • Many times you can avoid a meeting by giving a call or walking over to the desk. Strike a balance to optimize the time you spend in meetings.
    • Normally, the heated debates in the meetings interests only a few amongst the participants. All such topics can be taken offline.
    • Don’t let meetings be a political sports ground. Discourage display of hidden agendas. 
  5. Keep an eye on the project risks. Problems, obstacles, constraints, issues whatever you want to call it. 
  6. Identify resolution of such problems. Continue to look for trouble and subsequent resolutions
  7. Communicate project status to the right people. 
  8. Sharp focus on point 5 – 7 will ensure that the project is on track.
  9. Work to develop a bond in the team. 
  10. How about some team building activities? Go back to project plan and see if you need some more team building activities.
  11. Look for some early indicators for the quality of the project outcome. It may be at the milestone review, or intermediate project review, a project assessment or project audit. You may also want to rope in subject matter experts to do this for you. Many times, you will get such information from the team itself. You only need to Listen. 
  12. Review project progress against project acceptance and success criteria. Do it frequently.
  13. Measure the project performance against project baselines i.e. Cost, Schedule, Quality. Identify deviations, plan actions and put in the report at the right time. It will ensure right transparency and adequate support from the right people.
  14. Revise baselines, when thresholds are crossed. This is the single most step that will make you work and overwork, and will also help you to keep the project in control.
  15. Keep an eye on changes. Are they changes? Are they cases of scope creep? Have you analysed them to the point where you can define the impact on project’s outcome?
  16. How about some skill development courses for the team?
  17. Do you know how you will handle conflicts. Let it be only for yourself. But you should be clear how you should be handling any personal conflicts in the team.
  18. Have an agreement with the team about the ground rules of working together. For example, it may address the situation where the core team members will be uncomfortable with. This single step will help in making sure that the conflicts are avoided maximum number of times.
  19. Prioritize. Always be clear about project’s priorities and remember it will keep changing.
  20. Are all the agreed processes still sensible? Do you need further tweaking or tailoring?
  21. Keep the team motivated. Do it every day. It will pay you off.

What are yours? Put down here in the comments!

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2 Responses to 21 Project Management Tips – Project Execution

  1. Anuradha apte on January 30, 2013 at 12:41 am

    Hi Puneet,

    Thanks a lot for sharing this. Really interesting…

    But what I feel is to check the reality in all the projects…

    It starts from Acceptance criteria..most of the time it is not clear, i will say it is not documented properly and no one understands it. What is expected by client from this project at the end…in simple words should come out. I have not seen this is happening…

    There are situations where requirements get changed frequently…how to handle? No rebaselining happens, no one revised the estimates..how to educate client and team?

    We give NCs through internal audits but no one bothers…
    PMs/DMS are only working on escalations and mails and handling people issues all the time. How do we improve?

    In how many projects risks are handled carefully? No risk planning and assessment or ris reviews happen seriousely, not with senior management also..decisions are peding for quite long time..impacting all other priorities..

    I am just sharing some facts so that you can throw light on this with your exp.

    • Puneet Kuthiala on February 1, 2013 at 12:44 am

      Hi Anuradha,
      Thanks for opening up the discussion. I have a specific method of dealing with unknown acceptance criteria. I will publish it soon. Thanks again.

      Kind Regards

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