The Complete Guide to Project Management
Get more projects across the finish line (with less stress)
What is project management? Project management is the coordination of your processes, tools, team members, and skills so you can deliver projects that exceed your goals.
You and your team are getting ready to conquer a major project. It’s like a long stack of dominoes — it’s so cool when it works, but a big ol’ disappointment if a single piece is even slightly out of place.
These types of projects can be both daunting and exciting, and you might be tempted to start as soon as possible. Do you cross your fingers that everything magically falls into place? Rub a lamp and hope a wish-granting genie arrives to lend a helping hand?
Those would be nice (and let us know if you find a way to make them work!). But, in reality, the secret to success for your big, hairy projects is effective project management.
Key members of a project team
Every project must begin by identifying roles and responsibilities. Knowing your role upfront sets everyone up for success in staying on track to meet project deadlines. Potential project roles include:
- Project manager: Person who oversees the entire project and is responsible for the project’s success.
- Project sponsor: Senior manager who champions the project and works closely with the project manager.
- Team member: People who actively work on the project tasks.
- Supplier: People who provide goods or services for a project.
- Stakeholder: People who have an interest in the project. These can be broken into:
- Primary stakeholders: People who actually do the work and are actively involved in the project.
- Secondary stakeholders: People who might come to meetings and play a small part but aren’t key decision-makers in the project.
- Interested stakeholders: People who are in the loop on the project but don’t play an active part or have a lot of influence.
- Client: Person who receives the final project, if it’s a client-facing project rather than an internal one.
What to look for when evaluating project management software
Choosing the right project management software can be tricky. To ensure your team gets the most out of its project management tool, we recommend that you look for a solution that offers the following capabilities:
- Create a shared calendar to track project milestones and deadlines
- Share files and documents for easy access and collaboration
- Create task lists and assign tasks to team members
- Track project progress and generate reports
- Facilitate and streamline communication between team members and stakeholders
- Estimate project duration and budget
- Allow team members to comment on tasks and provide feedback
- Generate automated reminders and notifications
- Set up project templates to streamline project creation
- Manage resources and workloads
- Track issues and risks
- Manage change requests
- Create detailed reports
- Monitor project performance
Why use Confluence for project management
Confluence sets itself apart as a collaborative knowledge hub to supercharge project management with thousands of templates, plays, and integrations for maximum flexibility and scale.
Consolidate tools and centralize work
With Confluence you have knowledge, task, and project management combined with team collaboration. Embed a Trello board for Kanban-style project management, like Sprout Social. Or, integrate Confluence with Jira Work Management for an Agile approach to project management, like Castlight Health. Jira makes it easy to plan, track, and manage your projects, while Confluence boosts transparency and centralizes your project-related conversations and resources.
Scale with team and company growth
Confluence is designed to enable project management for technical teams and business teams, as well as for small businesses, remote teams, and enterprise-scale companies. Scale with unlimited instances to provide organizational autonomy, segregate data for security reasons, or customize environments. Confluence also has the security, compliance, performance, and reliability needed to support enterprises, including guaranteed SLA uptimes; data residency in US, EU, Australia, or Germany; and certifications with GDPR, SOC2, and more.
Secure and protect work and knowledge
What happens when a teammates leave your company, does their work leave too? Confluence protects project work from being lost, even if teammates leave a company. You can create permissions, set controls, and assign admins roles.
Analyze and optimize performance
You can’t manage what you can’t measure, right? In combination with Jira Work Management, you can track progress, monitor activities, and generate reports to help optimize project processes and workflows.
Project management is the engine powering team productivity. But not all project management solutions are created equal. Find out why more than 85,000 companies use Confluence.
Key benefits of project management
1. Improve collaboration
We know we need to work with others to meet our goals, yet effective collaboration doesn’t come easy for most of us. There are varying communication styles, different approaches to organization, and so many other factors that make collaboration challenging.
Project management software gives teams greater visibility into what their colleagues are working on, what deadlines are set, how individual tasks fit into the overall project process, and more. All of this contributes to the greatest benefit of project management software: better and easier project collaboration.
2. Centralize communication
Your team is struggling to communicate with disorganized email threads, direct instant message pings, and comments that get lost in the shuffle.
That’s bad news (and a big time-waster) for your projects. When team members have too many places to check for information, wires are crossed, deadlines are missed, tasks are forgotten, and confusion builds.
Project management software keeps all of your communication — from timelines and status updates to feedback and questions — in one single place that’s easily accessible to everyone. This breaks down silos so that everybody can not only share knowledge, but effectively manage how and where they share it.
3. Streamline task management
For your projects to be delivered successfully, team members need to know which tasks they’re responsible for and when they need to have them completed.
Unclear responsibilities and directions from managers are a big piece of that; working within numerous apps and tools only adds to the mayhem.
If a team member is assigned a task in one tool but they spend more of their time in another platform, they’ll miss that important notification. Managing your projects in one piece of software patches those holes and also breaks your biggest most overwhelming projects into individual steps and action items.
From there, you can assign those tasks to the correct team members with a deadline so they’re aggregated in one place, and people will get notified of their new to-dos.
4. Create a single source of truth
Your project management software will be your repository of project-related information. Documents, assets, updates, timelines, meeting notes, and everything else should be stored in your software. (Here’s a handy template for meeting notes to keep track!) Doing so ensures it’s accessible, organized, and searchable. Team members can find what they need without wasting a ton of time digging for the truth.
5. Boost efficiency
Add all of the above benefits together, and you get the best benefit of all: your team can move work forward faster. A lot faster.
With project management software in place, your team is communicating well. They know what’s expected of them and what they should get started on next. They can easily locate the information they need.
Working together like a well-oiled machine significantly cuts down on lost time. The Jira Work Management project management template helps teams get started faster with tried-and-tested workflows, instead of starting a blank page every time they need to create a new project.
Now, work no longer drags on and on because your team is equipped with the resources they need to crank out high-quality results at an impressive pace.
6. Track progress
You don’t want to deliver just any project. You want to deliver a project that stays under your budget, honors your timeline, and meets its original goals.
Those important elements are easy to lose track of when you’re up to your eyeballs in project work, and it’s a slippery slope. If you don’t keep a close eye on those limitations and expectations, you’ll struggle with schedule, budget overruns, and wasted effort when team members need to re-do work to get the project back on track.
Project management software organizes your work so it’s simpler to track things like your spend and deadlines. Additionally, you can generate reports to monitor progress as you move forward — rather than realizing too late that you’ve missed the mark.
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