How to Manage a Project

Carrying out a Project

Additional Materials

Project Communications

More projects go wrong because of poor communications and misunderstandings than any other single factor. As project manager, you need to try to ensure that all involved in the project know what is going on, what their role is, and what they should be working on. In particular this needs to cover the Project Sponsor, Project Team, and Key Contributors such as contractors and specialist groups such as Finance and Legal.

The main ways of doing this in project management are through the following:

Project Plan

Use the Project Scoping Plan that you have produced to ensure that all the key people know what the project is about and how you propose to tackle it. This includes project sponsor, the team, any key contributors, and key stakeholders. If you have a team working on the project, the best way to get them to really understand the plan is for them to be involved in the creation of it, in a group session.

Project Meetings

Typically review meetings with Sponsor/Project Board and project team meetings. Such meetings, particularly the review meetings with the project sponsor, are often best linked to an end-of-stage or a key milestone, rather than simply at regular intervals. For example, the end of the project scoping stage. It gives the meetings a purpose rather than just to review progress. If possible, use the Project Plan time schedule to book the key dates well in advance.

Project Progress Reporting - Written Reports

For some projects, regular written progress reports are needed. These are often Highlight Reports - see typical format below, updates of the project plan, and updates of expenditures - actual and forecast.

Highlight Report Layout
  1. Project Title:                            Report for period xxx to xxx
  2. Activities planned for the next period:
  3. Changes to plan/difficulties experienced or anticipated:
  4. Risks identified/issues raised:
  5. Resources used/required
  6. Comments:

Prepared by                                            Date:

Agree with the project sponsor what form of written progress reporting is appropriate.