There are some questions we get asked over and over about managing projects. We thought we’d share the top 3 with you (with our answers of course!).

1. I can’t get status from team members. How do you handle this?

This is often the most frustrating and challenging part of being a PM because knowing the current status of any aspect of the project at any given time is one of the most important things expected if us. We have some simple techniques that seem to work for us:
At your kick off meeting or call, let the team know how often status will be requested, what process you plan to follow to get it and why it’s important to the client or overall project. If the expectation is set right up front and the team understands how they are contributing to the big picture, then it won’t be considered ‘wasted time on admin’ and they will be willing to help by providing status.

2. I use an online project management tool but it looks more like a big long to-do list than a project. Is there a way to fix that?

This bugs us too, when we see projects that are organized (or should we say unorganized) this way. The best way to clean that up or start clean is to make a list of the requirements for the project and group them into logical categories. Then create a task for each category and sub-tasks for the piece parts. Don’t forget to enter them in sequence when you load them into your online tool. And here’s a tip: create a milestone to mark each category as you complete it – it will be way more organized and easier to track.

3. What do you do if your client gives you vague requirements or is always changing their mind?

This is a tricky one – often clients don’t know what they want until a certain stage is complete. If you have a path mapped out start to finish the client will need to be more specific with their requirements. Make sure you get the client thinking about what’s required for each phase so they will be better prepared to communicate their requirements when you need them. Give them specific instructions and lead time to work on this so things don’t fall behind. This will help keep the project on track and help the client to get clear on the direction.