12 Project Management Strategies To Improve Efficiency

Updated August 9, 2022

Project managers are leadership personnel who oversee projects, deciding the scope, budget and production details. Project management strategies help the project manager adapt to changes during the project, improve the planning phase and unite the team toward a common goal. Choosing the right project management strategy can determine the overall success of that project.

In this article, we show you 12 project management strategies to improve project efficiency.

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What are project management strategies?

Project management strategies are methods of leadership that project managers use to unite their teams and address specific challenges. These strategies help everyone understand the needs of the project and how the manager wants each phase to progress.

Related: Project Management: The 7 Levels of Project Manager Roles

Why use project management strategies?

Project management strategies help teams address project challenges, increase productivity and reach specific goals. A project management strategy provides the framework for better teamwork, higher production and more efficient projects. Efficient projects can cost less time and money and increase the overall profitability of the project.

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12 project management strategies

Here are 12 project management strategies for increasing project efficiency:

1. Define your goals early and keep them adaptable

Defining goals is part of the project planning phase that carries through the entire project as your needs change. Clearly defined goals help the team focus on a common outcome and provide direction for the project. Managers can set goals early and use these techniques to encourage adaptability during production:

Identify incoming changes

The sooner you can identify incoming changes to the project scope or timeline, the easier it is to modify the project's goals in time to maximize efficiency. For example, if a client is deciding between pricing, there's a good chance the price changes soon. You can adjust your goals to meet the potential change in price by providing a plan for both an increase or decrease in price.

Keep the team informed

Changes that occur suddenly can affect a project if everyone isn't aware of them as soon as possible. Keeping the team adaptable means relying on frequent, clear communication about expectations, project scope and proposed changes. Consider using a professional team management platform to enhance and maintain good communication between team members and leadership.

Plan for challenges

Projects can experience setbacks and surges, so it's important to plan for changes in goals early. While the team is planning the project goals, consider putting contingency plans in place for potential changes. For example, if a project's deadline can change because of material availability, accounting for that in your initial plan can help you adapt quickly once the project begins.

Related: SMART Goals for Project Managers: Definition and Examples

2. Understand the project scope

Project scope is the size of the project, which can affect the budget, labor needs and overall efficiency of the project. Larger projects require more labor and materials, which can increase the budget and require stronger leadership.

Understanding the project scope helps project managers allocate resources to the right places and provides a more realistic outlook of the project's timeline. Research the project's needs, the client's needs and the team's needs in order to meet project goals.

3. Communicate with clients and team members

Communication is essential to project progression because it helps everyone understand the project's needs and the potential challenges they can encounter. Communication is also important to understanding client expectations and adapting as the project changes.

Good communication includes clear, concise conversation and honest feedback. Nonverbal communication can enhance verbal communication by reinforcing the words you're saying with positive gestures.

Read more: 12 Effective Communication Strategies To Use at Work

4. Encourage teamwork

Teamwork is important to the project because many projects require the efforts of multiple people or departments working together. Encouraging teamwork helps keep employees focused on the power of working together.

As a leader, you can encourage teamwork by participating in the project to set an example, providing the right tools for the project and communicating with team members about changes, progress and scope creep.

5. Set clear expectations

Clear expectations minimize the margin for error because they unite everyone under the same guidelines. For example, an expectation that a project ends in the next two weeks keeps everyone focused on the deadline and provides a mutual understanding for the client, team and leadership. Setting clear expectations means frequently communicating with teams and clients, sending expectation reminders and accepting feedback.

6. Manage project risks

Some projects come with risks or financial implications, which can affect the overall outcome of the project. Consider performing a risk analysis before the project's initiation to identify risks, create potential solutions and understand the potential damage that risks can create. The more a project manager understands the project's risks, the less surprising they are during each phase of the project.

7. Use a work breakdown structure

A work breakdown structure, or WBS, is a tool that project managers use to break down projects into manageable tasks for the team. This helps break up larger projects into smaller goals which can sometimes be easier to reach. The WSB model typically consists of three levels:

  • WSB level one: The project's primary goal. For example, the team needs to complete 800 orders by the fifth of the month.

  • WSB level two: You break the main goal down into five to 10 parts. The project manager assigns resources and deadlines to each part and decides on risk tolerance.

  • WSB level three: You break each of the five to 10 parts into smaller pieces to define specific needs or goals.

8. Document your process

One of the most important parts of a successful project is the documentation phase because it provides the team with a written guide to how the project progressed. After a successful project, the project manager can review the documents with the team to determine where they met goals, where they excelled and any challenges they faced.

This is an excellent resource for planning future projects because it provides a template for success and written verification of the team's abilities.

9. Allow for feedback

Feedback from teams and stakeholders can help a project manager identify key project factors that they might have missed during the project. The team and stakeholders often hold a different perspective than the project manager, helping you get a better idea of how the project is going. You can facilitate feedback by asking directly or sending follow-up emails and surveys.

Read more: How To Get Feedback From Employees

10. Celebrate milestones

Milestones are important goals the team reaches during the project. Milestones can act as a rallying point for team members and inspire motivation. Project managers celebrate milestones with team members to encourage teamwork and communication.

Encourage employees with positive feedback for reaching important milestones. You can say things like "I'm really proud of your progress" or "Your hard work has inspired me, keep it up."

11. Reinvest savings

When a project is efficient, it saves both money and time, which you can reinvest into the team or business. Consider reallocating funds or resources to new projects that help develop the team's skills or the business's expansion.

For example, if you complete a project under budget, you can reinvest those funds into an employee development program like communication or software training.

12. Recruit better candidates

A team's skills can have a positive impact on the efficiency of the project, which makes the recruitment process crucial to your projects.

Finding the right candidates can provide the team with valuable skills and help projects progress quickly. Consider using a recruitment service or job application website to overhaul your recruitment process and ask more advanced interview questions, such as:

  • What is your greatest skill?

  • How do you perform under pressure?

  • How do you communicate challenges to the leadership team?

  • How do you handle sudden changes to a project?

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