Project management doesn’t need to be stressful. Of course, there are plenty of challenges and endless balls to juggle, expectations to consider—but you were made for this kind of work, right? Yes, it’s a demanding job, but it’s also a role that brings a lot of value to organizations, and let’s face it . . . it’s lively! It’s interesting; it’s ever-changing and engaging.
As a sales development representative for LiquidPlanner, here’s something I hear a lot: It’s not the job that’s causing endless stress as much as the underlying process of managing the work. When you’re running the project management train off the tracks because you don’t have a reliable system to oversee all the work, allocate resources, and access the big picture every hour of the day—well no wonder stress levels are off the charts.
What’s stressful? Not keeping up, that’s stressful
These days, technology teams are continually being asked to do more work with either the same or fewer resources. As technology teams scramble to meet these high expectations, competitive pressures, business priorities and economic trends, demands keep changing at an ever increasing pace. And unfortunately, legacy project management systems and spreadsheets have failed to evolve with this dynamic nature of work.
Instead, when you move projects through a dynamic project management system (one that keeps pace with the changing demands and status of projects), everything gets better. For starters, team members are always working on the right priorities, productivity increases, and engagement and quality of work goes up too. The dynamic process also gives teams access to real-time information on project risks, which helps mitigate issues and embrace change.
How LiquidPlanner decreases stress
Since inception, LiquidPlanner’s goal has been to make a dynamic project management system that supports teams in the way they actually work—in a way that reflects the way teams move through projects together.
In this post, I’m going to talk about how LiquidPlanner’s unique methodology takes the stress out of managing projects. Here we go:
When a new project—or task—gets added to the queue, an immense amount of pressure is placed on the project manager to fit that project into the current schedule and in the correct priority order. Using a legacy project management tool, or spreadsheets, this would mean rebuilding the entire projects queue and re-estimating completion dates. LiquidPlanner offers a solution to this archaic method.
Now, when a new project needs to be added and assigned, simply add the project alongside existing projects, and drag-and-drop the project into its newest priority order. You will then immediately be notified of any at-risk projects and can quickly make adjustments to ensure all projects are on track to be completed on time. The ability to drag and drop projects as changes occur can save project managers hours of admin work a week. The ability to quickly make changes and see the effect of the change saves project managers from the stress of consistently rebuilding schedules!
Effort-based ranged estimations
Rather than throwing a dart at a project to determine deadlines, LiquidPlanner uses best and worst case estimations to obtain an accurate prediction of project completion. This means that when a resource is assigned to a task, that work is given a date range to completion; then, LiquidPlanner takes into account any dependencies, holidays or vacations that could interfere, and provides a reliable start and end date for the tasks.
When project contributors estimate how much time it will take to complete a task based on their expert opinion and experience, they’re creating a realistic schedule. This is another way to alleviate project management stress because the project contributors are now held accountable for their responsibilities. Long live autonomy! Also, project managers can assume the true role of doing their job—as project overseer, facilitator and making sure that no deadlines are at risk. Bringing projects in when they’re expected to—and having a good experience getting there—become possible and doable!
The ability to keep projects in priority order and make sure that all projects are on track to meet deadlines is great—but what about the resources assigned to those projects? Another problem project managers face is keeping track of resource workload and schedules. Being responsible for everyone’s availability and the well-being of a project is no easy task—it usually leads to hair-pulling and overbearing stress if you don’t have a reliable way to capacity plan and see who’s working on what.
LiquidPlanner is unique in that we have a resource-driven scheduling engine. For starters, each workspace allows each individual to input their availability to work on projects throughout the week. So, some people may be available for 8 hours of project work a day, others may only be available for 7 hours a day because they have at least an hour of meetings to attend daily. And others might work a wackier schedule—job share, part time, who knows. The reasoning for setting availability is to ensure no resource is over scheduled or overworked. LiquidPlanner only schedules resources for as much time as they have allocated as available.
By doing this, a project manager can easily see who is available to take on more work and who needs help completing a project. It’s a true, realistic view of how long a project will take to complete based on resource availability. This futuristic view saves project managers the stress of guessing and hoping that everything will go according to plan. Now, it’s easy to see a change that needs to be made in order to reach the end goal. Frantic last-minute changes no longer need to be a part of everyday work life!
Managing projects and teams doesn’t need to be stressful in a way that takes the fun challenges out of the job. By incorporating priority based scheduling, effort based estimations, and resource availability, thrive in your job, lead teams to their full potential and make meaningful contributions to business growth.
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