Too many projects go off the rails, and it always relates to:
Successful projects are a harmonious balance of these three attributes. Every failure is the result of some leg of the stool not holding its weight.
But all is not lost! A project can recover at any point by revisiting its first principles, and closing the identified gaps. Simply ask yourself some guided questions.
Have we identified all of the work to be completed?
Project management is the art and science of getting people to work together. And the more people involved in a project, the more challenging it is to get them headed in the right direction.
The project manager takes ownership of ensuring the project is deconstructed to its requisite components, and those tasks are delegated to their relevant parties. Any failure in this process is a failure of the project manager.
Identify the work to be completed, and make sure someone is responsible for it.
Does everyone have the information they need?
Communication is the most important skill for a project manager. It can make or break the entire project. It's the single most important fulcrum in the whole process.
The tool itself doesn’t matter. Slack, email, Zoom, Google Spreadsheets, Basecamp, Asana, and Jira are all forms of communication.
Communication ensures everyone knows what they need to know.
But this sounds like a bunch of heady mumbo jumbo?
You’re right. It’s up to you to translate these principles to the real world.
New person cc’ed into an email thread? Reply with a recap of the project to bring them up to speed.
Details and nuance getting lost in text? Offer a catch-up call to take advantage of higher-bandwidth communication.
Something not getting done? Make sure the task is actually defined, that there’s a person responsible for it, and that the person is capable of completing the work in the time allotted.
Leading a meeting? Share the agenda for review beforehand, set time limits for each discussion, and identify key takeaways and next steps that serve as the tangible results for the meeting.
General confusion about the project? Synthesize key details into a document everyone has access to, and keep it up to date.
Keep it up!