Project management can help you with many everyday and long-term tasks and projects. But, like with most things, how you do project management can be improved. One way to improve anything that you do is through evaluation.
The definition of project planning, according to Wikipedia is, “… the process and activity of planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals…”
Evaluation – What to Consider
When you read the above definition, one of the things that sticks out is the idea that project management is about “controlling resources, procedures and protocols.” The only way you can be sure that you are doing so is by evaluation. Therefore, part of your project management set-up should be all about evaluating whether or not the way you're managing projects is working. You know they are working if you're meeting or beating deadlines, and finishing projects successfully under budget.
To determine these facts you'll need to:
* Compare performance to planned performance
* Identify correct or mistaken parameters
* Focus on relevancy, efficiency and effectiveness
* Determine whether objectives were met
* Determine why objectives were met
* Determine why objectives were not met
* Ask if results were in line with scope
* Determine what role technology played
When you evaluate, you consider all aspects of inputs with desired outputs to determine if goals were achieved and why you can improve the next project.
Project was delivered on time but with considerable stress and over budget. You earned less than you thought you would because your bid was lower than it should have been.
Project proposal compared to project deliverable. How much difference is there between the two? Did you allow scope creep to take over? In addition, which areas of the project were over budget? Assuming deliverables and proposal matched; did you miscalculate the amount of time it would take you to accomplish specific tasks? If you miscalculated your time commitment; why? Did you read the entire proposal carefully before giving your bid?
As you evaluate each step of your project management procedures, try to identify what can be accomplished easier, better, with less time, and less stress. A very simple fix for avoiding scope creep is to ensure that when the client sends you a change, you add it to the contract and send the contract with a new bid to the client each time. If you make that a habit, you're not likely to have too many issues with scope creep.
If you are having issues with underbidding due to a miscalculation on your own part of the amount of time it will take you to do, why are you doing that? Are you overestimating your abilities in some way? Are you allowing your need for money to cloud your judgment when bidding on proposals? Only a complete evaluation of each project after completion will help you determine these answers. No matter how successful you perceive any one project, an evaluation should be completed in order to help you improve.