10 Project Manager Resolutions for Every New Year

lego PMEvery new year means New Year Resolutions! I see evidence of this each year at my gym, which gets very crowded during the month of January. Many people focus on their personal lives, resolving to eat better, exercise more, and improve their relationships with others. And that’s all very good. However, if you are a project manager or the owner of a project-centric business, the start of a new year is but one time to resolve to improve your work life.

To that end, here are ten suggested resolutions for you:

  1. Resolve to track project financials better.
    You should know, at all times, where every dollar is being spent, what money is owed and what amounts are projected. If you ever find that your financial records don’t match up 100% with your project accounting, this is an area that demands attention. Project and financial accounting should be reliable and accurate. It should also be easy to pull up detailed information for any individual project whenever you want it.
  2. Resolve to establish reasonable due dates and then stick to them.
    If you find yourself missing deadlines, you need to determine why. Are set deadlines overly optimistic to begin with? Do undocumented changes cause project creep? Or do minor due dates pass by without notice causing major deadlines to end up past due? Alerts should inform you of upcoming or just passed due dates so that you can course-correct promptly.
  3. Resolve to maintain just one repository of all project documents and files.
    Do you ever get confused when, after a long search for a necessary file, you find two different versions of that file? Perhaps in two different locations? Do you wonder if you have the latest documents and files when making decisions based on them? Using file and version control will prevent competing versions of any file. Having them all in one catalog will make finding a particular document or file that much easier. If you waste any time at all looking for specific documents, know that this need not be so.
  4. Resolve to improve exception management.
    There are only so many hours in your day. While you probably have a good sense, on any given day, of what your priorities are, you want to make sure that issues that suddenly need your attention right away, get that attention. If you trust that most things are going well, you can focus better on the exceptions.
  5. Resolve to always include all pertinent team members in the distribution of project documents.
    It is not necessary to always send everything to everyone. But if you have ever forgotten to include all the right people in project changes and decisions, you know that such a mistake can lead to confusion and delays.
  6. Resolve to document all changes to a project, always meticulously updating contracts and budgets.
    It seems that nobody likes change orders, especially when changes affect multiple subcontracts and cause several changes to the project budget. Yet, it is highly important to record all changes and update the budget correctly. Not doing so can have negative consequences down the line.
  7. Resolve to track all compliance requirements.
    As you know, it is best if every aspect of a project is in compliance. If something, anything, goes out of compliance you need to know right away so you can deal with it appropriately and make decisions with this knowledge on hand.
  8. Resolve to wean yourself away from email.
    Email remains a helpful tool for communication, but it is hardly the only way to collaborate with others. In fact, it isn’t a particularly good way to collaborate with others. If you are still emailing documents to project participants, it is time to investigate other options, including those in the cloud.
  9. Resolve to automate processes that do not require human thought and are subject to human error.
    Why waste someone’s time with tasks that are best done through software? After all, computers are faster and more reliable. You can free up your time as well as the time of other team members if you take advantage of templates and automatic workflows. The more software can automate, the better.
  10. Resolve to use technology intelligently.
    If you are not taking advantage of tablets and other mobile devices—which allow you to work in the field—you should be. If you are not using a comprehensive project management system that works on mobile devices and can integrate with cloud-storage providers, it might be time to find one.

The right integrated system, such as the Spitfire Project Management System, will allow you to stick with all ten resolutions for the rest of the year and beyond. Perhaps the first resolution then should be: Resolve to find a good project management system!