With the right mindset and strategies in place, you can revolutionize your workplace for the better. It doesn’t require a drastic overhaul of existing methods or a large investment in new technology. All you need are some tried-and-true project management principles that anyone can use to breathe life into their project team workflow.

📚 In this blog post, you will learn about the basic principles of project management (+ how to apply them). All these, along with Allfred tips. Let’s begin!

Introducing project management principles – What they are and why you should use them?

Project management principles are a set of guidelines that help a project manager plan, execute, and then – manage any type of project. It’s the rules that determine how the project should be run, with particular attention to scope, timeline, budget, risk, and communication.

Why having clear project requirements is so vital for your project success?

  1. They help a project manager make better decisions to maximize the outcome of the project
  2. They make it easier to stay on track and avoid pitfalls that could cost time, money, or both.
  3. They help create a better team dynamic by allowing everyone to understand their roles and responsibilities.
Team members who are talking about the benefits of project management principles.

13 key principles of project management for every project manager (and not only!)

Successful project managers know that the project planning phase is one of the most crucial stages in determining the outcome of the project or campaign in the long run. Cutting corners in this area may appear to be a cost-saving measure – but it’s actually the opposite.

The lack of proper project management can be costly. Cost overruns are a major consequence of poor project management. So, can you afford not to use project management principles and act intuitively? If not, keep reading, and get to know project activities that will bring you closer to the desired results.

1. Get organized

Being well-organized is the first sign of a good project. Divide your project into smaller work packages that are easier to handle and assign deadlines to each of them. Use project management tools with Kanban Boards (e.g., <Allfred) to create a visual timeline that helps you track progress in real-time. You can drag and drop tasks, reassign them, change deadlines, etc. It’s much easier than handling it without a clear work breakdown structure.

Allfred tip!

If you want to have even better insight into what has to be done first, Allfred allows you to set up priority status and deadline for each task. Not only does it streamline your workflow, but also your team members will be able to understand what needs their attention first.

2. Determine clear goals

Keep a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with the project. Define the project goal and set milestones from the start. Your entire team should know where you’re heading (even if you wake them up in the middle of the night). It will help your team member stay focused throughout the project life cycle and make informed decisions in the process. And, as long as they see the project progressing step-by-step, they will remain motivated!

3. Involve project stakeholders

If you have large projects to manage, engage all stakeholders. That includes a project sponsor, team members, and even suppliers and vendors. Why? Because the more people you involve, the more you’ll get. Of course, it may be tempting to keep them out of the loop, but they’ve got a lot of valuable insights and ideas to offer you. So, maintain regular communication with them about project progress and engage them in decision-making. It’s worth the effort.

4. Stick to the project budget and track expenses

It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of a new project and overspend, but it’s important to keep a close eye on your costs. Establish a detailed project budget plan that covers all expenses. Being mindful and responsible of your spending will help you avoid cost overruns and avoid project delays.

If you want to manage project finances more effectively, consider using a budget-tracking tool. Among the top performers in this matter is Allfred – giving complex and advanced features for tracking money (and the overall project goals). You’ll be able to identify quickly any deviations and react accordingly.

Allfred tip!

Allfred budgeting tool helps you even with invoices. Track their status, see your invoicing plan, and divide them into submitted invoices and awaiting approval. This allows you to track how many invoices have already been sent out. And if expenses are not covered by outgoing invoices, or if you exceed your budget – it will notify you.

5. Set realistic deadlines

The world will be perfect if every company and client sticks to this principle. The truth is that most of them want something for tomorrow, in an hour, or even better – for now. Set realistic deadlines for each task based on their priority and dependencies. Regularly assess progress and make adjustments to keep the project on schedule. You should take a proactive approach to minimize the impact of any delays on the overall project timeline. Your team will be grateful.

6.  Put a focus on delivering value

At the end of the day, that’s what you’re really working towards – creating something that will benefit your customers. But it’s not always easy to stay focused on that goal. Timelines, budgets, stakeholder opinions – all of that can muddy the waters.

So as a project manager, it’s your job to keep everyone on track. Assess and prioritize deliverables based on their value. Align your efforts with the project’s strategic objectives and ensure that the end results meet or exceed expectations. After all, value-driven delivery leads to successful projects.

7. Communicate clearly

Follow the art of clear team communication. Whether you are managing creatives or developers, it is important to convey your expectations precisely (for the good of smooth workflow and timely project completion). Establish a communication plan with your team members.

They should all regularly share project updates, milestones, and any changes that may impact the project. Foster open and transparent communication – so that every team member will be heard and welcomed.

Team members are talking in the workspace.

Allfred tip! 

Keep your team workload at all your employees’ fingertips if you’re concerned about seamless communication. In the Allfred dashboard, you can share/upload attachments within the tasks (no more thousands of emails back and forth!). 

8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

It’s natural to feel like you need to have all the answers as a project manager, but the truth is that no one can do it alone. Whether it’s asking a team member for input or seeking advice from a fellow project manager, there’s no shame in admitting that you need assistance. Recognize your limitations and don’t hesitate to delegate tasks to team members who have the necessary skills and expertise. Asking for help is a sign of strength. And one of the most important project principles.

9. Use the right tools and leverage technology

There’s no need to be a tech expert, but being able to select and deploy the right software, apps, platforms, and other digital resources can save you hours (if not days) on different tasks and help you achieve your project’s goals faster.

Use project management software and technology to boost efficiency. Such tools can help streamline processes, facilitate communication, track progress, and provide effective collaboration among team members. An even better solution would be to integrate them into a single tool stack.

10. Adapt quickly to changes

Change is inevitable and it’s also a sign of growth. Projects often encounter unexpected challenges. Embrace flexibility and adaptability to adjust your plans and strategies accordingly. Stay flexible, think on your feet, and make quick decisions. Don’t be afraid to learn and implement new methodologies, tools, and resources that can help you cope with changes. The overall project success is dependent on the ability to adapt.

11. Put risk management first (or at least second)

Rule number 11 – “In any project you take on, you should identify the potential risks and threats that the project may encounter.” Recognize potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate their negative effects on the project plans. If you know the enemy, you know how to fight with it.

Implement a robust risk management plan and regularly monitor and address any emerging risks. By being proactive and spotting potential risks upfront, you’ll be able to come up with contingency plans, allocate resources more effectively, and ultimately increase the chances of success for your project. 

12.  Keep your resources in balance

It may include three basic components – financial, human, and time, and it is essential that you keep them in sync with each other. For example, allocating too much of your financial assets might not be helpful if you don’t have enough human resources to implement your plan.

Manage your team’s workload effectively. Check that tasks are allocated appropriately and that your team members have the necessary support to complete their work successfully. Balancing resources leads to higher productivity and happier team members.

Allfred tip!

Allfred can help you with all of that. You can track the task progress in real-time and see how your team is managing their workload. You can also receive team performance insights so you can make sure that the resources are being used efficiently and effectively.

13. Monitor project progress

It’s not enough to just set goals and timelines and then sit back and hope everything falls into place. Regularly review and assess the development of your project. Measure it against the project goals and milestones you’ve set. If you use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), you can determine whether the project is going in the right direction.

Constant monitoring can also help you spot a critical path and take corrective actions promptly. It involves regularly checking in with your team, evaluating timelines and deadlines, and measuring the quality of deliverables. By monitoring your project growth from start to finish, you can pinpoint any issues before they become serious.

Put project principles to work with Allfred

Having project management software becomes one of the basic components of every project plan. But, there is one condition – it has to make your workflow easier and cause no headaches.

Screenshot of Allfred dashboard budget management software workflow.

And here is where Allfred comes in. All in white, let you put all principles above into action. It’s a robust project management tool that combines the two most critical things in project decisions – keeping track of a project schedule and finances. It bridges the gap between Asana and Excel.

How can your company benefit from it?

➡️ Project management: 

  • Tasks management and teams communication
  • Drag & drop dashboard for team planning
  • Resources management and capacity booking
  • One-click time tracking and team burnout prevention
  • Project progress tracking

➡️ Finances: 

  • Budget planner
  • Invoices management
  • Accounting and financial exports
  • Real-time financial performance

Book Allfred demo and see how your team works collaboratively towards success – all the way from setting goals to tracking progress to delivery. 

Project success on the horizon

Project management principles work as your roadmap that will keep your project plan on track. It will help you avoid pitfalls (or at least be well-prepared for them).

Put all this theory into practice and get into the execution phase with clear expectations and goals in mind. And if you need any help along the way – Allfred features can assist. It’s the solution that will work as your second project manager, who keeps everything in check. Worth letting it into your tool stack to get the most out of project principles!

Project management principles: FAQs

In the course of managing projects, some questions tend to arise. Here are the most common inquiries.

What is a project management institute?

PMI is a professional organization that provides certifications, training, and a supportive community for project managers. They’re like the Avengers of project management – they offer a wealth of knowledge and resources. One of PMI’s standout offerings is its certifications which are highly respected in the industry.

What skills and qualities are essential for project managers?

Effective communication is a must-have, as project managers deal with different stakeholders and other team members. Time management skills are crucial to keeping everything on track, and problem-solving abilities will come in handy when unexpected challenges pop up. And a healthy dose of leadership to rally the troops and keep everyone motivated. 

What are the typical project objectives?

The specific objectives can vary depending on the project, but some common ones include delivering the project within budget and on schedule (no small feat!), meeting quality standards, satisfying client requirements, and achieving the desired outcomes or deliverables.

How to manage project scope?

Clearly define the project scope from the get-go. It involves identifying the project’s boundaries, goals, and deliverables. Prevent scope creep by setting realistic expectations and having a change control process in place. Regularly communicate with your team and stakeholders to ensure everyone is on the same page.