5 Best Practices for Successful Project Management

project management checklist

Given the significantly high rate of project failures, it’s easy to see why so many companies would be happy to complete their projects with some degree of success. However, that’s not always the case.

Market reports show that up to 70% of corporate projects fail or achieve marginal success due to the way companies approach project management. Despite the odds, companies expect their projects to be completed much faster, cheaper and more efficiently.

The good thing is, an astounding 97% of organizations strongly believe that project management is critical to achieving organizational success and business performance. This can only be done through the implementation of effective project management processes. Here are our top five best practices for successful project management.

Project Definition and Planning

One of the biggest mistakes that project managers do is to jump right into projects and begin working without properly defining what is expected. According to Kanbanize, a leading provider of innovative project management software, planning your work by utilizing a clear project definition document will help reduce costs and duration spent on the project. This document describes all aspects of the project and is usually the basis for the work to be performed.

A project definition document should include:

  • Project overview
  • Project objectives to be accomplished
  • Project scope to guide implementation
  • The right approach to handle the project
  • The risks and assumptions
  • Project organization and management
  • Initial cost, effort and duration estimates to complete the project


Create a Project Work Plan

With a complete project definition in place, you can now create a work plan to provide step-by-step guidelines on how to manage the project. If a previous project has been handled well, use the existing work plan as a model. If not, use a work-breakdown project structure that assigns resources and estimates the work to be done. A work plan defines how the project will be laid out at a higher level and ensures forward progress and timely project delivery.

project management


Define Project Management Procedures

To make project handling across the board easier, it’s important to define project management procedures up front. These procedures should define how the project management team will manage issues, risk, scope changes, quality control, communication, and others. If you already have well-established project management procedures in place, utilize them on your project.

An article on The Balance notes that when defining project management procedures, changes can happen at any particular point of the project management life cycle. It’s critical that all plans and processes are executed correctly and proactively. Review your work plan on a regular basis, monitor your budget, follow strict quality control steps and raise visibility across the project management process so you can identify and address challenges.

Tracking and Reporting Project Progress

Project tracking and reporting are key aspects of managing a project successfully. Getting reports from project team members on a regular basis is a must. Make sure that the variations between the actual and planned project cost, scope and schedule are reported to the project manager and stakeholders. Sometimes, adjustments may have to be done to get the project moving forward. Tracking and reporting ensure the project stays on track.

Smart Risk Management

Risk assessment is critical when managing any project. Risks include hardware not being delivered on time, staff lacking the technical skills needed to work on the project and so on. Risks can adversely affect the outcome of a project. By applying a simple and streamlined risk analysis and management process, project managers can predict the uncertainties they may face in the project and significantly minimize their occurrence or the impact of these risks.


Employing these best practices will empower project managers to go beyond common project management barriers. Understanding these best practices also provides them with proven project planning and management procedures that ensure project success.