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Top Tips for Managing Complex Projects

written by: johnsinit • edited by: Ginny Edwards • updated: 8/23/2010

Managing complex projects needs careful planning and accurate estimation in terms of resources and deadlines prior to starting the execution. Also, requirements must be clearly understood which will form the basis of the project plan and will help to clearly define the goals of the project.

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    Introduction - Goals, Scope, Deadlines

    Iron Triangle Managing complex projects needs experience, expertise and exposure. To begin with, a project needs its goals clearly defined. These goals and scope of work for the project based on the client requirements can either be documented or simply put in an excel sheet. This helps the project to be kept on track and ensures doing only the job that is intended. The next thing to do would be to clearly define milestones. The person(s) managing the project needs to set deadlines for each and every stage of the project. The deadlines can be hard deadlines or soft deadlines. If it is a hard deadline, the stage must be completed on the specific date; else there is room for extra time. The deadlines identified must be realistic and achievable. These criteria can form the basis of the project plan.

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    Get Approved and Check Your Resources Carefully

    A project plan must be shared with all the higher management people involved in the project so that they get a clear idea of goals and deadlines. The project plan must also include a risk and mitigation plan in order for effective managing of complex project. For every risk that is involved in the project, the consequences must be clearly outlined. Also, a corresponding mitigation plan must be mentioned. This helps the higher management to minimize the loss during an unwanted occurrence of risk. The resources to complete the project play a very important role in managing complex projects. The people identified to carryout the project must be experienced in the field of the project and have a good field record.

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    Project Plan and Hierarchy

    Next, the hierarchy of the project management must be clearly defined so that people will know their own roles and responsibilities. The Cycle While choosing the resources for a project, the deadline must be kept in mind. So basically an accurate resources and time estimation plays very important role. Once the project plan with all the above information is in place, the project begins to role. Prior to implementing the project, a prototype should be made in order to have a solid and strong design. During execution of the project, the most essential thing to do would be to follow the project plan. The project plan needs to be referred to daily and ensured compliance.

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    Delegate - And Keep Track of Progress

    Another tip to managing complex project is micro management by higher level managers. They need to hold daily or weekly meetings and track the progress of the project closely. Any issues, technical difficulties must be brought to their attention and resolved immediately. Quality assurance is another important aspect when running a complex project. Sufficient time for testing must be allocated. If needed, rework should be done in order to fix any bugs. One another tip for managing complex project is to learn from experience in order to prevent occurrence/repetition of already committed mistakes. Also, reusing technically efficient tools helps save considerable money and effort.

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    References and Image Credits