Posted by Robert Half Finance & Accounting on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 17:30 | Follow me
As a finance project manager, you know there are a variety of factors that can determine the success or failure of your project. Below are six goals that can help you secure a victory every time with your project management and leadership skills.
1. Complete the project on time
The key to completing finance projects on time is accurately predicting how long each one will take. Set a timeline that includes milestones as to what percentage of the project should be complete at various stages. For example, “On July 1, at least 25 percent of Step 1 should be completed. On July 15, at least 50 percent of Step 1 should be completed.” Setting and sticking to these deadlines as closely as possible will give you time to make adjustments if any problems come up that threaten to derail the project.
Finance teams today require more than financial expertise, and leadership is an essential skill. Find out about the benefits of a leadership training program to boost your team.
2. Bring the project in under budget
This goal is closely related to completing the project on time, since you must establish how much time is needed to complete the project before you know how much it will cost. You’ll need to assess the availability of existing technical and human resources and then determine if additional backup is needed, and if so, how much it will cost. How well you accurately assign resources and costs, combined with how well you meet your deadlines, will largely determine whether the project is completed over or under budget.
3. Remain totally synced throughout the project
As finance project manager, you need to know who is responsible for what, and make sure they complete their part so the project can proceed to the next phase.
Managing finance projects involves team building, which can be compared with conducting an orchestra. It’s the conductor’s job to know what each member of the orchestra is doing, and when, and to ensure that everyone is working together in harmony. As the finance project manager, you need to know who — both internally and externally — is responsible for what, and you need to make sure they are doing what is necessary to complete their part so the project can proceed to the next phase.
Fortunately, this is a measurable goal. For example, once you establish what percentage of the project should be completed by a certain date, you can measure who is on track and who is lagging behind. By establishing exit goals, or criteria that must be met before the current portion of the project is considered complete, you can seamlessly move from one phase of the project to the next.
Consider creating an organizational chart to help you plan roles and responsibilities in your project management.
4. Identify and mitigate risks
It is impossible to completely eliminate risk. However, most risks can be managed by planning ahead for these uncertainties, and that should be one of your goals. In finance projects, the uncertainties are many: “What would happen if A didn’t complete their part of the project, or B wasn’t delivered on time, or we were not able to acquire C? How would this change the project?” Be sure to build them into both your timelines and your budget, ensuring A, B and C all understand how their contributions are interdependent.
5. Identify deliverables
What will the company be able to do once this finance project is complete?
Deliverables are what must be accomplished or delivered to achieve the project’s objectives. A deliverable provides a new and measurable benefit. Ask yourself, "What will the company be able to do once this finance project is complete? What new ability or advantage will it offer?” Share these deliverables with the entire project team before launching the initiative.
6. Keep team members and stakeholders informed
At the beginning of the project, everyone should know what the project requires to be successful, how long the project should take and what is expected. But communication doesn’t end here. Continual updates are key. And make sure you’re communicating in writing to avoid any confusion or memory lapses. Resolve conflicts as quickly as possible, and don’t allow one party to add requirements or the other party to decrease the level, quality or quantity of deliverables.
If your project is completed on time, at or below budget, and you have delivered what was promised and agreed upon — while keeping everyone in the loop during the project — you will earn the respect of each party and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.
More management advice
For more leadership tips from Robert Half on ways to manage projects and people, check out these articles and guides:
• Attracting skilled financial professionals can be a challenge for today's companies, making it essential to maintain a strategy for hiring employees, which might include working with a staffing agency.
• In today's competitive market, simply hiring top talent isn't enough. Download this free guide for Creating and Managing the Dream Team to get essential insight and management skills you need to build and lead a high-performance, well-balanced team.
• Do you work with teams that aren’t in your same office or city? Read 8 Ways to Better Online Collaboration Among Your Remote Team.