5 steps to successful project management

Managing business projects: Our top tips for success

Project management is not always as straightforward as it sounds, but with a few key steps, you can ensure that your project stays on track.

Effective project management is critical to business success but, all too often, the management of important projects is far from effective, with many being completed past the deadline, coming in over budget, and failing to achieve the original objectives that were set.

To help you avoid falling into this trap, we’ve put together some of our top tips that will help you to achieve project management success.

Get a detailed brief

The key to successful project management is to create a detailed brief from the outset. This should encompass the full scope of the project and include elements such as key deliverables, project milestones, and resourcing and budgeting requirements. Agreeing these elements with the client from the very beginning of the project will enable you to plan effectively. ‘Kick-off’ meetings, where all parties get together, are a great opportunity to set expectations, assign roles and responsibilities, and create a workable roadmap.

Select the right team

A successful project requires a good team behind it, so it’s important to ensure you have the right mix of people working on your project. To do this, choose people whose skills and experience are a good match for the requirements of the project – and try to keep your team to a manageable size. When it comes to project management, the old adage of ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ holds true – a smaller, leaner team tends to be more effective and business experts recommend limiting the size of your team to a maximum of six to ten people.

Set clear roles and responsibilities

Once you have a project team in place it’s important to define each team member’s roles and responsibilities. Every team member has a specific role to play in the overall project delivery, and it is your job to ensure that each person understands their role and how their work contributes to the wider project. However, try to avoid micro-managing – give your team some breathing room so that they feel trusted and empowered to do their best work.

Hold regular catch ups

Holding regular catch ups with the project team and the client is key to ensuring that projects stay on track. They offer an opportunity to check on the status of the project, check progress against agreed milestones and objectives, and spot any potential issues at an early stage, allowing you to identify and implement effective solutions before these issues get out of hand. These meetings can be held in person, or via conference-calling or Skype – whatever works best for your team – just try to avoid getting bogged down in too much detail and instead concentrate on presenting the most relevant information.

Harness technology

These days there is a plethora of technology out there designed specifically to help with project management, so don’t be afraid to harness this technology to improve the efficiency and efficacy of your project. A good digital project management software will provide a streamlined platform that lets the team manage all aspects of the project and access key project information in one place, while resource management tools are a great option for helping ensure that you make best use of the resources available to you.

When it comes to project management, our best tip is to prepare for every eventuality. Things sometimes happen in business, but if you’ve planned thoroughly, you’ll be able to roll with the punches and deliver a successful project that meets its goals.

Best Camera Accessories For Beginners

Building Up Your Camera Gear Collection

A list of must-have camera equipment when you’re starting out in photography.

If you’re new to photography, you’ll already know that getting started can be an expensive business and may even put off some amateurs with a passion for taking shots. The amount of equipment in the market can seem mind-boggling. But there’s no need to spend a fortune stocking up on every bit of kit out there. Here, we introduce some key camera accessories that every budding photographer should have.

Manipulating Light

Taking high-quality images relies on the light being just right, which is something that photographers are constantly striving to manipulate. There are a number of accessories that are ideal for beginners to get to grips with. Begin by purchasing an external flash – although your camera may already have an inbuilt flash, these are really restrictive, as the flash will only ever come from the direction of the camera, whereas for a better quality shot, you need to be able to adjust the angle of the flash.

If you’ve been studying beginner photography, then you’ll already know how important it is to get your white balance right. For this, you’ll need to pick up a grey card which is affordable online, although some people even create their own DIY grey card using neutral grey paper.

Another accessory that you’ll need to help you cope with excess light is a polarising filter. This is particularly useful when it comes to reducing the amount of reflected light that is cutting across your shot.

Steady Hands

Even if you’re able to keep your hands quite still, there’s few better investments than a tripod to stabilise your camera. This is really important if you’re shooting in low-level light or are taking long-exposure shots.

Power Up

There’s nothing worse than your camera running out of battery in the middle of a shoot, especially if you’re away from home. This is why it’s important to stock up on rechargeable batteries and remember to take your battery charger with you wherever you go. Ideally, you’ll go for a charger model with space for 8 batteries. As most cameras require 4 batteries, you’ll always have spares to swap in at a moment’s notice.

Strap Your Camera

One of the most important pieces of equipment you can invest in if you’re going to be shooting on and off all day, is a strap to hang around your neck. This is essential if you’re on the go shooting travel photography for instance. Your arms will be exhausted if you don’t give them a rest every so often and let the camera strap take the weight.

Cleaning Your Camera

As a beginner photographer, you should learn good maintenance habits, and one of the most important is cleaning your kit regularly so as to protect it from dust and debris. For this you should invest in a lens pen, a soft bristle brush and a microfibre cloth.

It might take you a little while to invest in all the above bits of kit. In fact, you may even find that you’re ready to upgrade your first camera before you’ve acquired an accompanying selection of kit. Trading in your original gear could be a great option for you – if you’re wondering where can I sell my Nikon camera? – you should use a reputable camera selling platform which will give you a cash offer. You can then take the money and put towards your new camera purchase and your choice of accessories – it won’t be long before you’ve got quite a collection!