© 2007. Published in Law Practice Today, September 2007, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.
When you’re in charge of managing a project, you may find that you have many balls to juggle. How are you going to keep track of which individuals are working on what? How will you ensure that all the deadlines are met? What about new information that may come in from the client, events that alter the project schedule or budget, and other variables that can crop up midstream? The discipline known as project management is your solution.
Many industries use project management tools and techniques to ensure that projects are successfully completed. For our purposes here, project management means organizing tasks, time and people to achieve defined goals for a particular matter. In this scenario, you are the project manager—the individual in charge of making sure that the various components that lead to a successful conclusion are identified, assigned and completed within given constraints such as budget, human resources and required time frames. The table on the next page contains an overview of the six steps core to project management, with several tasks described under each step. This organized approach to a matter allows you to stay on top of the project during its various phases.
Read on for practical insight into how projects are typically managed, why difficulties occur, and what you can do to avert problems. You’ll also be able to download the “Six Steps of Project Management” checklist to use in your practice.