Freelo Business Wiki Project Management 10 Tips on How to Effectively Manage a Project in 2024 + Practical Checklist

10 Tips on How to Effectively Manage a Project in 2024 + Practical Checklist

As many as 70% of projects do not get done on time, the budget is suddenly swallowed up or the result is not what was originally expected. It is a lot of wasted energy, time, and money. Project management isn’t rocket science. Just stick to certain simple principles and instill a few important rules in your team. That is what this article and the bonus checklist at the end will help you with.

1. Kick the Project Off in the Right Direction

As the old Chinese saying goes: Even a thousand million long journey starts with the first step. So don’t worry and get going!

The basic phases of a successful project are the start, planning, execution, and end. In fact, the start (the path from the idea and analysis to setting goals and project brief) forms a third of the success of the whole project, so don’t cut corners with it. ☝️

How to assemble a project brief? Simply answer these questions:

  • Why go through with the project (what is the measurable purpose)?
  • Where does the project lead (what is the goal – output)?
  • When do you want the goal to be completed? – an estimate
  • How many (financial) resources do you have? – an estimate
  • Who will manage the project and how will the team be arranged?

What is often forgotten about in the starting (or initiation) phase? 👇

A) Get your expectations clear from the start

The contractor as well as the project team should be on the same page in regards to the outcome of the project. If they are not, all the invested energy, time, and money can go to waste. SMART criteria, which says that goals should be measurable, concrete, reachable, relevant, and time limited, can help with getting a clear brief and set goals.

SMART metoda přehledně
The SMART method helps you to better specify the project objectives. Source

B) Do not get lost in budget planning or scheduling details

A schedule or budget is set in the initiation phase by estimate. You will deal with exact numbers and dates in the second phase of project management: Planning. Focus mainly on the specific brief in the beginning – what you want to achieve, what all you will have to do to get there, what is the objective and point of the project.

💡 Goal vs objective

Goal = Launch an upgraded e-shop with new functions and graphics.

Objective = Increase traffic by 50% and orders by 20% more than the year before 6 months after the upgraded e-shop launch

C) Choose the right method of  project management

Do you know how you will manage the project and team, assign tasks, react to changes and communicate with the client? Find out in the initiation phase. What about agile management, where the project is developed in the progress (e.g. the creation of new software or a website)? Or is the waterfall method, where all the steps are strictly planned (typically suitable for construction projects), more suitable for your project? Not too clear? Keep reading, The second chapter of this article will give you more practical information. 🙂

2. Tailor the Way You Manage Your Project

Today, project managers do not strictly follow a single project management method in almost half of the cases, but combine different methods to adapt them to their project, clients and the whole team. There are several methods of project management, but project managers often face a dilemma: the waterfall or agile approach? Maybe you’re thinking about it too. Then let’s find out.

Advantages and disadvantages of Agile development

Flexibility and responsiveness to change Unpredictability – the timing, budget, and form of the project’s output is not entirely certain
The team has room for creative problem solving Requires a specific team of people who are difficult to replace in case of absence
The project is updated as it progresses and the client is involved in all phases Unspecific plans can be a problem for novice or inexperienced project managers
Statistically higher project success rate Very good communication within the team is required, otherwise it won’t work
Errors are detected early due to regular sprints (quick briefings) Not suitable for large projects with several teams at once due to the complexity of coordination


Advantages and disadvantages of the waterfall method


Detailed plans of all parts of the project (deadlines, costs, objectives, deliverables) – thus better control during the process Inflexible – strict schedules do not allow much room for any changes during
Clearly specified expectations – the client knows exactly what they will get and doesn’t have to interfere during the process If the client’s needs change, it is difficult to respond to them
Well-defined roles and responsibilities Testing and error detection is only done at the very end of the project and is lengthy
Can handle large projects with specific and unchanging requirements Project is statistically more likely to fail


📊 Statistical window: Research shows that agile projects are 3 times more likely to succeed, while waterfall projects are 2 times more likely to fail.

Agilní vs. waterfall metody, výsledky výzkumu

The Waterfall vs. Agile methods: How will you manage your project?

You already know the ups and downs, but let’s do one more guide that could help you decide.👇

More methodologies to help you manage your project like a pro

It’s not just about the agile and waterfall methods of project management. You can also mix and match different practices from other practices to your project. Will you choose from the most common ones? 👇

  • Scrum = Agile methodology that emphasizes transparent communication within the team and towards the customer, frequent feedback and regular sprints (ongoing project evaluation). It is more suited for smaller teams and projects where deliverables are yet to be developed.
  • Kanban = (Online) bulletin board that displays tasks in clear columns. Generally improves workflow, speeds up the task resolution process and keeps track of activities. It is also suitable (unlike scrum) for larger teams. 
  • Lean = The goal is to meet customer requirements as much as possible and minimize waste. Hence the so-called lean method – to provide a quality product with minimal consumption of all resources. Originally used in industry, lean practices are now suitable for projects ranging from marketing and sales to software development.
  • PRINCE2 = A methodology created by experienced designers and managers. Breaks a project into smaller logical parts and tracks incremental progress. This allows you to detect errors early and keep everything under control. Use these principles in smaller and larger teams across disciplines.

3. Implement Project Management Software

It’s no coincidence that 77% of high-performing projects use a professional project management tool. They have several good reasons for doing so:

  • You know who’s working on what and how much time it took them,
  • you have an overview of how much money you have spent on a specific task or team member,
  • each task has a deadline,
  • you have all the notes (from meetings, for example) pinned to the project,
  • using established processes and templates saves you time,
  • you can easily delegate work,
  • the app is available anywhere on desktop and mobile,
  • automate processes and various steps in project management,
  • you can work efficiently with your team remotely,
  • repetitive tasks save you a lot of clicking,
  • you can use Kanban views and keep your tasks organized,
  • you can set a reminder for a task when you don’t have time for it.

So why complicate your work with cluttered Excel spreadsheets, scribbles on a flipchart or numbered communication in emails when it’s much more efficient?

Recommendation from Bushman on why to implement project management software. Source

Such a tool will also save you a lot of time. For example, with Freelo it’s 30 minutes per worker per day, which in a team of ten is 100 hours saved per month. Multiply that by the average hourly time of your employees. What all would you get for those tens of thousands? 🙂

4. Bet on Transparency in the Project Team

The secret to success lies in openness and honesty. This is as true in personal relationships as it is in working ones. The equation is simple: well-built trust and transparency = a motivated team and a better chance of a successful project.

📊 Statistical window: Why should you have open communication in your team?

  • 70% of employees confirm that they are more passionate about their work when senior management communicates openly with them 
  • 50% of workers feel that the company they work for lacks transparency and is therefore inefficient
  • 46% of employees say a lack of transparent communication from management will cause them to look for a new job

TEST: Is your team transparent?

1. Do you communicate openly within the team about everything related to the project itself and share all information together, including important data?

  • YES
  • NO

2. Do you have regular team meetings where anyone can come with their ideas and insights?

  • YES
  • NO

3. Do you use a project management tool that allows everyone to keep track of their tasks, as well as those of their colleagues and the overall progress of the project?

  • YES
  • NO

4. Do you organize team building to strengthen personal relationships within the team as well?

  • YES
  • NO

5. Do you ask your colleagues enough questions about how they feel in the team, how they work and what you and they could improve (perhaps in a 1-to-1 session)?

  • YES
  • NO

Did you answer YES to most of the questions? Great job, keep up the good work! 🥳 If you hesitated somewhere, remind yourself what you can gain by building a transparent company culture:

  • Better results – team members feel that they are directly involved in the development of the project, which makes them more motivated and accountable in completing tasks,
  • A great team atmosphere – when there is no whispering and secrecy, you feel comfortable in the team and work better,
  • honest communication – employees are not afraid to admit mistakes, say what bothers them or what they like, so there are no unresolved issues in the team,
  • more heads know more – every employee can come up with an interesting idea that will move the project forward.
Transparentnost ve firmě před a po
Before and after the introduction of transparency in a team. Source 1, Source 2

How to have transparent communication in the project team

  • Be honest and don’t hide anything

Reveal the numbers to your team, show them how the company and the project are doing. Communicate completely openly. Don’t make unnecessary assumptions that could undermine the entire team.

  • Ask questions

You’d be amazed at the discussion that can be sparked every Friday by the question, „So how did you work this week?“ Encourage your team to say what they think. By asking questions, you’ll find out what your colleagues often wouldn’t tell you on their own. Plus, you’ll show that you care about their opinion.

  • Spread the word smartly

Ineffective communication via email causes information to crumble until it’s completely gone. The most important information often doesn’t reach all employees and can lead to unpleasant misunderstandings. The solution? A project management tool, but you already know that. 🙂

  • Give and receive feedback

Let your team members know that they can come and say what’s on their mind at any time. It’s the best thing for maintaining a healthy work environment. How? Talk to them. Perhaps in regular 1-to-1 meetings, which are a safe place to communicate anything.

  • Look after your team of people

Hold team building sessions, breakfasts together or regular hackathons. Over a beer or a good coffee, you’ll get to know your colleagues in a whole new way and communication at work is much better.

  • Choose the right people for your team

Reliable, caring and enthusiastic. Without such colleagues, the team wouldn’t work. Give consideration to your gut feeling and, in addition to the candidate’s experience and expertise, also think about cultural fit – so the person fits into the team innately.

5. Communicate in a Way that Avoids Unnecessary Misunderstandings

On average, one in three projects fail due to poor communication. That’s not a lot, is it? It’s important to set the rules right from the start. What platform will the team communicate through and how?

Task assignment via email? Oh, come on…

Via email, messenger, WhatsApp or just between conversations by the microwave in the kitchen – you can enter a task in different ways. Fortunately, many smaller and larger teams have come to understand that the most effective communication for tasks can be done in project management software (as we discussed in the third point of this article, by the way).

How to correctly assign a task in a project management tool

A concise, clear, and to the point task assignment is essential. This is the only way to avoid unnecessarily long and unclear discussions and save time.

    • Get straight to the point – the assignment must be as concise as possible, but with all the important information,
    • include all the materials – documents, screenshots, video recordings, anything that can help you to understand the assignment better,
    • identify the problem solver and the deadline for the assignment – make it clear who is responsible for the assignment and by when it will be finished,
    • don’t tag the whole team – only involve the colleagues involved in the discussion so as not to delay others unnecessarily,
    • remove a colleague from a task when they have completed their part – don’t disturb them with more notifications they don’t need to see,
    • complete the tasks – keep the tasks that have been distributed and completed in order.

Conduct synchronous communication so as not to disturb colleagues

We (and 170,000 other teams around the world) have found Slack to be a great way to communicate on a daily basis. It’s where you engage the entire company community and address what you want to communicate right away, but what can easily fall into place over time. That’s covers synchronous communication. For asynchronous communication (that is, the one that disturbs you less), other tools (like Freelo) come in handy.

💡 On average, you lose 23 minutes every time someone interrupts you with a message on Slack, WhatsApp, email or any other communication channel. Therefore, be sparing with this communication so that you don’t distract your colleagues from their work.

Tips on how to use Slack channels

  • #egobooster – to praise your team and individual members and to share company successes
  • #hyperloop when someone newly pays Freelo, we flash a message in this channel
  • #status – at the end of each day, we’ll summarize what we’ve been working on here

#lowerdeck– for non-work topics, arranging joint events and other more or less urgent things

6. Lead Fast and Effective Team Meetings

A survey we conducted with 100 programmers found that a full quarter of them are most bothered by unnecessary bureaucracy, meetings and meetings that keep them from more important work. According to Forbes, up to 70% of people find meetings unproductive and inefficient.

At work, I’m most bothered by long, pointless meetings and working with colleagues who don’t follow through.

Programmer from Freelo’s survey

What has worked well for us in a small team of up to 20 employees?

  • Sprint

Sprints are part of the scrum model and are cycles of varying lengths (usually 1-4 weeks) during which a piece of work is planned, delivered and evaluated.

In practice: at Freelo we have weekly sprints. This means that every Friday, all team members get a list of tasks that await them the following week from the project manager. On Monday, the team gets together, summarizes the previous week’s work and makes sure everyone understands the scheduled tasks. This way, everyone is up to date and knows what they need to work on and what, if any, continuity the tasks of all members have.

  • Retrospectives

Retrospectives – team and individual – have proven useful for maintaining healthy working relationships.

  • 1-to-1 retrospective = once a month, the captain (project manager, boss) reviews the previous four weeks with each member of their team. It’s a safe space for feedback from both sides. Often things are heard that there is no time or opportunity to talk about in the normal work process.
  • Team retrospective = once every three months the whole team gets together and reviews the past quarter. The captain will uncover important numbers and information about the project to keep each member in the loop and make the collaboration transparent. Everyone writes on green paper what they are satisfied with, what made them happy, or who they would like to praise. On the red paper, on the other hand, what the team should work on. Depending on what is most frequently mentioned on the red paper, the team members will set themselves tasks for the next period.

Ukázka týmové retrospektivy ve Freelu

An example of team retrospectives at Freelo.

  • Notes from consultations attached to the project

Notes on a whiteboard that you delete after a meeting, on a piece of paper that you file and lose, or in Word that you can’t find when you need it the most. Such notes from meetings are long overdue. ☝️
Keep your notes pinned right next to your project in one place. How? Ideally in the software you’re managing the project in.

7. Manage Your Remote Team Properly

More than half of the project teams work remotely and only 14% work directly in the central office. Change out of your pajamas, set aside a room to work in, follow a routine as if you were at work. We’ve all been there. But how do you effectively manage an entire team when you’re not in the office together?

Some practical tips on how to work together remotely

  1. Start from scratch – choose the right people for your team who can work remotely and are responsible,
  2. set up regular online meetings to keep yourself in the loop,
  3. in the company chat, everyone summarizes what they’ve been working on at the end of the day,
  4. use project management software to keep track of tasks,
  5. set time slots in your team when you’re all available,
  6. trust your team – they are learning the right home office routine too. Let them know you trust them,

look at the quality of your team members‘ output rather than the time spent on work.

8. Avoid Perfectionism Not Only in Project Management

Punctiliousness and an almost anxious meticulousness. Traits that may be familiar to you as a project manager. It sounds like a great asset, but it can often hinder the project. Focusing on every little detail and having unrealistic expectations – it doesn’t do any good.

Better to get done than to forever perfect

If you want something to be perfect, you’ll never feel like it’s done. And spending dozens of hours just trying to get it 100% perfect is, let’s face it, really inefficient. Plus – if you try to have something perfect, you might not end up having it at all.

They say 70% is good enough – don’t waste time perfecting the last 30% and let it out into the world! 🙂

Meme the thinker, the doer
Don’t overthink things, get them done. Source

Think like developer Zuckerberg, not perfectionist Jobs

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, was able to return a restaurant meal five times until it was absolutely perfect. How much time did he lose because of that? Was it worth it? Of course not. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, on the other hand, takes the so-called Hacker Way. That is, the way where he releases a product into the world that is usable but not perfect. Only then is it modified and improved. This is the only way to learn from a project and gradually perfect it.

Ideas don’t come fully formed. They become clear only when you work on them. You just have to start.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook

Done is better than perfect, plakát v kanceláři Facebooku
Famous poster on the wall of the Facebook offices. Source

9. Avoid Multitasking and Become More Productive

Take a look at what you’re doing or thinking about right now besides reading this article. You’ve got an email open, an unread Messenger message, you’re getting ready for a meeting, you’re on your phone, you’re checking your calendar… Doing multiple things at once doesn’t pay off – it can cause up to 40% loss of productivity. When you’re working on something, give it 100% attention and don’t jump from one task to the next.

What helps us avoid multitasking? Turn off notifications on email, Slack, WhatsApp, Messenger, and other apps that interrupt us for an hour. Set aside this time slot to actually do a specific task and don’t take your mind off of it.

Multitasking v projektovém řízení

10. Don’t Forget Your Personal Life And Your Health

Work isn’t everything. Why would you work hard if you had no personal life? 🙂

What helps us maintain a good work-life balance at Freel?

  • The 8-8-8 rule, 8 hours of work-fun-sleep,
  • we believe that only a healthy and rested team will do the best job,
  • 3 hours a week for sports activities during working hours for all employees,
  • health and family comes first.
Work-life balance

The Practical Checklist for Perfect Project Management

You already know the theory, so now put everything you learned in the article into practice. Our practical checklist will help you do so:

General project management template

= Pre-project phase

Define goals and objectives (SMART method)

Clarify expectations of all parties

Assemble a team

Create a schedule

Establish a budget

Establish a communication plan

– Implement project management software

Create a project mind map

Determine the appropriate project management method and communicate it to the team

Create an opportunity and risk analysis

– SWOT analysis

= Implementation phase

Meetings, sprints (recurring task)

– Record meetings in notes

Ongoing check on schedule (recurring task)

Ongoing check on budget adherence (recurring task)

– Record real costs

Team retrospective (recurring task)

1-to-1 retrospective (recurring task)

Officially close the project

– Team celebration of successfully completed project

= Post-project phase

Overall evaluation of project management

– Adherence to schedule

– Adherence to budget

– Team functioning and communication

– Effectiveness of meetings

Evaluate the impact of the project on the company

Evaluate whether the project has met the goals

Weekly review to see if the project is meeting the objectives (recurring task)

Write up lessons learned for next time Business Wiki Project Management 10 Tips on How to Effectively Manage a Project in 2024 + Practical Checklist

Project Management

Human Resources

Team Collaboration and Communication