Project Management in Education Sector: How to Transform Your School
Project management is a critical part of any industry, and the education industry is no exception. Whether you’re coordinating a new curriculum rollout or organizing a student field trip, good project management skills can make all the difference.
So, in case you want to manage your own education projects more successfully, make sure to read this post. It explores the role of project management in the education industry and offers some useful tips.
🏫 What Is Project Management in Education Sector?
Project management in schools and universities is the process of ensuring that all educational project requirements are met. This includes confirming that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the required standard.
An essential part of project management in education is creating a clear plan and a working timeline. It also involves coordinating and communicating with all stakeholders, including other teachers and administrators or students and their parents.
In other words, to be successful, project managers in education must have excellent organizational and communication skills. They must also be able to work effectively under pressure and juggle multiple tasks simultaneously.
✅ 5 Main Project Management Phases
No matter which field of performance you use project management in, it always follows the standard lifecycle that consists of five key phases. Each of these phases has its own set of activities and deliverables:
- Initiation: This is the first phase of the project management process. Its goal is to define the scope, objectives, and requirements for the project.
- Planning: The planning phase is all about creating a roadmap for the project. This includes developing a schedule, identifying risks, and creating a budget.
- Execution: This is where the work gets done! In this phase, you will execute the plans you have created in the previous two phases.
- Control: The control phase is all about monitoring project performance and making sure that everything stays on track. This includes conducting regular status meetings, progress tracking, and reporting.
- Closure: The closure phase marks the end of the project. In this phase, you will complete all final deliverables and close out any loose ends.
Project Management Process to Take You All the Way to the Top
The project management process contains five fundamental phases: initiation, planning, execution, control and closure…
👣 5 Steps to Effective Project Management in Education
Now that you know the basic principles of project management, let’s have a look at a few specific steps and techniques you can undertake to take your educational projects to the next level:
📝 Start with a plan
Every great project starts with a great plan. But what does it take to create a good one? Well, there are a few key things to keep in mind:
- First, be clear about the objective of the project: What are you trying to achieve? And what do you need to make that happen?
- Once you have a goal in mind and know which resources are required to attain it, you can start to develop a timeline and budget. It’s essential to be realistic about both of these things — if your timeline is too tight or your budget is too low, it will be challenging to complete the project without schedule and cost overruns.
- Finally, make sure to involve all the stakeholders in the planning process. By getting input from people who will be affected by the project, you can ensure that everyone is on board and that there are no surprises along the way.
Pro tip: Need some help creating a project plan? Download our free project plan template for an easy start.
👩💼 Allocate roles
When it comes to allocating project management roles in the education sector, you need to take into account what type of project you are running and what kind of skills and knowledge will be required in order to manage it successfully.
Depending on the size and complexity of the project, you may need to appoint a number of people to key roles, such as project coordinator, finance manager, and quality assurance manager. It’s vital that you take time to consider what each person’s strengths and weaknesses are so that you can give them tasks that they are best suited to.
It’s particularly vital to assign an experienced and qualified person for the role of a project manager. This is the person who will be responsible for overseeing the entire project and ensuring that it runs according to the plan. They need to have a good understanding of the different aspects of project management and be able to work effectively with all of the different team members.
Once you have decided on all of the roles that must be filled, you need to think about how these roles will interact with each other. In particular, make sure that there is a clear line of communication between your team members so that everyone knows what their responsibilities are and how they fit into the overall picture.
It’s also crucial to confirm that your project team members know who their point of contact is within the organization. They should be able to quickly get in touch with the right person if they need any help or clarification regarding their role.
🧩 Allocate resources
By definition, resource allocation is the process of assigning resources to achieve specific purposes and objectives. In other words, it’s the process of making sure that everyone involved in a project has what they need to succeed. That includes things like money, materials, staff, and time.
When resources are appropriately allocated, it helps to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. It also allows you to prevent problems like scope creep and task duplication.
But how do you allocate resources well?
- Take your project plan and create a list of all the tasks / activities that must be completed in line with it.
- Estimate those tasks / activities and set deadlines for each of them.
- Create a timeline for the planned tasks / activities.
- Schedule your team members, equipment, or other resources on the timeline, considering their availability and the set deadlines.
Pro tip: Resource allocation is, by all means, not an easy task. But you can simplify the process a great deal with the help of high-quality digital tools.
Take actiPLANS as an example.
This intuitive resource planning solution features a visual timeline where you can allocate bespoke project activities to your staff members in an effortless way. It lets you consider team absences during the scheduling process and make quick changes and adjustments to the created project timeline whenever you need.
Project resource schedules built with actiPLANS have a considerable advantage over those made in Excel and similar tools since they are easier to read and handle. Plus, actiPLANS offers some valuable reports and handy automation that can take your resource management to an even higher level.
Find out more about resource scheduling with actiPLANS in this post.
🔎 Keep it on track
Tracking project progress doesn’t have to be a headache. In fact, there are many simple yet effective methods for ensuring that your project stays on track.
Here are a few of them:
- Create a Gantt chart. This type of chart helps to break down a project into smaller steps and then shows how those steps fit together over time. This can be helpful when working on complex projects with multiple team members.
- Check-in with your team. Regular meetings allow you to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that tasks are being completed as planned.
- Use technology. Modern project management software lets users plan out project works, track progress, collect detailed performance data and analyze it in depth. There are plenty of versatile options available on the market these days. And you can check out some of the best of them here.
Pro tip: If you’re looking for a straightforward solution that has it all for accurate progress monitoring, consider actiTIME — it’s a multifunctional time tracker that helps project managers take their project resources under control and makes it easier to complete the planned tasks on budget and schedule.
Use actiTIME to track hours against specific tasks, keep tabs on team performance in real time, see how many expenses your projects incur, and run various reports to compare your estimates and plans to actual results.
For more information on how to track project progress with actiTIME, feel free to check out this post. And in case you wanna see it in action yourself, don’t hesitate to sign up for a free 30-day trial.
⭐ Learn from your mistakes and successes
Even the most seasoned project managers have had their fair share of successes and failures. The key is to learn from both so that you can become even better at your job.
So, what can we learn from our mistakes?
- First and foremost, it’s essential to identify what went wrong and why. Once you know that, you can take steps to prevent similar issues from happening in the future.
- Secondly, don’t be afraid to admit when you’ve made a mistake. Trying to cover it up or making excuses will only make things worse.
- And finally, learn from your mistakes by sharing them with others. This way, you can help prevent others from making the same errors.
As for successes, it’s important to take the time to celebrate them… but not for too long! Once you’ve celebrated your success, take a step back and analyze what went right. What processes and strategies contributed to the success of the project? By understanding what worked well, you can replicate that success on future projects as well.
📍 Examples of Projects in Education Sector
So, what kinds of projects can you manage following the principles and tips described in this post? Basically, it can be any change you want to introduce to your school and the lives of its students and staff members!
Here are a few examples:
- Writing a grant to fund a new school library
- Establishing an after-school homework help program
- Starting a book club for at-risk students
- Creating a garden on school grounds to be used as an outdoor classroom
- Implementing a school-wide recycling program
- Painting murals in the hallways of an inner-city school
- Building a playground for a school in a poverty-stricken area
- Organizing a food drive for kids who don’t have enough to eat
- Setting up a scholarship fund for economically disadvantaged students
- Volunteering in a local preschool to help get kids ready for kindergarten
Applying project management principles in the education sector can be a challenge. But it’s worth it because doing so can lead to some transformative changes in your school.
If you’re up for the challenge, we hope you’ll use the tips and tricks we’ve laid out in this blog post to help you get started. And if you need some assistance in tracking project progress along the way, consider using actiTIME. We love nothing more than helping our clients achieve their goals…especially when those goals involve making the world of education a better place!