3 Smart Project Management Examples to Inspire You at Work

Project managers need certain skills, such as leadership and critical thinking, as well as the right tools and ideas. Here are a few smart project management examples to get you thinking creatively.

Updated June 19, 2020

Project managers must possess a whole list of things to be a success at project management:

A Project Management Institute paper authored by RMC Learning Solutions founder Rica Mulcahy found that great project managers “know that process is everything,” which, when used alongside essential leadership and soft skills, “gives the project manager the power to [prevent] problems.”

Even if you do possess all of the above and recognize all of the project manager responsibilities expected of you throughout the different phases of a project, it doesn’t hurt to look at project management examples for guidance and direction.

Below, we’ll discuss three real-world examples of excellent project management for inspiration and the project management tips to take away from each.

1. Streamlining communications with Smartsheet

Domino’s is a widely recognized name in the pizza restaurant and delivery industry, operating 17,000+ stores in 90+ countries around the world. Worldwide, team members and franchisees total an estimated 350,000.

It’s no surprise, then, that communication, collaboration, event management, and marketing — getting everyone on the same page, essentially — used to be a challenge.

The objective

To provide employees and franchise owners with timely updates about new processes, new technologies, and changes to existing offerings. Awareness breeds efficiencies, after all.

The problem

The Domino’s internal communications team used multiple communication channels to disseminate key information, including newsletters, the occasional email for important updates, and the Worldwide Rally, an in-person event bringing together 9,000+ people every two years.

Worse, several people communicated to the same people using several different platforms. The result was recipients getting bombarded with the same messages repeatedly, causing them to overlook the important ones. As is generally the case with information overload, people were less informed instead of more.

According to Stacie Barrett, internal communications director at Domino’s, “Everyone thought their message was the most important message,” so they sent separate communication to make sure it got out.

The solution

Barrett knew her team needed to restructure the way it worked — there was too much time and effort being expended for less-than-desirable results.

With Smartsheet, they now create a work plan spanning several months. The communications team enters standalone announcements and newsletter topics on a calendar.

Everyone has access to the same calendar, so team members can see how the schedule is looking, allowing for adjustments, if necessary, to prevent inundating recipients with updates and messages.

Thanks to a better project plan and a more efficient messaging workflow, from a measly 4%, the Domino’s newsletter read rate is now 100%.

Domino’s newsletter

Smartsheet allowed Domino’s to simplify its communications strategy and workflow, resulting in a newsletter read rate of 100% — a significant jump considering that number used to be 4%.

Planning a project roadmap for the Worldwide Rally also happens within Smartsheet. If someone is out on vacation, someone else can step in without any problem because essential information — such as the project plan outline, deadlines, and requirements — is in the system for easy reference.

Automated alerts remind task owners of upcoming due dates and managers of overdue activities.

Takeaway

Project planning is usually a team activity — as they say, two heads are better than one. Right from the start, all roles and responsibilities should be clearly defined, a project management best practice, to prevent confusion and duplication of duties.

Using a central workspace for all project-related updates and information that the internal communications team can access on demand, they’re better able to plan, delineate roles and task ownership, and roll out messaging campaigns that work for everyone’s benefit.

More on this story on Smartsheet’s website.

2. Scaling globally with Wrike

Airbnb Experiences is all about providing travelers with unique cultural experiences through multi-day trips hosted by experts from local communities. Among the many activities offered through the site are:

  • A salsa dance party in Puerto Rico
  • Stargazing and local wine tasting in Baja, Mexico
  • An exploration of Cuba’s music scene with a celebrated DJ in Havana
  • A hiking tour of the Atlas Mountains in Marrakech, Morocco

But even for a popular brand like Airbnb, scaling a new service after launch came with its own set of difficulties.

The objective

To quadruple the production of video trailers, photos, and other digital and print assets from the initial 12 cities to 50 worldwide.

The problem

At the time, creative production — we’re talking about thousands of assets, here — was managed using an online spreadsheet that couldn’t keep up with frequent changes, simultaneous users, detailed handoff requirements, and the massive content volume.

According to Hoon Kim, Airbnb’s creative production manager, “[The spreadsheet] was constantly crashing.” So, people duplicated the document “to deal with their own small world of data.” But because the duplicates weren’t connected to the master document, the result was confusion all around.

The solution

Kim and his team needed a tool that would streamline how they worked. They wanted a central work management platform that integrated with the other tools they already used, including Salesforce and Gmail.

They needed a tool that would allow team members to communicate and collaborate, wherever they were in the world, and they chose Wrike, which offers such project tracking capabilities.

Hoon Kim, Creative Production Manager

To scale, Airbnb Experiences needed thousands of creative assets from creators in 50 cities worldwide. The team also needed a system to handle massive amounts of content, track updates in real time, and allow people to collaborate.

Takeaway

Effective communication is vital to project success, which is why about 90% of project management is spent communicating. Ensuring everyone’s working towards the same objective through a sound project communication plan allows services like Airbnb Experiences to scale seamlessly.

For more details on the Airbnb Experiences story, visit Wrike.

3. Standardizing processes with Asana

Hack Reactor is an education program that offers both in-person and remote software coding bootcamps. Hack Reactor locations in San Francisco, New York, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Austin, Seattle, Boulder, and Denver stage on-campus immersions.

As is often the case with companies operating in multiple geographies, ensuring service consistency across locations can be an uphill battle.

The objective

To standardize processes and ensure consistency of event types, feelings, and emotions across the different company locations at the same time.

The problem

In the early days, Hack Reactor CEO Tony Phillips had no problem keeping a lot of moving parts under control. But as the company expanded and the team became more and more fragmented, he wasn’t confident that all the details, including the small ones that made people feel “meticulous care has been applied to their education,” were being taken care of.

The solution

Asana has been instrumental in keeping things consistent for Hack Reactor. They made detailed process documentation available on the platform for easy universal access.

This way, teams know where to find the guidelines they need to perform their jobs well. Hack Reactor also makes extensive use of templates to “do [a project or process] exactly like this.”

As a result, they’re now more process-efficient, they’ve cut their operations in half, and Hack Reactor graduates are getting hired at a 98% rate.

Hack Reactor profile on Asana

Hack Reactor wanted its processes standardized. To do that, it made use of documentation and templates to keep things consistent across locations.

Takeaway

Staying organized is a project management nonnegotiable. You need to monitor and manage a whole slew of things: schedule, the project’s budget, team performance, deliverable requirements, resource availability, task updates, supplier and vendor reports, stakeholder expectations — the list goes on.

Create task and process templates, or even a sample project plan for future reference, so you’re not always starting from scratch. Build systems for assigning repeatable tasks to the right people at the right time, just like Hack Reactor did, so “every detail is covered.”

Read more about Asana’s Hack Reactor case study here.

Take the learning up a notch with project management examples

We all can agree: Learning is a continuous process. And what better way to learn project management concepts than through actual, real-world examples? We hope you took away something of value — perhaps a few new project management tips — from the above.

LOTS TO CONSIDER, LET US HELP

Get The Blueprint’s latest recommendations by signing up to our free newsletter.

The Motley Fool has a Disclosure Policy. The Author and/or The Motley Fool may have an interest in companies mentioned. Click here for more information.