Best practices in project management are never an absolute truth. What works in one project won’t necessarily work in some other project, because that other project maybe finds itself in some specific circumstances that warrant a somewhat different approach.
That being said, if you are familiar with a larger set of techniques, methods and best practices, it is more likely that you will be able to choose and apply those that are more appropriate in your particular situation.
As the saying goes, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. But if your toolbox is full of different tools specifically designed for particular tasks, you will be able to choose the best tool for the problem you are trying to solve.
Therefore, in order to be a better project manager, it is necessary to learn and practice as many different techniques as possible. This increases the number of tools in your toolbox, and you are getting better prepared for different and more difficult projects.
Best practices are often assembled and grouped in standards that describe them, and in project management the most prominent standard is the PMBOK® Guide. In fact, the PMBOK® Guide states that it identifies the subset of the project management body of knowledge that is generally recognized as good practice. This means that practices described are applicable to most projects most of the time, and there is consensus about their value and usefulness.
PMBOK® Guide lists and describes a great number of project management techniques, methods and documents, e.g. project management plan, Gantt chart, EVM, PERT, and many, many more.
When you start creating a document, it can be helpful not having to start from scratch, but from a template that is already structured in a way to help you focus more on the content, and less on the format. There are different template libraries that you can use, and while they often vary in their quality and price, they can usually save you a lot of time if you use them.
On the other hand, there is an inherent risk when you use a template in a hurry, because there may be sections that you don’t really need for your project. Or in a worse case, the template misses a section that would actually be very useful in your particular case. That’s why you need to be careful when using any template, to make sure that you have all the necessary information—no more and no less.
As a benefit of their membership, PMI members have free access to a vast template library at projectmanagement.com (well, not really free—the price is included in PMI membership dues, $129 annually, but PMI membership has a lot of other benefits too).
However, if you are pressed for time and need a solution that is more affordable, quick, and with non-recurring cost, PM Milestone offers an extensive library (it’s a referral link, which means I earn a commission if you buy a product through this link).
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