What Is Project Insight? (How To Develop And FAQs)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 22 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When working on a project, team members, managers and clients often want to know its status, objectives and progress. Project insight refers to this cumulative knowledge and excellent project managers can often understand every detail of a project and communicate it effectively. Improving project awareness can help you create more effective solutions for your work projects. In this article, we define project insight, enlist steps to develop it, discuss the key skill you require and answer a few frequently asked questions about project understanding.

What Is Project Insight?

Project insight refers to how well a project manager understands a project and its outcomes. This can include its progress, challenges, budgets, expected results and how it relates to other projects. Having an accurate insight into a project can help managers communicate effectively with team members to help guide the process to the project's success. They can do this by reducing risk or delays, making more informed decisions, developing confidence in the team and understanding how to meet the project's goals more efficiently.

A clear understanding of a project is important when managers try to resolve issues or overcome obstacles with team members. They assess the project to ensure they understand the problem and the practical solutions. Then they communicate the plan to their team to motivate them. Other applications of project understanding can include using data to create and follow a plan, analysing trends, creating reports or communicating progress to stakeholders.

Related: 11 Important Aspects Of Project Management (And 5 Stages)

How To Develop A Clear Insight Of A Project?

It can take time for project managers to develop a strong understanding of the project, but there are techniques one can follow to help them recognise issues and better prepare to solve them. Here are some ways to improve project understanding:

1. Identify sequences

When a project has a problem, try to split it up into smaller portions so you can analyse the information and see it is relationships and sequences better. Complex processes often appear clearer and simpler when divided into smaller, more understandable sequences. You can achieve this by using project management approaches like:

  • Work breakdown structure (WBS): WBS involves dividing a project into smaller tasks. This can improve workflow and help your team meet deadlines easily.

  • Resource breakdown structure (RBS): RBS involves creating a list of project resources and organising them by function and type for planning and management purposes. A clear breakdown of resources can help ensure your projects stay within budget.

  • Life cycle modelling: This involves organising a project by its four stages, initiation, planning, execution and closure, to help the team understand how to complete it. Such modelling can help schedule tasks practically and make it easy to complete them quickly and meet deadlines.

Related: What Are The Objectives Of Project Management? (With Phases)

2. Make observations

You may better predict outcomes and set more achievable goals by using your observations to clearly understand your project's people and elements. Try to monitor events, interactions or opinions continuously and utilise this knowledge to your advantage when resolving issues or making project-related decisions. You may, for instance, utilise cause-and-effect analyses to assist your team in process simplification or use your observations to discover correlations between tasks.

Related: How To Improve Observation Skills: A Comprehensive Guide

3. Be open to new perspectives

Learning to consider novel ideas and assume other people may know more than you do can help you develop project understanding easily. Asking team members for their opinions regularly and considering each is an excellent method. You can find risks or potential problems early on by encouraging team members to ask you and each other questions about processes. Their inquiries and answers may provide you with immediate understanding or you may get more clarity as you analyse this new information.

Different viewpoints can help you analyse events in ways you might not have otherwise. This may allow you to find more effective answers to problems. Training yourself to listen actively to new concepts and ideas, even if they are unrelated to your project, is another approach to gaining new views. This skill refers to insight listening or attentive listening, which can enhance your comprehension and clarity on a project.

4. Research the data

You can improve your project awareness by gathering hard and soft data that you can use for computations, clarification, defining the project's progress and discovering new ideas. Soft data are the intangible observations, conversations, emotions and evaluations you make throughout the project. You can discover these facts through listening and observing.

Once you have collected soft data regarding a problem, you can use hard data to verify it. Hard data comprises factual data, such as market statistics, trends, costs, deliverables, outcomes and client or stakeholder feedback. It can assist you in determining whether the project is on track to accomplish objectives. These actual numbers are also helpful when reviewing earlier projects to identify and analyse trends, which can help streamline your procedures for future projects.

Related: What Are Data Ingestion Tools? (With Best Practices)

5. Create an insightful environment

Try to create a team and work culture that values knowledge and information sharing. You can facilitate gaining additional understanding of your projects by encouraging creativity, individual expression and open communication. A welcoming and open workplace can also assist your team's ability to gain an understanding of project processes. Because of their inherent creativity and project clarity, an insightful team may produce work that is more effective and free of problems.

Related: 11 Ways To Collaborate With Your Team (With Benefits)

6. Find inspiration everywhere

Try always to explore exciting facts and thoughts that generate new ideas. You may often get inspiration or breakthrough ideas from unexpected sources. As you complete your daily activities, you may look for inspiration. You may gain a new perspective on a component of your project if you suitably value each new concept or piece of information.

Related: Inspirational Quotes To Inspire You In The Workplace

Key Skills For Developing Project Understanding

Following are some of the key skills a project manager may require to develop a better project understanding:

Proficiency with project management software

An essential technical competence to analyse a project effectively is working knowledge of project management software. Such software can quickly provide details on key metrics related to project progress. You can combine these data with soft data to understand the project status accurately.

Related: 9 Project Management Types for a Project Manager

Team management

Being able to communicate and manage a team effectively is an essential component for getting a clear insight into a project. To keep teams productive, project managers require strong interpersonal skills. That may include knowing dispute resolution to keep everyone motivated and enable open communication.

Related: Team Management Skills (Definition And Ways To Improve Them)

Project planning

A project plan serves as the basis of the project management cycle. Understanding a project plan is essential to getting a clear understanding of the project. It contains the project budget, resources and schedule. The planning phase of any project establishes the groundwork for project execution.

Project budgeting

The budget is an important factor in a project's progress and successful completion. The actual project cost and budget requirement often vary from the planned estimate, which may affect the project's planned progress. Understanding project budgeting is crucial for getting a clear perspective on project status.

Related: What Is Zero-Based Budgeting? (Advantages And How To Create)


Negotiation is an essential skill to understand a project clearly, resolve conflicts and manage stakeholders. For instance, you may get requests from stakeholders that may influence the project's scope. You may require negotiating with them on some requests in a way that all project stakeholders feel the project is progressing towards what they desire.

Related: Negotiation Skills: Definitions, Benefits And Examples

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are a few frequently asked questions related to project understanding:

How does data help get project understanding?

The right use of data can remove uncertainty from the decision-making process and offer project managers practical assistance in leading their teams. Data can also be helpful in scheduling tasks, allocating resources, improving efficiency, lowering costs and better managing hazards. Business intelligence and business analytics are the two major ways that project managers use data.

What are the key factors for a project's success?

Following are a few key factors for streamlining your procedure to increase the chances of project success:

  • Intelligent people: The project team and other project stakeholders may convey their passion and dedication to the group. As a project manager, allocate the tasks to the appropriate team members and ensure that they can work together easily.

  • Comprehensive planning: Team members and project stakeholders require clarity on the project's desired direction from the very beginning. Comprehensive planning can facilitate the team's ability to meet crucial deadlines and maintain organisation.

  • Open communication: For a project to be successful, it is crucial that there is an open communication channel. When the teams adhere to a strict deadline, it is essential that they understand every facet of the project.

  • Proper risk management: Ensure all stakeholders are aware of the risk log and can easily locate it. When something unexpected occurs, your team can mitigate the problem efficiently with the help of the predetermined risk management plan.

Explore more articles