Projects, projects, projects. We all have them although we don’t always love them. Whether at home, work or elsewhere, they require the same thing – the proper resources. Sound simple, right? Well, yes but determining, gathering, and properly deploying those resources is where it can get interesting.
No, this will not be an academic discourse regarding the tenets of effective project management or the ideal project management tools. This post will simply focus on outlining a few good reminders as we tackle and head straight into the projects we face.
I. Focus on the Big Picture (The “What”)
When you know, can clearly see, and focus on your target, it is easier to hit it. There is nothing earth shattering in this simple truth. But it’s a good reminder of the importance of drafting the big picture for your project regarding “what success looks like.” This step is essential and foundational to everything you will do within the scope of the project. Identifying the wins and ultimately the image of overall project success will not only help focus your time and efforts but serve as the guidepost for all project activities.
II. Develop Key Implementation Strategies (Knowing the “How”)
Now that we know the “what” (what project completion or success looks like), we must identify the “how.” And this is where strategic planning takes centerstage. Brainstorming how-tos and then developing a framework for implementation are key. How will we achieve our project goals? What specific tasks need to occur to ensure the project goals are completed within the designated guidelines and budget? What resources are needed to complete the tasks? Taking the time to properly assess, plan, and align your resources will serve you well not only during the initial project planning stages but long-term. For example, if serving 2000 additional customers through our online store within the next 12 months is the goal (the what), developing a framework that identifies the specific approaches/tasks to achieve the goal, a timeframe for implementation of each task, and the resources needed to achieve them is the next step. Your “how” should:
- Be explorative
Have you ever heard of the saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat?” Well, I’m not sure why anyone would want to actually do this, however, I understand the concept. There are typically many paths to achieving the same result. And uncovering the best one(s) for your project will occur once you fully explore your options.
- Be detailed
A well-outlined plan is crucial not just for you but for those who you’ll enlist to help “birth” your vision. If your plan lacks substance or isn’t clearly communicated, too often stakeholder buy-in, commitment, and successful project implementation are negatively impacted. Be as detailed as possible about “how” you will achieve your goals.
- Be realistic
Rome wasn’t built in a day and most likely neither will your project. When setting goals and deadlines, properly assess the resources that are required to achieve them including any personnel or work hours. Consider utilizing backwards planning to help determine what resources are realistically needed to achieve the project results you desire.
- Be flexible
Do your research! Know what are “hard-set” deliverables and where there’s some potential latitude. Does the project “require” a specific item or is it a “nice to have?” Where can you adjust and save the resources of time or money without jeopardizing the quality and integrity of the project? Being flexible, when it makes good project sense, can truly help benefit your project in the long run.
III. Deploy & Engage
Project launch can be exciting! So, once you’ve properly planned, move forward with no fear, no hesitation, no reservation. It’s time to deploy the strategies, manpower, collaborative resources, and tools you’ve identified & acquired to effectively get the job done. And whatever wasn’t available, continue to actively engage with stakeholders to secure the other tools.
IV. Ongoing Analysis
Continuous review or reassessment of the project plan and essential resources needed to achieve the “what” and “how” is invaluable. For example, serving 2000 additional customers through your online store might not be possible if your technology platform or manpower are insufficient or change throughout your project timeframe. Thus, ongoing evaluation will help drive your “how” and the implementation of your strategies.
Alright project champions, let’s look those projects squarely in the eye and say, “Yeah, we’ve got this. Let’s go and make this happen!” Here’s to your ongoing project success.
© 2019 Kassandra McGhee