Most of us have had to take up project management in some capacity, even if we are not project managers.
A Project Management plan is mandatory for anyone with project-based work to do. Adhering to this plan will help reduce effort whilst producing excellent work. Project Management is very similar to taking a journey. You have some idea of where you want to go, but you’re unsure what steps will get you there. As with any trip, project management becomes very easy when you invest a little planning time up front.
Here are some simple tips from the professionals to keep your project and team organized and on track.
Create An Event Timeline
The first step to creating your project management plan is having a timeline of events you want to accomplish. Try examining the project and asking a few simple questions:
- What are my goals? What end result am I trying to accomplish?
- What is my deadline?
- Who will I need to include in this project?
- What supplies / resources will I need to get this done?
This is the important foundation for your project management plan. You will now find it a lot easier to break these “big picture” ideas into smaller steps to follow.
The key to any successful journey is organizing your paperwork – a project is no different. You need a system for storing all of your project files in one location so you never have to waste time searching. Project files are temporary. These files will only be used until the project is completed. Assign a separate drawer or hanging file box for your project paperwork. Of course, the best project organizing system is portable so that you can take them with you wherever.
A journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step. You have to start at some point. Creating your Project Management Plan should always be the first on your list. Your next move will be to draw up tasks or perhaps have a meeting to brainstorm with your team. Any move forward is a good one, don’t be worried about which task to tackle first. You may feel stuck at the beginning of your project, but just getting started often provides the momentum you need to keep you moving in the right direction.
Every project, no matter how large, is just a series of smaller tasks – and your job is simply to figure out what those tasks are. Each one of these steps constitutes a “milestone” which gets you a little closer to your end goal. While you never want to lose sight of your final destination, your project will be a lot less overwhelming if you simply focus on your next milestone (bit sized is always easier to swallow!) Once you accomplish that task, move to the next – in no time, you will find that you have systematically worked your way to the end of the project.
Monitor Progress and Complete
Ask yourself when each previous step must be completed for the next step to happen on time, as well as how long each step will realistically take to complete. These can each be plugged into your calendar. This will help you to create a schedule you can live with, allow you to see progress along the way, and prevent a lot of last-minute rushing.
With a plan and the steps above, you should have a successful Project Management experience.
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