Even the easiest project can quickly turn chaotic when you’re not organized. Whether you’re working with a team or going solo, staying on top of the project plan is the only efficient way to reach your goals. Whether it’s a short- or long-term venture, these tips will keep you – and your project – on track.
What You Will Need:
- Pencil or pen
- Meeting place
How to Get It Organized:
- Understand the project. Before you take on a project of any scope, you need to make sure you can meet the expectations of the client. Discuss the project timeline and any financial considerations before agreeing to take it on.
- Create a cost analysis. Make a list of all expenses associated with the project and allocate funds from the budget to each category.
- Next, you will develop a basic outline of the project. Begin by pulling the main points from the project description and make them into a list. This list will establish milestones for the completion of the project. Use the milestones to provide a starting point for your timeline. The milestones will also help obtain a good idea of which employees, contractors, etc. you’ll need on board and what aspects of the project you’ll need to outsource, if any.
- Assemble a team. Consider the parameters of your project and use them as a guideline to put together a team of experts who will be able to provide high-quality work and deliver it on time. If you need to partner with another business for any portion of the project, make sure they can fit your needs into their schedule.
- Once you have established your team, collaborate with them to help fill in the details. Allow your experts to provide input specific to their field as it pertains to the project, then work together as a group to list any sub-points that need to be taken care of.
- Determine a reasonable timeline for completion of the project. Expect the unexpected — delays are a routine part of most projects. Plan to finish ahead of the deadline so you can absorb any problems that may arise without throwing the entire project off schedule or – worse – disappointing the client.
- Keep everyone on board with the timeline by pinpointing measurable goals along the course to completion. Keep the list in a visible spot so that the entire team knows where the project stands as a whole. Foster the idea that the project belongs to the group to enhance communication and teamwork.
- Now you’re ready to implement the plan. Once the project has been detailed and each team member knows his or her responsibilities, it’s time to get to work. Follow through with each part of the project to make sure that everyone is off on the right foot.
- Communication is key to a successful project. Monitor progress with frequent meetings for all involved parties. Discuss what has been completed and look ahead to what needs to be accomplished next. Maintain a focus on both short- and long-term goals for a smoother overall experience.
- Document everything! Keep careful records of all communications, including written notes, invoices and all electronic communication.
- For the best results, be a hands-on leader. Remain open to your team members so they’ll feel comfortable coming to you with problems or potential delays. Face problems head on rather than hoping they will resolve themselves.
- Wrap it up. Pull everyone together as the end of the project nears to put the pieces together.
- End with a great presentation. Don’t overlook the importance of the big finish! Handing off the completed project to the client in a clear, professional manner is the best way to insure satisfaction on both sides of the table. Be proud of your work and give credit where credit is due!
Additional Tips and Advice
- Do your homework. Understand not just the project itself, but the client’s goals or expectations for the completed project.
- Make sure your team is up to date with the technology involved in all aspects of the project. Not everyone has to be an engineer, but every team member should be able to access prepared documents or communicate via the same platform.
- Don’t be afraid to restructure the project if something isn’t working. Sit down with the team and discuss small problems before they become larger ones.
- If the client changes the scope drastically in the middle of the project, don’t be afraid to ask for a new budget or timeline. He or she should not expect you to work for free.
- Celebrate a job well done. If you keep your team happy, odds are great that the client will be happy as well!