As a small business owner, you don many hats and your employees look up to you for guidance and direction. It's the same when it comes to managing projects. No matter how well you plan your project, there could be certain challenges you face, and you may sometimes find it an uphill task to keep your project on track and within budget. The reason these shake-ups happen is because there are just too many variables (within your company and outside) that can derail a project.
Essential Rules to Follow
We have put together 7 essential rules for effective project planning. These should help you avoid some pitfalls in the first place:
#1 Assimilate the project details
Before you start on a project, you must ensure that there is a rock solid foundation set in place. Keep the scope of the project in view at all times and ensure there is proper demarcation of the roles & responsibilities for each team member. Have some trackable and measurable criteria in place; this detailed approach will help make your project a success.
#2 Role allocation
This is a very important part of any project plan; and it is of even more significance in a smaller set up. When you are project-planning you have to be able to identify what the skills, personalities and talents of each one of your team members is. The roles you allocate to them should keep these aspects in view.
#3 Be a true leader
A leader isn't just one who designates jobs and oversees projects. You are at the helm of the project; this also means it's your responsibility to nurture very positive team dynamics. It's important that you keep the communication lines open, provide advice and support when any team member needs it, and ensure you get regular inputs from your team members. This hands-on approach will tell your team that you are serious about your business and this will keep them motivated and driven.
#4 Chalk-out all the important project milestones
Every project has 4 main phases- initiation and planning as well as execution and closure. It's vital that you perform an evaluation at the end of each phase just to ensure things are on track. When you set milestones, it helps you monitor changes and eliminate any project risk.
#5 Documentation matters
Delegate the job of documenting the progress of the project to one of your team members, and oversee that yourself. It's not uncommon for projects to overstep their deadlines and budget. Having the right documentation in place, helps you plan for contingencies in a more methodical and calm manner.
#6 Always keep an eye open for scope creep
While changes in a project aren't always avoidable, you should focus on keeping your project free from chaos. Scope creep occurs when certain elements are added to your project. This is the time when you have to be very careful with increasing the budget limit, extending the deadline or adding more resources. Plan everything carefully and ensure there are no major shakeups.
#7 Test the deliverables
This is something you should do at every milestone- your objective is to ensure that the product meets all the requirements of the project- which can be considered to be a success only when the deliverable exceeds customer expectations. Your mission is complete only when the client is satisfied with the outcome.
Stepping Stones to Success
Compare the planned Return on Investment to your actual ROI and this will help you measure the level of success. There is something to learn from all the glitches, hurdles and challenges you face; and these become the stepping stones to your future success. If you want any more information about our services, programs, events and podcasts etc., do visit our website. You can also connect with us via this online form or speak with us at this number - (02) 88085500
About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.