Want to complete projects successfully? On-time, within budget, and involving the appropriate people to ensure integration? These project management steps will ensure that you practice effective project management.
Steps in Project Management
- Select the project based on your customer's expressed needs, your organization's current goals, or your organization's priorities.
- Assemble the team that must own the project to create a positive implementation and integration. Take into consideration the various strengths and expertise you need to produce your desired outcome. Also, consider what areas of your organization will need to implement and integrate the solutions.
- Define the internal or external customer's requirements from the outcome or output of the project.
- Define the scope of the project and the outcome desired. As part of this definition, determine where the project begins and ends. What is the first step? What is the last?
- Define measurable goals that will enable you to know that the project is accomplished. Define your budget for the project. Determine the people and hours that are required to complete the project.
- Determine how you will communicate progress and accomplishments across your organization, and gather input from organization members who are not on the team.
- Flow chart the current process. Or, for a specific project, list the steps necessary to accomplish the project.
- Measure how the current project is performing right now if this is an ongoing project. Study the data to adjust your goals and expectations.
- Determine whether additional information, resources or people are needed to complete the project. Bring the people and resources identified into the group. Keep in mind that each time you add additional people to the team, the team will re-enter the five stages of team development, so add people early in the project when possible.
- Create an action plan to complete the project's steps. Assign the appropriate people to complete each step. Establish a due date for when you will accomplish each step. Make sure people have the time needed to allocate to the project.
- Determine an ongoing method to track whether you are accomplishing the steps as planned. Hold weekly meetings, set up a centrally-located planning calendar, widely distribute meeting minutes, or list the steps on a public white board.
- Implement the action plan. Document the methods used to accomplish each step. You will want to be able to share the steps and goals and duplicate the actions the team took that were successful, if this is an ongoing or periodically repeated project.
- Determine how the team will measure, record, and track the effectiveness of the project implementation and planning process for the future.
- Using the data collected, evaluate results. How did the project meet expectations and satisfy planners and participants? If not, why not? Document for future projects.
- Celebrate the accomplishments of the team.
- Determine how you can apply the lessons learned and the steps experienced during this project to your future projects. Find a method for integrating best practice steps for project management.
Additional Tips to Ensure the Project's Success
- Involve the appropriate people who own the process and can make or break the success of your implementation and integration.
- Document your steps so that the team that follows or implements your project next year has the appropriate information they need to duplicate your successful steps and planning process.
- Keep any forms, flyers, advertisements, communication documents, team minutes, and all other data related to the project in a file that you can access for the next project planning.
- Hold people accountable on the team. Projects have a way of slipping deadlines and failure when team members fail to become accountable for commitments and results.
- Don't act as if a team is a democracy where everyone has an even vote on each component of the project. It's not and if you behave that way, your efforts will fail. Remember that the leader sets the tone and the pace. The leader takes the lead on expectations and final decisions.
- Consensus decision making is a trap. It causes groups to sink to the lowest common denominator, not the best solution, in its decisions. Here is how to successfully disagree as a team leader or member.