Do It And Review It – Final Steps To Project Management

Once you’ve wisely taken time to scope and plan out your project, you need to launch it.

This interview  will help you understand some of the dynamics of successfully running a project. 

No project is considered complete until you’ve wrapped it up properly and archived your plans and outcomes for future reference. This clip discusses things to consider when reviewing and closing out a project.


[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWKtQn874mA&list=PLF956928B92C87A60&index=9&feature=plpp_video[/youtube]

Check out our entire playlist series of Project Management on our YouTube channel! 

Communication is Critical

Back in the day when I had PMP* behind my name I knew many interesting bits of trivia about Project Management.

For example, one of the companies I worked with determined that 90% of their projects were failing. Hence I was called in to help ameliorate the situation.

Do you know what the single largest failure factor was in these projects? The human factor was to blame – the people involved. And, can you guess what part of the human factor was to blame? If you said “…a break-down in communication.” you’d be right!

From my vantage point there are two main things to do so your communication improves as well as your results.

First: Be very, very clear about what you are communicating.

  • Make sure you clarify what you want to say.
  • Then say it clearly.
  • Check in and see if what the other person heard and understood is what you meant.

(If not, repeat the cycle until what you mean is what the other person hears)

Second: Create strong channels for your communication to flow. A channel is a means by which information runs from the source to the trenches where it is needed. Some companies publish newsletters and blogs. Other companies rely on meetings and e-mail to communicate critical information. No matter what means you use to get information from where it is to where you need it to be, communicate often.

Here are two effective practices used by my clients to make sure their critical communications are not just heard, they are understood.

Practice # 1

Understand how many potential channels you have inside your organization. This number represents the different lines of communication that are being used informally when your team members connect with each other. View this clip for a formula that will help you calculate the number of channels that exist in your workplace.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUWGTSKlYxQ[/youtube]The point is this: Have a communication plan and a main channel by which important information flows. Otherwise, misinformation will have a greater chance filling up your network than your critical messages.

Practice # 2 

Install and utilize a coaching culture. A coaching culture means that you have someone in your organization who is meeting on a regular basis with your employees. These short encounters may be individual coaching sessions, group/team sessions, or project sessions. It is easy to transfer critical messages within the framework of these sessions. For example, the coach might deliver the critical message and then support your employees toward being accountable for doing something with the information. Listen to an informal interview I recently held with Laura Verdi from Progressions Salon, Spa and Store. She can tell you the importance she places on their coaching culture and how it relates to improved communication.

*PMP stands for Project Management Professional. It does NOT stand for pimp.

 

Go – No Go Meeting

In terms of Project Management, a Go-NoGo meeting is a smart step to take before you plan out the entire project.

Ideally you want to accomplish three main objectives in this meeting.

They are:

  1. Get final approval of your project vision statement and corresponding desired outcomes
  2. Confirm the viability of your project
  3. Determine if you have a green light to continue planning out and running your project

Watch our entire Project Management Suite or just this one for more information on how to increase your chances for running a successful project.

Project Management

We are currently creating a set of short tutorials designed to educate you on each major step of a tried and true, simple project management process. Our most recent tutorial discusses creating project scoping documents that include a vision statement, desired results and a viability check.

http://youtu.be/RO7i0nSc6s4

Click here to watch the whole series of Project Management clips. 

Project Management Step One – Scope IT!

The first phase in any good project management process is to properly Scope your project.

In this initial phase you, the project manager, act more like a facilitator or coach than a manager.

Your primary job is to take enough time to adequately understand who you must interview in order to effectively scope the vision and deliverables of your project.

When we take this time to find the right key-stakeholders, we prevent future misfires and oversights that could show up later in the project. If you’ve ever had a project derailed in the mid-step because someone from the “top” needed to add their input, you know what I’m talking about.

Effectively scoping your project begins by patiently identifying the key stakeholders before you start planning the project. These are the one or two individuals who will determine your project objectives. These are the same people who will also determine if your project met the objectives.

The two key things you need to do are:

1)    Brainstorm all the potential people that are influenced by your project

2)    Narrow this list down to the one, two, or three key stakeholders who will actually be the critical link that insures that the project is envisioned correctly

If you would like more  information on Project Management you might enjoy downloading Lyn’s related Head Trip Audio file on the topic. [wp_eStore_fancy1 id=9]

Watch this video to get an idea of how to complete this step in your project management process or connect and let’s talk it over – lyn@soulsalt.com[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Je5a67x98yU[/youtube]

Before the Project Begins

Before you start planning a project you might want to make sure that what you are undertaking is actually a project.

 I say this because, trying to apply a project management process to anything other than a true project is like trying to pound in a nail the handle of a screw driver.

Projects and operational processes share several qualities:

  • They both require people performing functions
  • They are both constrained by limited resources
  • They both work best when planned out, executed and controlled

What really sets a project apart from a process involving operational functions is this:

A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or goal. The work has a clearly defined with beginning and an end. And even though you may have done a similar project to the one at hand, it is always unique. For example, planning an Annual Fund-Raising Gala is a project – no two Gala’s are exactly the same. The guests and invitations often differ as well as the entertainment and the menu.

In comparison a process is the main function of operations. Assembling a line of cars, processing payroll, closing out the till for the night are examples of operational functions. For best results each one of these examples requires a standardized process by which they are completed.

So if you want to be sure that you are using a project management process appropriately, first qualify work as a true project. Otherwise you might be left feeling like you are sawing through a 2 X 4 with a nail file. This quick video might help.

To see the next blog in this series click here!