Good to see you back!
We’re excited to tackle an incredibly important workplace topic today: Project Management!
Many companies are presented with the sometimes-overwhelming task of working on large-scale projects internally… whether it’s a website redesign or hospital-wide marketing campaign. This inherently means that groups of employees must work together to achieve a successful result.
While we’ve all heard the phrase “two heads are better than one,” we also know that group projects come with their own set of potential obstacles. We’re here to tell you, however, that by putting some time and effort toward process improvement, you can hop over those hurdles on your way toward a stellar project!
Why take the time to improve your project management processes?
By creating a plan that works for your company, based on input from employees and other trusted members of the organization, you can empower your team to set their own standards rather than follow a generic set of guidelines. This can save your company dollars, increase productivity, and promote continual improvement within your organization.
So, where do you start? With the employees. It’s important to engage your team in the creation of your project management strategy. Your front-line employees often have fantastic insight toward facilitating change.
Step 1: Pre-Planning and Initiation
The first part of your project management plan needs to start with a project charter. This is a formal, usually short document that outlines your project in its entirety. It should contain the why of your project, what strategies will be implemented to achieve your goals, and what objectives need to be met. It’s also important to include any constraints and risks that come with the project so that everyone is on the same page.
Step 2: Planning
One of the trickiest parts of a project is the scope — basically, how large is the project you’re working on? Establishing this right off the bat is the best way to battle scope creep, the phenomenon of a project growing slowly bigger until the amount of work starts to overshadow the amount of profit being received for it. In addition to determining the scope, you’ll need to finalize the team members — both internal and external — involved in the project. This will allow you to come up with an efficient communication plan that makes the most sense for your team and this project. A proposed timeline and budget will help you keep the entire team accountable and on-track. Get the ball rolling with an enthusiastic, informational kick-off meeting, and you’re on your way to a satisfying project.
Step 3: Executing
This is the roll-up-your-sleeves part of the process when team members start implementing the strategy established during pre-planning. During this time, it’s imperative to stay aware of and communicate the project’s overall status through project tracking and by assigning action items for each member of the project team.
Step 4: Monitoring and Control
Technically, steps 4 and 3 should be happening at the same time. As your team executes the strategies and action items for the project, it’s important to continuously review and monitor the plan and its executing phases. This means paying attention to workflow changes, any extra training that may be needed, and making sure action items and goals are being met. You should also be diligently tracking your project’s budget in case any changes need to be made.
Step 5: Closure
Just like an old flame in a Hallmark movie, every project needs closure! This final stage can also be considered a maintenance phase in that it can help you set the stage for more successful projects in the future. This is the time to conduct a post-implementation review among your team so that you can determine what worked well and what you can improve upon. Your team will have feedback, so it’s important to allow them to share it with you and use that information to improve your project management process in the future.
And, finally, it’s time to celebrate a project well done!
Plan, Execute, Prepare for the Future
A successful project not only helps your company’s bottom line, but it also works as a morale booster for those involved. By following these steps as you implement your next big in-company project, you can improve your team’s efficiency, build trust, and ignite enthusiasm for projects to come.