Hey you, what are you doing here?…If you are checking this out it means one or two things. You are determined to learn more about your project management challenges and the next step is to find the best project management platform that would solve your problems.
OR, you have already got a project management platform in place and it sucks!!
By that I mean, it is too hard to use, too unreliable, too freaking expensive.
That’s right. When you think of project management you are figuring having to spend considerable time, money and effort. And that is exactly what general project management platforms/tools are now charging you.
But, there has to be a better way, right? And that is why you are here. In this article, we will discuss the core elements that we sometimes neglect and consider unimportant, which leads to drastic changes in the desired business outcomes.
Whether you are in charge of designing a car, moving your team to a new facility, preparing a solid marketing campaign, preparing advertisement framework for your client, or just about any other project (large or small), you will consciously or unconsciously go through the same four phases of project management: Planning, Defining, Implementation, and Performance Review.
For example, if you are in charge of planning a marketing automation, you’ll typically begin planning with the desired outcome and an estimated deadline for completion of the automation.
Then you will have a ballpark budget allocated to each campaign. Once you are in the Defining and Implementation phases, you will need to structure the framework and start executing the details of the project.
While defining or executing the project, you are most certain to come across new information, and based on the new information gathered, you will have to revise your budget, project deadline, implementation model, etc.
In other words, more you understand the bigger picture, the better you will plan your project.
You see, what stands between us and achieving our most ambitious goals has far less to do with possessing some magical skills or talent, and far more to do with how we approach problems and make decisions to solve them.
And because of the continuous and compounding nature of all those millions of decisions you make on a regular basis, even a marginal improvement in our process has huge impact on our end results.
Now let me prove this to you by taking an overview of each of these phases and the activities involved.
When people think of ideation or project planning, they tend to immediately jump into the scheduling and execution stage. But you won’t even get to that part until you have the framework ready for that particular project/task.
This first stage is more about defining fundamentals and sketching out the roadmap for your assigned project. Here are the basic fundamental steps we need to follow in the planning phase:
- Identify the real problem
Take your time to identify the issues you are trying to fix. Although it seems obvious, but it’s not always the same. Let’s say the CMO at your company has asked you, a Marketing manager, to develop a new lead generation process and execute it immediately.
You might get a deadline for your assigned project and eagerly jump right into it to tackle with the problems your team has encountered.
But, in the log run, is this going to help your company grow? To increase your chances of success, you must look beyond your current problems and identify the most usual obstacles to your goal. It may be you need more budget, more team members or a new platform. But unless you figure out what can cause you collateral damage, you cannot succeed.
You need to discuss with your team and ask –
- What type of information is required?
- How to acquire these information?
- Why is this information needed and how will it be used?
- How soon a fix is needed and….
- How long would it take to prepare a new framework?
Without following these steps, you risk wasting your valuable time and money in creating a temporary solution which will not have any practical results in the longer run.
- Identify the stakeholders
You solve the basic problems once you have figured out which functions or resources might get affected by your new activities; how much time will be contributed by which resource; who will allocate you the budget and tools; how and who is going to be benefited by the end results.
Also you need to be well equipped so in case of any changes in the players, you can debrief the complete process to the new resources.
- Define project objectives
You need to mould your stakeholders’ various expectations into a realistic and manageable set of objectives. Your project’s success will be determined by how you meet those goals. The clearer these objectives, the less chances of disagreement in the future.
- Determine project scope
Once you have the clear picture on stakeholder objectives, it is turn to divide complex activities into manageable tasks.
Prepare a whiteboard with the steps required to accomplish certain objectives. Create subtasks until you have reached the bottom limit and the activity could no longer be segmented.
Estimate how long would it take to complete each subtask and how much budget would be spent on them.
- Quality = Time + Cost
From the beginning, identify which variable is most important to the stakeholders. This will help you define your steps in order to achieve your desired outcome.
Everyone involved in the project must be clear about the objective, schedule, and budget to avoid any conflicts.
However, the deeper you get involved in the project, you discover more information and it may result in revising your objectives at a later stage.
It’s time to bring your team together. Estimation phase has now passed and you are now on schedule. Your cost now is the budget that you need to divide further.
Assemble your team, set up a communication framework, plan assignments for each resource available. List the skills of each team member, match their individual skills with the skills required for this project, and utilize your resources the smart way to ensure productive results.
Make sure to allocate roles and responsibility to each team member. Dividing the responsibility helps minimize the pressure and improves the quality. Encourage people to identify the soft spots where problems may occur and gather suggestions for improvement.
To create a realistic schedule within these constraints, I prefer working backward from the deadlines – that is, dates that couldn’t be changed. For instance, if there is a holiday campaign and it has to be rolled out before one day from that event, I know how much time I’ve and will assign my resources accordingly.
Put your plan into action. This phase is often the most gratifying, because all your hard work till date is finally at an execution stage. But, most of the time it gets frustrating.
Real-time monitoring and control on your process and budget is most important, no single approach works for all projects. Respond quickly to changes in information and look out for early signs of problems so you can initiate corrective actions.
Report your progress to stakeholders, but not all. Consult with them to see how much information they’d like on their plate and in what composition.
Pay attention to small signs of emerging problems. When you see one, get to the heart of it and take quick actions to minimize the damage. Don’t let it grow into a tornado.
Eventually, all your projects get to their end and it’s important to get a deeper look into each aspect. Before closing out your projects, your team needs to meet the set goals. Evaluate your project performance by comparing it to the scope everyone agreed on the beginning.
If all has gone as planned, it’s time for celebration. But, there are always a few stones unturned.
Your project might have taken longer than you expected, results might differ then expected, or you might have ended up spending more then the budget allocated – it’s still important that you recognize your team’s effort.
Schedule time to discuss the journey with your team members and document the process, so that the lessons learnt could be shared and improvements could be made in the next project.
Here is what’s really interesting. You don’t control the outcome – no one in your team does. What you do control is all the tiny little decisions that you need to make correctly along the way in order to move the probability in favor of you achieving your project goal.
And a collaborative project management platform comes handy to achieve these within quick time.
Few years ago Project management tools were so complex, unreliable for all your activities and had a very high price tag. Companies built stand-alone apps for each project activity!
That’s why you got used to ridiculously high prices and manage multiple tools to meet your organization’s process requirements.
There is no need for that. Project management is more like a daily practice these days.
All it took a company to build from scratch, a platform that takes advantage of the latest technology to give YOU the project management elements YOU deserve at the price you can afford – in a single tool. Finally, project management for everybody.
Because, now it’s not just the project manager who is involved in complex project management.
It’s YOU, a Marketing executive, managing multiple channels to get your message to your audience; it’s YOU, a developer, determined to build a world class solution; it’s YOU, a house wife, managing daily activities of your 5 children along with your household needs; it’s YOU, a business coach, helping dozens of entrepreneurs make their start; it’s YOU, a retail chain owner, managing deliveries and maintaining stocks at each of your stock points.
This is your chance, whether you are starting your new project assignment or tackling a stack of projects on your shoulder.
THIS IS YOUR CHANCE
- to grow your business
- manage clients efficiently
- increase your team’s productivity
- lower your tool maintenance costs
- boost your performance and
- get the free time you need so badly……….
Alright, if you have come so far, then I’ve got your attention. Now you may be thinking, “okay… sounds good… what is this experience going to be like for me and how do I get it?”
If you are haven’t signed up on Orangescrum, go ahead and SIGNUP NOW to experience how productivity and collaboration taste like.
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See you soon 🙂