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When an organization wants to make positive changes it typically involves new strategy and specific projects to implement that strategy. It's very easy to have a project get de-railed if all of the moving parts are not organized properly.
Here are several steps to ensure you ensure your projects are successful every time.
1) It must be crystal clear what the mission, objectives, and goals are at the completion before a new project is started. It is important to be able to have these defined goals so the project team has a clear target of what the result should be. The project manager can identify key performance metrics based on these goals to ensure that the right progress is made without getting off track.
2) A new project initiative will have many stakeholders, including owners of the company, financial backers, end-users, the project team itself, etc. These stakeholders can each have their own objectives on a particular project and outcome. It is vitally important when leading a project to get all of the individual stakeholder objectives aligned and to keep the stakeholders engaged at the appropriate levels.
3) Projects can take many shapes, sizes, and lengths. The budget needs to be properly estimated, and funding is secured before beginning. Don’t be fooled by cheapskates. Sometimes it seems there is never enough money to do the project right the first time, but there seems to be plenty of money for re-work.
4) Nothing can be more frustrating on a project if the timeline is too short. Make sure the time frame of the project makes sense. Fight back when adjustments to shorten the timeline midstream start to occur. Shortening the timeline will usually cut down your QA time.
5) Large projects can be made up of teams of people, equipment, vendors, and various other resources. You may need these resources for the length of the project or just specific phases. Make sure you have identified all the necessary resources and where they fit into your project timeline. If possible, build in some lead and lag as things to pop up. Of course, this may not be possible along the critical path.
6) The communication plan is the single biggest factor in success or failure. To keep the wheels greased, you have to set up a comm plan that keeps all stakeholders informed at the appropriate level. Your comm plan will probably entail daily communication with the project workforce, weekly status updates with the project champion, and less frequent detailed communication with higher-ups. The philosophy for your communication is to be impossible to misunderstand.
7) Once you have all the puzzle pieces in. EXECUTE! And check the work on the way.