A new year is a wonderful time to start a project that you have been meaning to get to but haven’t yet. Here are five tips that will help you at least start the planning process.
Expand your Horizons
Most projects start as a concept that needs to be vetted out in order to obtain the precise project outcome that will resolve the issue or create the device or launch the program. Once the project outcome is determined a brainstorming session – whether individually or with a team – would take place to determine the overall steps to get to the outcome. These overall steps become work streams of the project and organize the project at a high level.
How Do You Eat an Elephant? One Bite at a Time
The next step is to break the project into small manageable tasks with tangible outcomes. For instance instead of saying “Clean out the Office Desk Drawer” you could break that up into: 1) “Remove all contents of drawer, discard trash and broken items.” 2) “Sweep out drawer and line with shelving liner.” 3) “Purchase drawer organizer and place items that will stay in the drawer in the organizer.” 4) “Place all other items in their rightful area in the house.”
Tag, You’re IT
Once you have broken up the project into tasks the next step is to assign responsibility. Work with your team to determine who is doing what and spread the wealth assigning tasks as evenly as possible. Even if you are doing a project on your own there may dependencies that are based on other parties that need to be taken into consideration. For example, you want to have that office desk drawer organized by Tuesday but the vendor who makes the organizer can’t have the material to you until Thursday. Not only will you need to adjust the date but the responsible party is the vendor.
I’m Late; I’m Late for a Very Important Date
Once you know who is doing the work document when the work will be completed. Start with the end date that the project should be completed by and work your way backwards until you get to the projected start date of the project. For example, you need to have the office desk drawer cleaned out by Valentine’s Day so you would use February 14th as the end date then work backwards. The project will take approximately 3 weeks so the start date would be January 24th. You then plan your tasks appropriately within your timeline, taking into consideration how long each task will take.
The Writing is on the Wall
Once you have the above pieces complete, documentation is key. You could use anything from Microsoft Project to an Excel spreadsheet to a simple task list format to document your Project Plan. If you are working with a team be sure to use a format that all users are able to access and edit if applicable.
We hope this uncovers any mystery that organizing projects may have for you. The process can be daunting if you aren’t used to the concept but with the simple tips above anyone can create a plan that will ultimately lead you to a finished project!
If you are not inclined in this way, know that Rua, Inc. is able to create these in our sleep! We use them not only for external but internal projects as well. Contact us today if you would like to learn more.