It’s April 2021. You’re still recovering from the steep incline, heart thumping rollercoaster that was 2020. The company you work for has laid off half the team, hired some of them back (at 20% less) and expects faster, better results…all while you work from home in your pjs. Honestly, what’s next? Cue your boss trying to motivate the team; “let’s show them what we’re made of”. Bless them, 2020 was tough on them too. Sigh, okay…time to shake off a bad year and kick some serious goals.
Repeat after us – good project management is the key to workplace domination. Any industry, any role…if you can project manage like a pro, you can achieve anything (one, well thought-out and perfectly timed step at a time). Looking to impress? Present a project plan. Coordinating a team effort? Deliver a project plan. Feeling overwhelmed? Create a project plan. It’s foolproof!
Let’s get you operating like a well oiled machine.
The key to any good project is an exceptional scope. Your boss and all team members should understand how and what you intend on achieving before you’ve even begun. Why? Because sign-off is important, but not more important than making team expectations clear. Trust us, this may take a while to compile, but will save you hours of emails and/ or questions down the track.
The scope should kick-off with an overarching goal and measurable objectives; and follow through with the tactics you intend on using to achieve it. You’ll include who is involved, what those individuals will contribute and the key milestones they’ll hit along the way.
Timelines, timelines, timelines.
The holy grail of project management…. a detailed timeline! We like to call this one a critical path (for emphasis of course). A critical path will be split up into three components; key deliverables, the person responsible for that deliverable and an associated deadline. You’ll then cascade those deadlines downwards in a chronological order until you hit your launch date (work backwards). Boom! Everyone understands what their role is, when they’re required and all the dependables associated with getting this thing off the ground.
All too often, the human element of project management is overlooked. Don’t make this mistake! Ultimately, the project you’re managing will likely involve various teams and / or individuals, all with their own goals, motivators and personalities. The best project managers put their people at the centre; they know Susan is likely to steamroll meetings with her opinions, and checking in on your introverted colleagues (perhaps informally) will be critical in leveraging everyone’s unique skill sets. They understand that Paul has the tendency to get carried away and miss deadlines, which calls for a buffer to be put in place so that when he does, extra time has been accounted for, ensuring the rest of the deliverables don’t suffer.
Finally, what’s a project without a little appreciation? While you’re being celebrated for getting things done, consider those stakeholders that enabled your success. Perhaps they helped in a way that wasn’t (technically) in their job description, they’re a naturally quiet achiever or a junior member of the team. Show a bit of love in your next staff meeting and publicly recognise those who made it happen. It’ll go a long way, and you’ll find securing help with your next project will be so much easier. Well done you!