Successful entrepreneurs are good project managers. They are adept at the process of planning, organizing, motivating and controlling resources, procedures and protocols to achieve specific goals. They meet daily business problems head on with ease. This is due, in part, to project management.
As a business owner, projects are endless. They usually are temporary endeavors designed to produce a unique product, service or result with a defined beginning and end. Projects are undertaken daily to meet unique goals and objectives, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value.
If you need to brush up on your project management skills, or overhaul your current workflow, these 11 steps will help you successfully setup and manage your next project.
Step 1: Define the Project
When you define the real purpose of a project, things get clearer. Your mind starts buzzing with ideas. Knowing where you want to end up is especially important at this stage. Your vision for the most successful outcome helps you establish guidelines for keeping yourself and your team on the right path
Step 2: Identify and Meet with Stakeholders
It’s important to remember that stakeholders aren’t only your customers or clients; a stakeholder is anyone who’s affected by the results of your project. Make sure you identify all stakeholders and keep their interests in mind when you create a project plan.
Meet with the project sponsors and key stakeholders to discuss their needs and expectations, and establish baselines for project scope, budget, and timeline. Then create a scope of work statement – a document to finalize and record the details of the project scope, get everyone on the same page, and reduce chances of costly miscommunications.
Step 3: Set and Prioritize Goals
Once you have a list of stakeholder needs, prioritize them and set specific project goals. These should outline the objectives of the project — the benefits you hope to accomplish. Write out your goals in your project plan so it’s clearly communicated and easily shared.
Step 4: Establish Success Criteria
How can you know if your project is successful if you don’t measure success? Create interim milestones, especially for an endeavor that will span a long period of time, to determine if you are on track or straying from goals. Develop both internal checkpoints and client checkpoints. Never leave incorporating a client’s feedback until the very end of the project.
Step 5: Define Project Milestones and Deliverables
Identify crucial moments throughout the project. You can provide a lifecycle of the project by including four main phases: initiation, planning, execution and closure. Perform a real evaluation at the end of each phase. Make sure to examine every deliverable.
Step 6: Select Leaders and Assign Tasks
Gather team members, and outside help (when applicable) to make sure skill sets align with required roles. This is an important first step. If you assign the wrong person to a task, you reduce your chance of success before the project even begins. Make sure each team member is clear on what is expected from them. Clear and open communication is mission critical.
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