Your Next Wildly Successful Project


Jun
18
2020

A successfully-executed project can have a significant, positive impact on your organization - not just for the bottom line, but also in the dividends of collaboration it can sow back into your workforce. It is also, by its nature, a massive undertaking. Depending on how previous projects were implemented, you could have some nervous Nellies or Neds on your team questioning whether this new project will be successful.

To quell their fears and set yourself up for success with upcoming projects, you have to plan— one of the most important steps of any project. Although it’s time-consuming, careful and deliberate investment in planning at the front-end of the project will pay off in multiples if done right. Here are some basic steps to help you set your next project up for success.

 

Define the Intended Outcome.

This sounds stupidly simple, but many projects go off the rails for lack of a clear and easily-communicated end product. What is it you want, when, and for how much? The end result(s) should be measurable so that you and the team members can agree that the project has achieved its intended outcome.

 

Organize Your Team, and Identify Your Project Lead.

You need to make sure the right people are included in the project by identifying who in your organization is affected by this project. If it involves revenue or expenses, Accounting needs to be represented. If it involves your customers, Customer Support needs to be represented. If it involves anything related to computer systems, IT needs to be present. Everyone contributing to the project will have an additional perspective that needs to be considered.

As you build the project team, one of the most important steps is identifying the lead. This is a time-consuming role that involves a lot of responsibility; make sure you are able to budget the resources to allow the lead the time they need to manage the project properly. Burn them out and you’ll regret it later, and your project will suffer. One key characteristic this lead should possess is a passion for seeing the people on her/his team succeed.

 

Define the Plan. Set your Budget, Time, and Resources.

With the project team set, it’s time to create a plan. This can start simple, but if done successfully will bloom into a reference document and tool that is priceless. A few questions to ask as you develop this plan: What steps are needed to get to the end result? What are the milestones along the way? What are the risks, and how can they best be mitigated?

Your plan needs to expect delays, build them in from the start. It benefits no one to think that everything will happen smoothly.

Put some dollars to it – hard and soft. This means realistically planning the hours employees will be working on the project and how this will affect normal work flow. If needed, bring in outside resources to fill any skills gaps, but ensure that this is part of your budget. For example, do you need to buy hardware, licenses, budget for performance bonuses? You may also want to bring in temps to take on day-to-day tasks, like accounting, to free up your team for the project.

 

Ensure Executive Oversight is Engaged.

Your project lead needs to know who is checking on them and holding them accountable. Don’t assume “No News Is Good News.” Set a schedule to check in on the project. Be sure that these meetings are in-person, rather than an email – we all know that email will take two hours to write and 30 minutes to read, get on the phone. This also allows you to ask questions.

Seek, welcome, and value honest feedback. You want to get objective advice, but you don’t want them to feel uncomfortable giving you bad news on scope creep or timeline shift. Honest communication wins every time!

 

Build Trust.

This is where your organization stands to benefit the most in the long-term. Empower and equip your team members to make necessary decisions and carry out the tasks they are responsible for. Embed collaboration as a key character trait in a culture of trust so that the team functions at a high level to achieve your project goal(s). This starts at the top, with you empowering your project lead with all reasonable resources to achieve the project end.

 

Planning, communication, allocating the necessary resources, and fostering collaboration are just a few steps that you can take to set your project up for success. Do you have some examples of projects gone wildly right? Let us know at info@quincycfo.com, we would love to hear about them!




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