10 Easy Steps to Getting Started in Project Management
By James P Farrell
Following are 10 easy steps for starting and executing a new project.
- Determine its Significance
While it could be argued that every project is as important as the next, it is vital to define your project’s objectives and expectations. It is also important to identify what is expected of you as project manager.
What Are Your Available Resources?
The next step to take is to work out and locate what resources and means are available to you and your project. You will need to work out and ascertain what equipment; finances and people are required for the successful completion of the job. Though you will not be directly in control of these resources, a good knowledge and understanding of them will contribute to a smoothly-ran project.
What’s Your Timeline?
Every project deadline differs and you will be faced with deadlines within deadlines during the course of your work. Though you may be granted some flexibility during the course of the project it is crucial to remember that the finishing time is non-negotiable. You may be able to take advantage of overtime hours to get the work done but be advised that this may conflict with your budget constraints.
Know Your Team
In the early stages of the project, assemble the people that you will be working with and get to know them. Make an effort to understand a little bit about what their role will be in the project but be assured that it is not necessary for you to know everything about what they do. They are the experts in their field and you are the expert in yours. It is just your job to manage them.
Major Stages Vs Minor-Stages
As you get to know your team, it is a good idea to take that opportunity to consult with them regarding the most important aspects of the job. If at all possible, list them in chronological order. When it comes to identifying the smaller steps in your project, list them within the larger steps already outlined.
Devise A Preliminary Plan
Your preliminary plan should include the major and minor stages you have already identified in the previous step. You should assign a team member to each task and a rough timeframe in which this task should be completed.
Seek feedback on your original plan from your team, boss and other stakeholders. This will make it easier for you to develop a more concrete, baseline plan. This will also give you a good opportunity to iron out all the unrealistic duties expected of you as project manager.
Don’t Forget Plan B
Like most things in life, something will go wrong. In an attempt to avert disaster, always have a contingency plan worked out and make sure that the key personnel on your team are up to speed with it. At the same time, however, your original plan should not be treated as if it is set in stone. Plans will change and new situations will present themselves. These occurrences won’t necessarily determine the implementation of Plan B so be prepared to alter some details as you go along.
Monitor Progress Closely
As project manager you are expected to keep a watchful eye on the development of the job. Monitoring the progress in the beginning will seem slow and tedious but once things really get going it is important to be committed to supervising your team. It is also crucial to remember to stay up-to-date with the projects paperwork and administration. If you veer away from the baseline plan, be sure to keep a record of it. By recording every happening it will also give you a chance to pre-empt problems and disasters.
Make sure all managers, investors and stakeholders are well informed throughout the duration of the project. This applies to progress and also problems. If you are considering a change to one of the plans, be sure to inform team members well in advance. It is also advised to enlighten each team member as to what their colleagues are doing.
James Farrell has worked in the selling business for over thirty years and is an acknowledged expert in sales, management and personal development. He is the founder and director of Professional Development Ltd., Ireland’s largest training provider. Professional Development Ltd offers training courses on over forty topics throughout Ireland