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Planning A Project
By Tim Millett

In order to successfully complete any project there should be a period of planning which takes place before it begins. It can be tempting to get started as soon as possible, especially if the project involves several people and everyone is excited to get going and achieve something worthwhile, but starting before a firm plan is created will only increase the chances of failure.

The first step should always be to clarify your objectives. What is the purpose of the project? What are you trying to achieve? If you can’t answer these questions you won’t be able to get started as you won’t know where you are heading.

Once you have a goal in mind you can begin to map out the steps, or milestones, you will need to take to get there. Breaking down the project into stages or steps helps to make it more logical and you will be better able to identify any potential areas of weakness long before you get to that stage. The more you can do by way preparation, the less likely it is that you will encounter any major problems during the completion of your project.

Next you should identify who will be involved in the project. This may only be one or two people, or it may be an entire department. Whoever it is, you will need to bring everyone together at some point to discuss the project and iron out any problems which anyone has before the work begins.

When you are looking at who will be involved, make sure you consider their skills carefully, both individually and as a team. It’s helpful to assign specific people to specific tasks that you know they will be able to achieve quickly and efficiently, and with the minimum of supervision, since the time given to complete the project may not allow for much training. Make sure also that everyone is clear about their own personal deadlines for completing their part of the job, since their own deadline may be very different from the final deadline for the project as a whole.

It is important to create a timeline in advance of the start of the project too. That way you can monitor progress en route, instead of assuming everything is going well and discovering at the eleventh hour that you are running way behind your schedule. Make it clear to everyone involved that communication is paramount to the overall success of the project, since identifying and solving problems early on can erase the possibility of missing the deadline altogether.

While good planning is vitally important to the eventual success of a project, you should bear in mind that no plan should be regarded as being rigid in any way. Sometimes circumstances will demand that you make changes along the way that you couldn’t have foreseen, and in that case you could have to adapt the plan to suit the new direction you might have to take.

In any event having a firm base to start from is just one way that you can ensure the success of any project you take on.

Timothy Millett, head trainer at i perform, has extensive expertise in performance training, sales training and customer service training. Tim has helped participants from organizations such as SWIFT and UBS achieve peak levels of personal performance. For more information please visit Customer Service Training.

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