Project Management Basics: Plan your Work
Identify Activities Needed To Reach Your Goals
To successfully deliver your project or meet your targets, you need to know what’s included in the work. Make sure you have a good understanding of what’s to be delivered and all the tasks included to get you there.
Create a Schedule
When you and your team have identified the tasks and dependencies, determine how long each will take and who’s responsible for completing them. This provides better time estimates and more buy-in, since the information is coming from the people who will be doing the work.
Identify Milestones as Periodic Targets to Stay on Track
Once you’ve created your schedule, identify several key deliverables as milestones. Milestones are point-in-time items that you use as markers to track status against.
Develop Your Budget
Lay out all your costs to get a clear picture of the budget you’ll need for executing your project. Be clear what costs to include. Will you print marketing materials? Will you need to travel for this project? If you identify all costs up front, you’ll be better able to track against your budget as you execute the project. Itemizing all the costs helps ensure you won’t miss anything and go over budget.
Identify Potential Risks
Understand what could sabotage your success, and be ready for it. Ask yourself what could go wrong. You have ideas about this from past experiences. Identify potential delays. Use your team’s experience as well. Create a plan for how you’ll mitigate or handle each risk if it arises.
Project Management Basics: Execute the Plan
Execute the Project Schedule
You’ve broken the activities down to clear tasks with dates and who’s responsible. Now work with your team to carry it out. Hold your team accountable for what they’ve committed to. Communicate with your team regularly on how they’re progressing on the plan. Remove roadblocks and help your team stay on track.
Track Your Budget
As you execute your plan, stay on top of spending. It’s possible that quotes have expired, or you need more licenses than you originally planned for. Don’t wait until the end of the project to look at what you’re spending.
Revisit your risk plan throughout the course of the project. Talk with team members about the potential risks they identified. Make sure none of them are happening. It’s another one of those essential project management basics. And if any of the potential risks do come to pass, execute the risk plan you created in your risk planning.
Communicate with Team Members and Stakeholders
As you execute your plan, have regular communications with stakeholders and team members. Share status so that everyone is aware of how things are progressing. Manage expectations along the way. Keeping everyone informed increases trust and confidence.
Stay Focused on the Right Work
Distractions and opportunities can take your focus away from your project. Don’t let low-value activities divert your attention. Help your team stay focused on completing activities that get you to your project goals.