How to Deliver Your Projects Successfully

Your ultimate goal in delivering a project is to finish on time, under budget and with a happy customer. But how do you do it? Here are 5 tips to help you.

How to Deliver Your Projects Successfully

These 5 tips will give you a head start:

Be honest

Always be totally honest and upfront with your customer right from the start. Tell them if their project is not feasible or if you don’t have all of the resource, money and time needed to deliver it successfully from the outset. Set their expectations by telling them what you will deliver and by when. And if it eventuates that you can’t deliver on your promises, then tell them about it immediately. By having an “open book” policy, you’ll gain your customer’s trust. If you involve them early enough, they will be more supportive for your project.

Manage through delegation

Managers often fall into the trap of believing that they can do things more efficiently than staff. Of course in many cases they might be right, but the problem is that they don’t have the time to do everything themselves. So a smart manager always tries to delegate as much as possible to staff. It gives them the time needed to monitor the project and support their team. It’s a tough ask, but even if you know you can do a task more efficiently than others, delegate whenever you can anyway.

Expect the unexpected

Always expect things to change and be ready for it when it occurs. People have ideas, your customer may want changes and the industry and technology change over time as well. It’s not the change that’s important, it’s how you react to the change that counts. Always embrace change, but be wary of it. Question every change request and only when you’re certain it’s for the best, then implement it.

Become a great leader

When you save time by delegating your tasks, you have free time for leading and motivating your team. Do this by regularly communicating the project vision to your team, rewarding them for progress and recognizing their achievements. Gain their respect by showing them you care. Build team spirit by taking them to lunch regularly and talking about what they achieved together.

Work smart, not hard

Never start from scratch. Always give yourself a head-start by using tools like Project Management Templates. The templates boost the quality of your documents and they save you time and effort.

Using these 5 tips, you’ll boost your project success. Try the complete Project Management Kit of templates today.

Project Management for Dummies

Are you new to project management? Want to learn the basics of managing projects? Then read this newsletter about…

Project Management for Dummies

You can manage any type of project, by taking these 5 steps:

Step 1: Set the goals

The 1st step is to gather your team together on site and set the goals. This means stating clearly what they have to achieve, by when and how they are going to do it. At this meeting, you need everyone on board, offering you their full support. Get them pumped and ready for action!

Ask your customer to come to the meeting and explain why the solution that the project will deliver is critical to their business. Get your customer to explain why the timescales are also important and the level of quality that must be achieved. Only with an understanding of the solution, timescale and quality targets will the team fully realise what it is that they have to achieve and be motivated by it.

Tip 2: Plan, plan, plan

The next step is to plan a course of action to achieve your goals. Work with your entire team to identify all of the major tasks that need to be completed. Estimate how long each task will take and create your project schedule. Then assign resource to each task so that everyone in the team knows what has to be done and by when.

Run the plan past your customer to get their feedback. Only with a rock solid plan will the team have clear direction going forward.

Tip 3: Measure, Monitor and Control

Then start measuring progress against your plan and monitoring it weekly to ensure you’re always on track.

You also need to control any change requests. This is when someone requests changes to your scope or deliverables. They might be a great idea at the time, but unless they are going to save you time or money, then wherever possible try and park them and move on. Changes to project scope often kill the best laid plans.

Tip 4: Communicate clearly

You know whether you’re ahead, on track or behind – but do your team? You need to keep them and your customer properly informed, if you want their full buy-in and motivation.

Also, report your project status to your customer weekly. Hold regular project status meetings with your team to keep them informed of progress against the goalposts and what lies ahead.

Tip 5: Work Smart

You have limited time and resources to deliver your project, so you need to work smart. Manage your time carefully. Use “To Do Lists” to prioritise your work. Limit the number of meetings you have and keep telephone calls short. Only work on prioritized tasks. If something arises that is non-critical then keep a record of it and move on.

Work smart by using clever tools. Use project management templates to help you deliver your project.

Download these templates from www.Method123.com

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How to Initiate Projects Successfully

Within this newsletter, we’ll help you to properly scope your projects, by describing:

How to Initiate Projects Successfully

Most Projects Managers get tired at some point in their project. After all, managing people, money and time is exhausting. But if you’re not at the top of your game for the whole length of the project, then your team can get stressed and timeframes can start slipping. So here are 5 tips for kick starting your project to rejuvenate it and give it a new lease of life…

Did you know that a large percentage of projects are cancelled before they even reach the detailed planning phase? The most common reason is that they have not been properly defined and scoped, and as a result, they lack the sponsorship needed to ensure their success. If they do manage to secure sponsorship, then Project Managers often find it difficult to control changes to the project scope, as they do not have a clearly defined scope statement to measure against.

For these reasons, it’s critical that you initiate your projects as quickly and efficiently as possible, by taking these 6 steps:

Step 1: Develop a Business Case

The first step taken when initiating a new project, is the creation of a comprehensive Business Case. A Business Case describes the business problem / opportunity to be addressed by the project and the alternative solutions available. The potential costs and benefits associated with each alternative solution are also defined.

The Business Case becomes the foundation for the project as it fully documents the reasons for creating the project and the key benefits to be delivered. Once produced, the Business Case should be formally endorsed by the Project Sponsor, before funding is allocated to the project. More info

Step 2: Undertake a Feasibility Study

A Feasibility Study is completed to identify the likelihood of the alternative solutions actually delivering the benefits stated in the Business Case. Based on the results of the Feasibility Study and the Benefits and Costs portrayed in the Business Case, a preferred solution is identified and once again, is approved by the Project Sponsor.

If you can complete a comprehensive Feasibility Study, then you will greatly improve your chances of delivering your project successfully. More info

Step 3: Establish the Project Charter

Once the problem and solution have been identified, a new project is then defined to deliver the solution. The “Project Charter” is documented, which essentially describes what the project sets out to achieve and the boundaries within which it must achieve it.

The project vision, objectives, scope, deliverables, project organization and an implementation plan are all clearly stated in the Project Charter document. The Project Charter may be otherwise known as a “Terms of Reference” or “Project Definition Report”. More info

Step 4: Appoint the Project Team

Now that the project is defined, it is time to appoint the team. The Project Board is established and the Project Manager is recruited to take on responsibility for the project. The Project Manager recruits the Team Leaders and they in turn help recruit project staff. Every team member is assigned a detailed Job Description, defining their role and responsibilities within the project. More info

Step 5: Set up a Project Office

The Project Office environment is then established, as the physical place of residence for the team for the duration of the project. This environment will provide the premises, equipment, materials, tools and processes required to enable the members of the project team to perform their roles successfully. A checklist is used to ensure that the Project Office has been set up correctly and will continue to support the Project as needed.

Step 6: Perform Phase Review

Once the project has been defined and the team have been appointed, you’re ready to perform a project phase review. A Phase Review is completed to ensure that all of the required Initiation activities have been undertaken and to provide formal approval to proceed to the next phase.

And there you have it – 6 steps to initiating projects successfully. If you would like to use templates to complete each of these activities quickly and efficiently, then read about the Project Management Kit.

This kit includes all of the templates, needed to implement the steps above… Download Now

How to Kick Start Your Project

Is your project getting you down? Do you want to give it a kick start, injecting new energy and motivation, boosting your chances of success? If so, then read this article telling you…

How to Kick Start Your Project

Most Projects Managers get tired at some point in their project. After all, managing people, money and time is exhausting. But if you’re not at the top of your game for the whole length of the project, then your team can get stressed and timeframes can start slipping. So here are 5 tips for kick starting your project to rejuvenate it and give it a new lease of life…

Tip 1: Stop and get a grip
Projects are always ahead in some areas and behind in others. Stop and take the time to get a firm handle on the project progress. Make a list of all of the areas that you’re behind in. Then prioritize the list and calculate the amount of effort needed to get them back on track. Are there any tasks that can be completed by others outside your team? If there are non-critical tasks that you can outsource, then now is the time to consider it. Use whatever resources you can find to complete these late tasks as soon as possible.

Tip 2: Rework the plan
Once you’ve caught up, revisit your Project Plan. Update every task in the plan and recreate your schedule ahead. You need to revitalize your team and to do this, you need a newly worked project plan that shows how you’re going to deliver the rest of the project on time. This will boost motivation and enthusiasm for completing the revitalized plan. Especially if your team can see that it’s actually achievable.

Tip 3: The Road Ahead
Now that you have a crystal clear plan ahead, you’re ready to get the team behind it. Take your team out for lunch. Walk them through the remaining challenges and the timeframes in which they must be achieved. Try not to talk about the prior period or any failures to date. Instead, be positive and focus on the road ahead to gather their support. If possible, ask a customer to come along, to impress on your staff what it is that they need to deliver and by when. Tell them you’re proud of them and what they’re capable of achieving.

Tip 4: Individualization
The trick now is to make each person feel like they are a critical cog in the wheel. Meet them individually, reward their successes and recognize achievement whenever you see it.

Tip 5: Quick wins
A winning team like to know they are winning right from the start. Focus on delivering a couple of critical tasks early, then shout about the success. Then get more quick wins under your belt and shout out about your successes again. This creates the feeling of achievement and it creates momentum in the team. Sure, the project may not be finished until you’ve crossed the finishing line, but half the fun should be in getting there.

By taking these 5 tips, you can kick start your projects to boost motivation to an all time high.

To invigorate your team, use these refreshing new Project Management Templates.

They include all of the documents you need to help your team deliver the project on time. Download from Method123.com

Create a Project Plan in 3 easy steps!

The most critical step in the Project Lifecycle is the creation of the Project Plan. This document acts as a “yard stick” by providing the basis upon which to assess the performance of the project. In this newsletter, we will describe how to…

Create a Project Plan in 3 easy steps!

The Project Plan lists all of the activities required to complete the project as well as the milestones, dependencies, resources and timeframes involved. The following diagram depicts the 3 critical steps involved in creating a Project Plan:

To create a Project Plan, you first need to define the Work Breakdown Structure (“WBS”). The WBS lists each of the phases, activities and tasks required to undertake a project. You will then identify the resources required to carry out each activity listed. And finally, you will construct a Project Schedule which describes the flow of tasks and the timeframes involved in completing each task specified. A more detailed description of each of these steps follows:

Step 1: Define the Work Breakdown Structure

The first step taken when creating a detailed Project Plan for your project, is to create a comprehensive Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). The WBS lists all the phases, activities and tasks required to undertake the project. Identify and describe each phase, activity and task required to complete the project successfully. Depict the order in which the tasks must be undertaken and identify any key internal and external project dependencies. Also list the critical project milestones, such as the completion of key project deliverables.

Step 2: Identify the Required Resources

Having listed all of the tasks required to undertake the project, you now need to identify the generic resources required to complete each task. Examples of types of resource include: full-time and part-time staff, contractors, equipment and materials. For each resource type, identify the quantity required, the delivery dates and the project tasks in the WBS that the resource will be used to help complete.

Step 3: Construct a Project Schedule

You have now collated all of the information required to build a detailed Project Schedule. To construct your schedule, you need to:

  • List the phases, activities and tasks
  • Sequence the phases, activities and tasks
  • Add key internal and external dependencies
  • Allocate relevant completion timeframes
  • Add additional contingency to mitigate risk
  • Assign resources required to complete tasks
  • List critical delivery milestones
  • Specify any assumptions and constraints

And there you have it! By following these 3 simple steps, you can create a comprehensive Project Plan to increase the likelihood of success of your project. If you would like to download a Project Plan template to help you to create Project Plans quickly and easily, then click here.