Planning Projects: The Most Important Fundamentals
Planning projects is all about getting things done efficiently. You want your projects to be done, done well and done in time. Here are a few of the most important fundamentals you need to master to make that happen.
==> Every Project is Owned by One Person
Don’t make your marketing project owned by the “marketing team.” Never assign a project to “you guys” or “the two of you.” A project should always be owned by just one person, no more and no less.
If more than one person owns a project, nobody feels a sense of responsibility for it. If nobody owns a project, it won’t get done.
It’s okay for someone to delegate a project that they own, but they’re still accountable for getting that project done.
==> Every Project Needs a “Done” Point
A project like “increase quarterly revenues” is not a well defined project. On the other hand, “create new system for testing upsells” is a project that’s much better defined.
Every project needs to have a very specific “done” point. This is the end goal, or the point at which you can mark the project as successfully done.
Having this end point gives your team something to strive for. It gives people a sense of accomplishment when they hit that goal. It also prevent people from having projects that they’re vaguely responsible for that seem to never end.
==> Managing the Tasks in a Project
Projects should be broken down into manageable tasks. The breaking down of the tasks can be done by you, or more commonly by the person who owns the project.
Each task should also be owned by someone. For example, in the “create new system for testing upsells” project, the task of “build the interface” might be assigned to one specific developer.
Tasks should also have a clear “done” point. You should be able to ask in a meeting whether or not a task is done and get either a yes or no answer.
==> Set Time Goals
Both projects and tasks should have due dates. Projects or tasks without due dates tend to take a long time to get done. Having due dates keeps the whole company on task.
For larger projects and tasks, milestones can help keep things manageable. For example, if you’re developing a complex system from scratch, set time goals for individual parts of the system rather than just for the system as a whole.
These are some of the most important fundamentals of managing a project well. Implementing these fundamentals will help get things done consistently and on time. It’ll help you develop a “make things happen” culture in your company. Make sure you explain the system to your employees before expecting them to follow through on it.