Think about it. Much that you do each day is, effectively, a project to be completed. These “projects” may be simple or more complex, but regardless of what role you have within the organization – managing projects is likely to be one of the things you have to do! In order to effectively support the business, you must learn how to manage those initiatives with which you are tasked.
There are any number of processes for managing projects. Consider this simple four phased approach:
Manage projects by following a phased approach or step-by-step process. Think of it as a life cycle of the project – from its start to finish. Each organization has their own life cycle, or approach, to managing projects but a common approach is shown below:
Exhibit 1: Four Phased Approach to Managing Projects
Let’s consider the project is to develop a new onboarding program for new employees within the organization. Let’s briefly, at a high level, walk through each of the phases above in undertaking a project of developing an onboarding program.
Define the project: In this first phase of the project, we will determine what we need in an onboarding program. We’ll do this through conversations with the sponsor (the individual(s) who assigned us the project) as well as other stakeholders – managers and leaders as well as recently hired employees to understand what they would have found of value in the early weeks of their employment. We’ll also research other onboarding programs to learn more about what other organizations have included in their programs. This will enable us to understand what the project “looks like” and define the objectives and expected end result of the project (onboarding program.)
Plan for the project: In this phase, we’ll determine the scope of the project, what activities will need to be completed as well as major milestones. We’ll also determine who needs to be involved on the project team and what their roles and responsibilities will be. We determine how to communicate internally about the project so that others in the organization know what we are doing and why. Here we’ll develop our project timeline as well as outline how we will report on progress and finalize the budget for the project.
Execute, monitor, and control the project: Here we are implementing – or managing – the project. Using the project plan we developed in “plan for the project,” we’ll track progress on the onboarding project, manage to the budget, and communicate regularly about how the project is progressing to both the project sponsor as well we other stakeholders. We’ll also have regular weekly meetings with the project team members to ensure they are focused and on track. We’ll also run a pilot test of our onboarding program to ensure it meets the objectives prior to finalizing it and rolling it out organization-wide.
Close and evaluate the project: When complete, we’ll close out the project. This will entail transitioning the new onboarding program over to HR who will manage it moving forward as well as holding a final “wrap up” meeting with the team members and key stakeholders. During this final meeting, we’ll discuss what went well on the project and where we could improve to make sure the next project goes even better. We’ll also hold a final meeting with the sponsor to officially close out the project and evaluate how we did against the schedule and the budget.
This captures, at a very high level, how we might use a four phased approach to manage just one project. This approach works for any projects – from the simplest to the most complex!
Want to learn more how to take a project management approach to getting the work done within the organization? Interested in teaching your employees how to better manage the myriad of projects and other initiatives they have to get accomplished? Contact Abudi Consulting Group to learn more about our one day workshop – Best Practices for Managing Projects.