How often have you decided to embark on a project and then you don’t get started, or you start too late, or maybe you start but you don’t follow it through to the end?
Why does this happen? At the time the project was important, wasn’t it?
If you want more of your great ideas to be implemented in a way that their maximum impact is attained, then consider incorporating project thinking into the way you operate. It is very simple, but very effective. There are 4 steps.
The 4 STEPS of Project Thinking are:
The critical first step is to be sure that you are clear on the outcome. What does the desired outcome of this project look like?
Think reverse engineering – start with the end in mind and work backwards.
What will the impact on the business be?
If you can establish the level of impact, then this will provide the impetus to follow through, to complete the project so as to reap the rewards. It will help set priorities.
Remember you can’t actually “do” a project – you can do activities – so the project must be broken down into logical steps and responsibilities for each step allocated.
Engage the team. You don’t want to be pushing the project but rather leading it.
Articulate the outcome and explain why it will have a positive impact on the business and the team.
Communicate what activities need to be undertaken, how they will be carried out, by whom and by when.
How many people are involved, what is the financial budget, are the facilities available and what amount of time is to be invested in the project.
A great way to engage the team is to involve them in the planning process – to brainstorm together to achieve the best outcome.
This is the doing – there needs to be real purpose and momentum – remember, the power of an idea is in its implementation.
A great starting point is to have an action plan which clearly sets out the steps, who is responsible for each steps’ completion and by when. Who will champion the project?
The process is clear, the benefits communicated and authorities and responsibilities assigned.
There must be a means of checking if the project is on or off track and the process must be transparent.
Consider visual displays to record the progress and incorporate progress reviews. This builds accountability into the process and is a means of bringing some vigour to a commitment to see the project through to the end, on time and with maximum impact.
If you start a project without going through these steps, the process will be haphazard, ineffective, resources may not be employed appropriately, and people will not be aligned.
If you incorporate project thinking into your business you will find that more of your great ideas will actually be implemented, your business will develop more quickly, your team will be more engaged (you actually do what you say you will do), major initiatives move forward and results are advanced.
Invest the time upfront – it is worth it.