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Project Management: A Flight Of Beauty

Project Management 101

Overwhelmed? Can’t seem to get ahead of your projects? Are you experiencing problems managing your projects?  Are you clearly defining your scope of work?  Is your budget out of control?  Having problems working within deadlines?  Have you considered that maybe you are not effectively planning the management of your projects?  Let Project Management 101: A Flight Of Beauty, be the guide to your project’s success.

A project can be anything that requires any type of managing efforts.  A Project Manager is someone that leads, and controls the project’s efforts. We all know that every project should begin with a goal and objective, Scope Of Work (SOW), set deadline or milestone, an operating budget and desired deliverables.  With these basic steps in mind, the following are a few steps that can help you, as the Project Manager, manage “any” project:

DEFINE and IDENTIFY – Clearly identify and understand the scope of the project.  Get an understanding of the project’s objectives and goals. Clearly “define” the project, seeing it from all aspects, including from a 3D perspective.

PLAN and ARRANGE – Identify all tasks required to fulfill the project’s efforts including milestone, budget, resources, level of responsibilities and activities.

ORGANIZE –How will the project be structured?  Who will lead?  Who will handle finances?

MANAGE – Assure that all levels of roles and responsibilities are assigned, teams developed, work activities outline and infrastructure solidified.

EXECUTE - Who? What? When? Where? And How? Including contingencies, assumptions, risks and solutions.

SCHEDULE – Spreadsheets, Reports, Presentation, Minutes…….. What type of communication tools to be used? What are the communication tools frequencies?  What are your quality control efforts? How will sudden changes or disruptions be handled?  How would change in deadlines or constraints be handled? 

CLOSE OUT or DELIVERABLES – What are your deliverables?  Were they met? What is your close out format and methods? Before you close out the project ask yourself, did you properly plan the management of your project effectively?  Did you stay within SOW, within budget and within deadline?  Review project results from all aspects, includingn from a 3D perspective.  What are the lessons learned, and best practices?

Remember, you as the Project Manager must clearly know and understand your project’s goals and objectives, SOW, deadline/milestone, budget and desired deliverables.  Always be S.M.A.R.T:

Specific  -  see your project from a 3D perspective
Measurable - what type of results goals need to be reached?
Assignable - what is the infrastructure including the roles of responsibilities?
Realistic - are your goals and objective reachable and realistic?
Time Related - what are your milestone/deadlines?

Vernita Naylor, Ft. Worth SCORE
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Managing: Establishing Performance Objectives

Be SMART with your Small Business

Some people establish life objectives easily, but struggle to do the same for their businesses. Companies need to act SMART, in every decision, especially those that lead or impact business direction. There are a lot of approaches to define organizational and employee objectives, but I recommend that you Be SMART. Consider the following criteria:

Specific:   Ask before you write it what specifically is to be achieved? What actions are to be performed and what results are to be achieved through these actions? Remember that keeping objectives simple ensures they are clear and specific.

Measurable: Some objectives can be measured quantitatively; others must be measured qualitatively. What data will be used to measure/track what is achieved and is that data available to provide ongoing feedback on how the employee is doing? Those questions need to be answered before the evaluation time comes.

Accountable: A clear definition of what he or she is specifically accountable for will help reduce confusion when evaluating employee .Defining accountability will ensure a sense of urgency and purpose on the part of the employee.

Realistic: In highly efficient organizations, performance objectives ultimately link back to the company’s overall strategy and business plan. Objectives should challenge employees towards continuous improvement, but should not be unrealistic or unattainable.

Time-based: an achievable time frame must be set for reaching the objective’s goals. Consider assigning specific target dates for the performance objective and also for each lesser milestone linking the entire goal.

Set up employee objectives and link them to the overall business plan and over-arching strategy of the organization as a SMART decision, especially in this economy when every action counts. Organizations with many employees often have formal performance appraisal systems. Most employees in small businesses receive less feedback than they want and feel powerless to get more. It is important to have strong knowledge of people’s skills as well as their performance and objectives before giving feedback.

Erika Cruz, Guest Blogger
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