Learn how to manage a project (for dummies!)
There are all kinds of projects: simple, complex, big or small, and many of them follow the same logic. Take a look at these 9 steps and learn how to manage (almost) any project.
How to manage a project?
- Define goals
- Define completion date
- Define all project activities
- Allocate resources
- Estimate time and cost per activity
- Implement plan
- Monitor and control
- Deliver project
Let’s take a closer look into each one of these steps:
1. DEFINE THE GOALS FOR YOUR PROJECT
Every project needs a goal, or a set of goals, that have to be accomplished in order to finish the project. This goal needs to be settled in objectives that can be measured so we can know where we are heading to and what we need to get there.
Defining the goal is the first step on every project management process. Start by developing SMART objectives (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely), that you can keep track on to see if the project has been completed successfully or not.
After you’ve defined the project objectives and goals, you can then determine the projects scope. The scope will allow you to clearly define all activities and resources that are needed to achieve the specified objectives and goals.
So, remember, if you don’t have clear goals and objectives, your project is most likely to fail.
2. DEFINE COMPLETION DATE
Every project needs to have a finish date. In fact, this is one of the main characteristics of a project, and what differentiates it from an ongoing task.
Once you know what your goal is you need to put a finish date so that everyone can be clear on what is expected and by when. This completion date is crucial for determining what resources (people, software, money, etc.) the team needs in order to accomplish the goal on a timely manner.
So, start by defining the finish date so you can identify the tasks that need to be done and assign a specific date for each one of them.
3. DEFINE ALL PROJECT ACTIVITIES
Once you know what your goal is, and when you need to accomplish it, you need to set up a list of activities that need to be executed. These activities, usually shown as tasks, need to have an order, dependencies (what do I need to finish before I can start a new task, for instance), due date and a responsible of the task.
Don’t ignore any activity, as small as it seems, because the monitoring and control of the project depends on the fulfillment of these activities. You will track the whole projects progress based on the progress of these tasks.
4. ALLOCATE RESOURCES
Now that you know what needs to be done, and by when, it’s time to define what resources are needed to complete your listed activities. Think of resources as all the things that you physically and virtually need to make a task happen (team members, software, equipment, facilities, documents, templates, etc.).
Define the resources for each activity with it’s quantity and description, and place it in a visible place so that everyone in the team is aware of what they have available for accomplishing each task. Keeping control of the available resources is the best way to ensure the project stays within scope and budget.