As both an active project manager and a property management guerneville ca trainer, people often ask me what are the fundamental aspects to successful project management. Whilst there have been many great books written on the subject, I always summarise what I believe to be the best practices at the heart of good project management.
For any project to be successful you need to understand what the project is supposed to achieve. Suppose your boss asks you to organise a campaign to get the employees to donate blood. Is the aim of this to get as much blood donated to the local blood bank? Or, is it to raise the profile of the company in the local community? Deciding what the real objective is will help you to determine how you go about planning and managing the project.
The project manager also needs to define the scope of the project. Is the organisation of transport to take staff to the blood bank within the scope of the project? Or, should staff make their own way there? Deciding which activities are within the scope or out of scope of the project has a big impact on the amount of work which needs to be performed during the project.
An understanding of who are the stakeholders is also crucial if you are going to enlist their support and understand what each person expects to be delivered from the project. Once you’ve defined the scope and objectives, you will need to get the stakeholders to review them and agree to them as well as agreeing who should be on the list of stakeholders.
To achieve the desired outcome from the project, you must define what things (or products) are to be delivered by the end of the project. If your project is an advertising campaign for a new chocolate bar, then one of the deliverables might be the artwork for a newspaper advert. So, you need to decide what tangible things are to be delivered and document in enough detail what these things are. At the end of the day, someone will end up doing the work to produce the deliverable, so it needs to be clearly and unambiguously described.
Once you have defined the deliverables, you will need to have the key stakeholders review the work and get them to agree that this accurately and unambiguously reflects what they expect to be delivered from the project. Once they have agreed, you can begin to plan the project. Not defining the deliverables in enough detail or clarity is often a reason why projects go wrong.